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Xiaoshuang Li

Degree: Ph.D. in Biological Sciences

College/School: School of Environment, Arts and Society; College of Arts, Sciences & Education

Xiaoshuang Li has always been fascinated by living things, especially how they function, develop and evolve – even cancer cells.

She earned a bachelor’s degree in biology with a focus on developmental biology from Shandong University in China.

Through her academic networks, Xiaoshuang learned of FIU Biology Professor Lidia Kos. Xiaoshuang reached out to Kos and the two developed a relationship through e-mail. Feeling Kos was the perfect mentor for her, Xiaoshuang packed her bags and came to Miami.

Xiaoshuang has dedicated her doctoral research to studying the spread of melanoma, the most dangerous type of skin cancer. One year into her Ph.D. program, Xiaoshuang gave birth to her daughter, Jianna. Balancing motherhood and academics, she continued with her research. She developed a system that allowed her to label cancer cells with a green fluorescent protein and trace how melanoma cells spread from primary sites to other parts of the body via the circulatory system in mice. Xiaoshuang presented her research at the American Association for Cancer Research and won one of their Women Research Scholar Awards.

After graduation, Xiaoshuang will work as post-doctoral research associate at FIU expanding her research to studying how melanoma spreads through the circulatory system in people. Her work will advance the understanding of the disease, and it could help in the development of early diagnoses and efficient therapies to prevent the reoccurrence of skin cancer after the primary tumor has been removed.

By Evelyn Gonzalez