Chun Guang Li

CONNECT (opens in a new window)

PhD in pharmacology, University of Melbourne, 1991

Associate Professor Li commenced his current full-time role as Pharmacology leader at NICM in late 2012. In the previous five years he worked as a full time academic in the School of Health Sciences at RMIT University where he held the position of Director of the Chinese Medicine Research Group from 2007-2009, and was the leader of the Herbal Pharmacology and Toxicology group from 2008-2012. Li has directed a number of funded research projects, coordinated three courses, including master of Chinese herbal medicine by course work, and supervised Masters and PhD by research with 20 PhD and five Masters completions.

Research Strengths

Associate Professor Li has established an international reputation in the fields of complementary medicine research and nitric oxide research. He conceptualised and managed various collaborative research projects with national and international institutions, and herbal medicine and pharmaceutical industries. His main research interests include pharmacology of natural products, drug discovery, and traditional medicines. Associate Professor Li has made several significant and valuable contributions to this area of research, including internationally recognised contribution as a pioneer researcher in the discovery of "Nitrergic Transmission", and work on Chinese herbal medicines and quality controls. His work involves investigations at various levels from molecular mechanisms to clinical trials.

Grants / Projects

Associate Professor Li has attracted ARC, NHMRC, NHF, Wellcome Trust and other industry and foundation grants in excess of $4 million.

See a full list of past and current projects (opens in a new window)

Links and Memberships

Editorial Boards: Evidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine; Drug Discoveries and Therapeutics; Australian Journal of Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine (Advisory Board).

Committee member: Standards Australia Traditional Chinese Medicine Committee member (2011-); Cardiovascular Committee of the World Federation of Chinese Medicine Societies (2007-).


Over the course of his career, Associate Professor Li has published more than 150 refereed papers in peer reviewed journals, with more than 4,500 citations and an h-index of 33.

Journal Articles


He, X., Li, C., Zhu, X., Li, Y., Jarouche, M., Bensoussan, A. and Li, P. (2017), 'High-performance liquid chromatography coupled with tandem mass spectrometry technology in the analysis of Chinese medicine formulas : a bibliometric analysis (1997-2015)', Journal of Separation Science, vol 40, no 1,pp 81 - 92


Wang, P., Li, C., Qi, Z., Cui, D. and Ding, S. (2016), 'Acute exercise stress promotes Ref1/Nrf2 signalling and increases mitochondrial antioxidant activity in skeletal muscle', Experimental Physiology, vol 101, no 3 , pp 410 - 420.

Jin, H. and Li, C. (2016), 'Molecular mechanisms of cardioprotective actions of tanshinones', Journal of Chemistry, vol 2016 .

Zhai, X., Li, C., Lenon, G., Xue, C. and Li, W. (2016), '[In Press] Preparation and characterisation of solid dispersions of tanshinone IIA, cryptotanshinone and total tanshinones', Asian Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences, .

Zhai, X., Lenon, G., Xue, C. and Li, C. (2016), 'Euonymus alatus : a review on its phytochemistry and antidiabetic activity', Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, vol 2016 .

Zhou, X., Razmovski-Naumovski, V., Chang, D., Li, C., Kam, A., Low, M., Bensoussan, A. and Chan, K. (2016), 'Synergistic effects of Danshen (Salvia Miltiorrhiza Radix et Rhizoma) and Sanqi (Notoginseng Radix et Rhizoma) combination in inhibiting inflammation mediators in RAW264.7 cells', BioMed Research International, vol 2016 .


Li L, Saigo N, Zhang Y, Fanna DJ, Shepherd ND, Clegg JK, et al. A large spin-crossover [Fe4L4]8+ tetrahedral cage. J Mater Chem C. 2015;3(20):7878-82. DOI: 10.1039/c5tc00991j.

Wang P, Li CG, Qi ZT, Ding SZ. Acute exercise induced mitochondrial H2O2 production in mouse skeletal muscle: Association with p66Shc and FOXO3 signaling and antioxidant enzymes. Oxid Med Cell Longev. 2015;2015:1-10. DOI: 10.1155/2015/536456.

Hamid K, Alqahtani A, Kim MS, Cho JL, Cui PH, Li CG, et al. Tetracyclic triterpenoids in herbal medicines and their biological activities in diabetes and its complications. Curr Top Med Chem. 2015;15(23):2406-30.

Wang, P., Li, C., Qi, Z., Cui, D. and Ding, S. (2015), 'Acute exercise induced mitochondrial H2O2 production in mouse skeletal muscle : association with p66Shc and FOXO3a signaling and antioxidant enzymes', Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity, vol 2015 .

