Dr. Ren-Ke Li is a Professor of Medicine in the Department of Surgery, Division of Cardiac Surgery at the University of Toronto. He is also a Senior Scientist at the Toronto General Hospital Research Institute, University Health Network working in the field of stem cell transplantation and tissue engineering. He is the recipient of the Canada Research Chair in Cardiac Regeneration (Tier 1) and was a Career Investigator of the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada.
Dr. Li has been on the forefront in the field of cell transplantation and tissue engineering. Over 25 years his research group has defined muscle cell transplantation for Cardiac Repair, followed by stem cell transplantation for Cardiac Regeneration. Both cell repair and regeneration technologies have been translated to clinical application. Since the patients with heart failure are aged population, currently, his research group is attempting to determine the mechanisms by which transplanted cells exert their beneficial effects by Rejuvenation of aged stem cells and aged recipients. Clarifying these mechanisms of Repair, Regeneration and Rejuvenation will allow them to develop the “next generation” of cell therapy for restoration of heart function of aged patients.
In cardiac tissue engineering Dr. Li focuses on application of conductive biomaterial to reduce cardiac arrhythmia. Cardiac scar tissue creates a barrier between heart cells, leading to an irregular heartbeat (cardiac arrhythmia). Biomaterials may be used to bridge the conductive signals across the scar area. We created a new Conductive Biomaterial, which can synchronize heart cell contraction in heart disease models and we are now investigating translational applications.
Dr. Li has published more than 260 peer-reviewed papers in scientific Journals.