Fang Li Listed Top-Rank Most Impactful Scientist in the World in 2022

Dr. Li shares recognition for his research which provides foundational knowledge for the field of coronaviruses.

Fang Li, PhD, an endowed professor of Pharmacology at the University of Minnesota Medical School, was listed #431 Most Impactful Scientist in the World in 2022, according to an Elsevier Study by Stanford University. Dr. Li was also selected among the World’s Highly Cited Researchers in both 2021 and 2022, according to Clarivate (Web of Science).

Dr. Li's recognition is from prestigious institutions and organizations. He has shaped the structural biology field at the U of M Medical School and beyond.

What does being listed as the #431 most impactful scientist in the world in 2022 mean to you personally and professionally?

Dr. Li: It is gratifying to know that my research has helped scientists around the world battle the COVID-19 pandemic.

What sparked your interest in science and medicine?

Dr. Li: Throughout my life, I have always wanted to cure diseases and help patients recover from illnesses. My natural talent, however, lies in the domain of mathematics. I was delighted to get into the field of structural biology, which allowed me to use my mathematical thinking and skills to address biologically significant problems. 

What is a life lesson you will take away from the COVID-19 pandemic?

Dr. Li: Although I had worked on the structural biology of coronaviruses for over a decade, the pandemic in 2020 still came as a shock - it was difficult to imagine such a large-scale pandemic happening in the era of modern medicine. There are many scientific lessons we must learn. The most pressing one is how we can build multiple levels of scientific defense against future pandemics. As scientists, we must work very hard to come up with novel yet practical preventive measures against future pandemics.

What are you working on now?

Dr. Li: We are developing novel therapeutics against COVID-19 and improving the drug discovery process. In the long run, I’d like to extend the scientific discoveries we made in the field of coronavirus to treat other viral infections and human diseases. 

Dr. Li was highest ranked among many faculty from the U of M Medical School on the Stanford’s list of World’s Most Impactful Scientists 2022 (2% of over 10 million), and one of eight faculty from the Medical School on the Clarivate’s list of World’s Highly Cited Researchers 2022 (0.1% of over 7 million).