Danni Li

Associate Professor


Dr. Li is a faculty investigator in the Advanced Research and Diagnostic Laboratory (ARDL) where she applies mass spectrometry (MS) to the discovery of biomarkers for diagnosis including for Alzheimer's disease, diabetes, heart disease, and cancers. She was trained in analytical chemistry and in proteomics research using MS technology, particularly in identifying proteomic biomarkers that are clinically relevant and have an impact on patient care. Biomarker discovery is a key area of translational research.Besides identifying biomarkers that may be important in clinical medicine, Dr. Li is addressing several challenges posed by MS technology. One is to develop standard protocols to ensure the reproducibility of biomarkers. Another is to design each study in a way that takes into account the complexity and heterogeneity of biological samples and eliminates potentially confounding factors. A third challenge is data analysis of hundreds or even thousands of biomarkers that are expressed at different levels and identifying those that are clinically significant. Collaboration with trusted experts in engineering, bioinformatics, and biostatistics is necessary for study design and data analysis and interpretation. Li believes biomarker research, increasingly a team effort, can lead to advances in precision medicine and better clinical outcomes for patients.

Research Summary


  • Li D, Rooney MR, Burmeister LA, Basta NE, Lutsey PL. Trends in daily use of biotin supplements among US adults, 1999-2016. JAMA. 2020;324(6):605–607. doi:10.1001/jama.2020.8144
  • Li D, Misialek JR, Jack CR, Mielke MM, Knopman D, Gottesman R, Mosley T, Alonso A. Plasma Metabolites Associated with Brain MRI Measures of Neurodegeneration in Older Adults in the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities–Neurocognitive Study (ARIC-NCS). Int J Mol Sci 2019;20(7):1744.
  • Li D, Hagen C, Fett AR, Bui HH, Knopman D, Vemuri P, Machulda MM, Jack Jr CR, Petersen RC, Mielke MM. Longitudinal association between phosphatidylcholines, neuroimaging measures of Alzheimer's disease pathophysiology, and cognition in the Mayo Clinic Study of Aging. Neurobiol Aging 2019;79:43-9.
  • Danni Li, Fangying Huang, Yingchun Zhao, Peter W. Villata, Timothy J. Griffin, Lin Zhang, Ling Li and Fang Yu. Plasma lipoproteome in Alzheimer’s disease: a proof-of-concept study. Clinical Proteomics2018; 15:31 https://doi.org/10.1186/s12014-018-9207-z
  • Danni Li, PhD,  Angela Radulescu, MD, Rupendra T. Shrestha, MD, et al. Association of Biotin Ingestion With Performance of Hormone and Nonhormone Assays in Healthy Adults.  JAMA. 2017;318(12):1150-1160. doi:10.1001/jama.2017.13705


PhD, University of Minnesota (Analytical Chemistry), 2007

Fellowships, Residencies, and Visiting Engagements

Johns Hopkins University (Clinical Chemistry), 2009,

Licensures and Certifications

American Board of Clinical Chemistry,



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