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

Recent Publications

  1. Functionally uncoupled transcription-translation in Bacillus subtilis. Johnson, GE, Lalanne, JB, Peters, ML, Li, GW. 2020. Nature 585, 124-128.
    doi: 10.1038/s41586-020-2638-5PMID:32848247
  2. Growth-Optimized Aminoacyl-tRNA Synthetase Levels Prevent Maximal tRNA Charging. Parker, DJ, Lalanne, JB, Kimura, S, Johnson, GE, Waldor, MK, Li, GW. 2020. Cell Syst 11, 121-130.e6.
    doi: 10.1016/j.cels.2020.07.005PMID:32726597
  3. 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
  4. 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
  5. 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
  6. 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
  7. 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
  8. Genome-Wide Quantitation of Protein Synthesis Rates in Bacteria. Johnson, GE, Li, GW. 2018. Methods Enzymol 612, 225-249.
    doi: 10.1016/bs.mie.2018.08.031PMID:30502943
  9. 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
  10. 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