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UCL Great Ormond Street Institute of Child Health

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Dr Wei-Li Di

Dr Wei-Li Di

Senior Lecturer

Infection, Immunity & Inflammation Dept

UCL GOS Institute of Child Health

Joined UCL
1st Jan 2004

Research summary

My research interests have been focused on skin diseases and their treatment. My main research target is to discover cures for genetic skin conditions through gene therapy. We have been developing a gene therapy platform for recessive genetic skin conditions using genetically modified epithelial sheets and cells and conducted phase I gene therapy trials for Netherton syndrome and dystrophic epidermolysis bullosa. We have also been developing alternative gene therapy strategies for dominant skin conditions by using allele specific siRNA, and more recently adapting the newest technology CRISPR/Cas9-base editing for both recessive and dominant genetic skin diseases. Apart from therapy for rare genetic skin diseases, we have been developing a small molecule treatment for eczema. Furthermore, I have established an in-vivo human:murine chimeric skin graft model in my lab. As this model is generated using normal or patients' cells, the grafted skin can be grown to normal or disease skin architecture similar to that seen in vivo. It is, therefore, an ideal pre-clinical model for testing therapeutic strategies for skin diseases. The long-term goal of my research is to build on our progress in gene therapy to develop more reliable and feasible therapeutic platforms for rare genetic and common skin conditions.

Teaching summary

Education

Queen Mary College, University of London
PhD, | 1996
Shanghai Medical University
MBBS, Clinical Medicine | 1983

Biography

I obtained my undergraduate medical degree at Shanghai Medical University and specialised in epidemiology after graduation. In 1990, I moved to London and started my research career in Department of Reproductive Physiology, St. Bartholomew’s Hospital, London and obtained PhD degreed in 1996.  I spend six years as a Post-Doc Research Fellow in skin research at Cancer Research UK, Queen Mary and UCL in London. In 2004, I was appointed as a Non-Clinical Lecture by UCL Great Ormond Street Institute of Child Health and became senior Lecture in 2014.

Publications