Li, L., Saigo, N., Zhang, Y., Fanna, D., Shepherd, N., Clegg, J., Zheng, R., Hayami, S., Lindoy, L., Aldrich-Wright, J., Li, C., Reynolds, J., Harman, D. and Li, F. (2015), 'A large spin-crossover [Fe4L4]8+ tetrahedral cage', Journals of Materials Chemistry C, vol 3, no 30 , pp 7878 - 7882.

van der Kooy F, Yergey A, Venkataya B, Pearson J, Torres A, Li CG, et al. Sensitivity of      NMR-based metabolomics in drug discovery from medicinal plants. Eur J Med Plants. 2014;5(2):191-203. DOI: 10.9734/EJMP/2015/13747.

Hamid, K., Alqahtani, A., Kim, M., Cho, J., Cui, P., Li, C., Groundwater, P. and Li, G. (2015), 'Tetracyclic triterpenoids in herbal medicines and their activities in diabetes and its complications', Current Topics in Medicinal Chemistry, vol 15, no 23 , pp 2406 - 2430.


Wang P, Li CG, Qi ZT, Ding SZ. Acute exercise induced mitochondrial H2O2 production in mouse skeletal muscle: Association with p66Shc and FOXO3 signaling and antioxidant enzymes. Oxid Med Cell Longev. 2014.

Wang P, Li CG, Qi ZT, Ding SZ. Roles of c-microRNAs in exercised-induced phenotype change of skeletal muscle. China Sport Science. 2014;9:66-71. DOI: 10.3969/j.issn.1000-677X.2014.09.010.

Gu S, Yang AW, Li CG, Lu CL, Xue CC. Topical application of Chinese Herbal Medicine for Atopic Eczema: A systematic review with a meta-analysis. Dermatology. 2014;228(4):294-302. DOI: 10.1159/000360526.

Reichel F, Clegg JK, Gloe K, Gloe K, Weigand JJ, Reynolds JK, et al. Self-assembly of an imidazolate-bridged feIII/cuII heterometallic cage. Inorg Chem. 2014;53(2):688–90. DOI: 10.1021/ic402686s.


Shigdar S, Macdonald J, O'Connor M, Tao W, Dongxi X, Al Shamaileh H, et al. Aptamers as theranostic agents: Modifications, serum stability and functionalisation. Sensors. 2013;13(10):13624-37. DOI: 10.3390/s131013624.

Jin HJ, Li CG. Tanshinone IIA and Cryptotanshinone prevent mitochondrial dysfunction in hypoxia induced H9c2 cells: Association of mitochondrial ROS, intracellular nitric oxide and calcium levels. Evid-Based Compl Alt. [Article ID 610694]. 2013;2013(2013):1-11. DOI: 10.1155/2013/610694.

Jin HJ, Xie XL, Ye JM, Li CG. TanshinoneIIA and cryptotanshinone protect against hypoxia-induced mitochondrial apoptosis in H9c2 cells. PLOS ONE. 2013;8(1):1-10. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0051720.

Olarte A, Mantri N, Nugent G, Wohlmuth H, Li C, Xue C, et al. A gDNA microarray for genotyping Salvia species. Mol Biotechnol. 2013 2013/07/01;54(3):770-83. DOI: 10.1007/s12033-012-9625-5.

Niu L, Mantri N, Wohlmuth H, Li CG, Xue CC, Pang E. First report of fingerprinting dried herbal products using a subtractive diversity array. J Complement Integr Med. 2013;10(1):1-11. DOI: 10.1515/jcim-2012-0002.

Gu S, Yang AW, Xue C, Li CG, Pang C, Zhang W, et al. Chinese herbal medicine for atopic eczema. Cochrane DB Syst Rev. 2013;2013(9):1-131. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD008642.pub2.


Zhou ZW, Xie XL, Zhou SF, Li CG. Mechanism of reversal of high glucose-induced endothelial nitric oxide synthase uncoupling by tanshinone IIA in human endothelial cell line EA.hy926. Eur J Pharmacol. 2012;697(1–3):97-105. DOI: 10.1016/j.ejphar.2012.09.051.

Mantri N, Olarte A, Li CG, Xue C, Pang ECK. Fingerprinting the asterid species using subtracted diversity array reveals novel species-specific sequences. PLOS ONE. 2012;7(4):e34873. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0034873.


Sheng SJ, Pang ECK, Xue CCL, Li CG. Seasonal variations in bioactive marker contents in Australian-grown Salvia miltiorrhiza roots. Chem Biodivers. 2009;6(4):551-60. DOI: 10.1002/cbdv.200800090.


