Gene-Wei Li

Gene-Wei Li

Associate Professor of Biology

Gene-Wei Li investigates how quantitative information regarding precise proteome composition is encoded in and extracted from bacterial genomes.






Cindy Woolley



Assistant Phone


  • PhD, 2010, Harvard University
  • SB, 2004, Physics, National Tsinghua University

Research Summary

We seek to understand the optimization of bacterial proteomes at both mechanistic and systems levels. Our work combines high-precision assays, genome-wide measurements, and quantitative/biophysical modeling. Ongoing projects focus on the design principles of transcription, translation, and RNA maturation machineries in the face of competing cellular processes.


  • NSF Career Award, 2019
  • Pew Biomedical Scholar, 2017
  • Smith Family Award for Excellence in Biomedical Research, 2017
  • NIGMS R35 Maximizing Investigator Research Award, 2017
  • Sloan Research Fellowship, 2016
  • Searle Scholar, 2016
  • NIH Pathway to Independence Award, 2013

Key Publications

Recent Publications

  1. Keeping the Proportions of Protein Complex Components in Check. Taggart, JC, Zauber, H, Selbach, M, Li, GW, McShane, E. 2020. Cell Syst 10, 125-132.
    doi: 10.1016/j.cels.2020.01.004PMID:32105631
  2. Alternative transcription cycle for bacterial RNA polymerase. Harden, TT, Herlambang, KS, Chamberlain, M, Lalanne, JB, Wells, CD, Li, GW, Landick, R, Hochschild, A, Kondev, J, Gelles, J et al.. 2020. Nat Commun 11, 448.
    doi: 10.1038/s41467-019-14208-9PMID:31974358
  3. Transcriptional Regulation and Mechanism of SigN (ZpdN), a pBS32-Encoded Sigma Factor in Bacillus subtilis. Burton, AT, DeLoughery, A, Li, GW, Kearns, DB. 2019. mBio 10, .
    doi: 10.1128/mBio.01899-19PMID:31530675
  4. Rapid Accumulation of Motility-Activating Mutations in Resting Liquid Culture of Escherichia coli. Parker, DJ, Demetci, P, Li, GW. 2019. J. Bacteriol. 201, .
    doi: 10.1128/JB.00259-19PMID:31285239
  5. Production of Protein-Complex Components Is Stoichiometric and Lacks General Feedback Regulation in Eukaryotes. Taggart, JC, Li, GW. 2018. Cell Syst 7, 580-589.e4.
    doi: 10.1016/j.cels.2018.11.003PMID:30553725
  6. Genome-Wide Quantitation of Protein Synthesis Rates in Bacteria. Johnson, GE, Li, GW. 2018. Meth. Enzymol. 612, 225-249.
    doi: 10.1016/bs.mie.2018.08.031PMID:30502943
  7. Fitness advantages conferred by the L20-interacting RNA cis-regulator of ribosomal protein synthesis in Bacillus subtilis. Babina, AM, Parker, DJ, Li, GW, Meyer, MM. 2018. RNA 24, 1133-1143.
    doi: 10.1261/rna.065011.117PMID:29925569
  8. Maturation of polycistronic mRNAs by the endoribonuclease RNase Y and its associated Y-complex in Bacillus subtilis. DeLoughery, A, Lalanne, JB, Losick, R, Li, GW. 2018. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 115, E5585-E5594.
    doi: 10.1073/pnas.1803283115PMID:29794222
  9. Evolutionary Convergence of Pathway-Specific Enzyme Expression Stoichiometry. Lalanne, JB, Taggart, JC, Guo, MS, Herzel, L, Schieler, A, Li, GW. 2018. Cell 173, 749-761.e38.
    doi: 10.1016/j.cell.2018.03.007PMID:29606352
  10. Genome-wide screen for genes involved in eDNA release during biofilm formation by Staphylococcus aureus. DeFrancesco, AS, Masloboeva, N, Syed, AK, DeLoughery, A, Bradshaw, N, Li, GW, Gilmore, MS, Walker, S, Losick, R. 2017. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 114, E5969-E5978.
    doi: 10.1073/pnas.1704544114PMID:28674000