Shen Y, Li CG, Zhou SF, Pang ECK, Story DF, Xue CCL. Chemistry and bioactivity of Flos Magnoliae, a Chinese herb for rhinitis and sinusitis. Curr Med Chem. 2008;15(16):1616-27. DOI: 10.2174/092986708784911515.

Zhou S, Wang LL, Di YM, Xue CC, Duan W, Li CG, et al. Substrates and inhibitors of human multidrug resistance associated proteins and the implications in drug development. Curr Med Chem. 2008;15(20):1981-2039. DOI: 10.2174/092986708785132870.

Di YM, Li CG, Xue CC, Zhou SF. Clinical drugs that interact with St. John's Wort and implication in drug development. Curr Pharm Design. 2008;14(17):1723-42. DOI: 10.2174/138161208784746798.

Shen Y, Pang ECK, Xue CCL, Zhao ZZ, Lin JG, Li CG. Inhibitions of mast cell-derived histamine release by different Flos Magnoliae species in rat peritoneal mast cells. Phytomedicine. 2008;15(10):808-14. DOI: 10.1016/j.phymed.2008.04.012.


Jayasinghe R, Kong S, Coram TE, Kaganovitch J, Xue CCL, Li CG, et al. Construction and validation of a prototype microarray for efficient and high-throughput genotyping of angiosperms. Plant Biotechnol J. 2007;5(2):282-9. DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-7652.2007.00240.x.


Inthavong K, Tian ZF, Li HF, Tu JY, Yang W, Xue CL, et al. A numerical study of spray particle deposition in a human nasal cavity. Aerosol Science and Technology. 2006;40(11):1034-45. DOI: 10.1080/02786820600924978.


Xue CCL, Thien FCK, Zhang JJS, Da Costa C, Li CG. Treatment for seasonal allergic rhinitis by Chinese herbal medicine: A randomized placebo controlled trial. Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine. 2003;9(5):80-7.

Karagiannis J, Reid JJ, Darby I, Roche P, Rand MJ, Li CG. Impaired nitric oxide function in the basilar artery of the obese Zucker Rat. J Cardiovas Pharm. 2003;42(4):497-505.


Xue CC, English R, Zhang JJ, Da Costa C, Li CG. Effect of acupuncture in the treatment of seasonal Allergic Rhinitis: A randomized controlled clinical trial. Am J Chinese Med. [Article]. 2002;30(1):1.


Ellis A, Lu H, Li CG, Rand MJ. Effects of agents that inactivate free radical NO (NO*) on nitroxyl anion-mediated relaxations, and on the detection of NO* released from the nitroxyl anion donor Angeli's salt. Brit J Parmacol. 2001;134(3):521-8. DOI: 10.1038/sj.bjp.0704287.

2000 and prior

Jiang F, Li CG, Rand MJ. Mechanisms of nitric oxide-independent relaxations induced by carbachol and acetylcholine in rat isolated renal arteries. Brit J Pharmacol. 2000;139:1191 ± 200.

Ellis A, Li CG, Rand MJ. Differential actions of L-cysteine on responses to nitric oxide, nitroxyl anions and EDRF in the rat aorta. Brit J Parmacol. 2000;129(2):315-22. DOI: 10.1038/sj.bjp.0703058.

Li CG, Rand MJ. Effects of hydroxocobalamin and carboxy-PTIO on nitrergic transmission in porcine anococcygeus and retractor penis muscles. Brit J Parmacol. 1999;127(1):172-6. DOI: 10.1038/sj.bjp.0702496.

Li CG, Karagiannis J, Rand MJ. Comparison of the redox forms of nitrogen monoxide with the nitrergic transmitter in the rat anococcygeus muscle. Brit J Parmacol. 1999;127(4):826-34. DOI: 10.1038/sj.bjp.0702540.

Jiang F, Li CG, Rand MJ. Cholinergic prejunctional inhibition of nitrergic neurotransmission in the guinea-pig isolated basilar artery. Clin Exp Pharmacol P. 1999;26(4):364-70. DOI: 10.1046/j.1440-1681.1999.03041.x.

Di Iulio JL, Gude NM, King RG, Li CG, Rand MJ, Brennecke SP. Human placental nitric oxide synthase activity is not altered in diabetes. Clin Sci. 1999;97(1):123-8.

De Luca A, Li CG, Rand MJ. Nitrergic and purinergic mechanisms and their interactions for relaxation of the rat internal anal sphincter. Journal of autonomic pharmacology. 1999;19(1):29-37. DOI: 10.1046/j.1365-2680.1999.00114.x.

Najbar AT, Li CG, Rand MJ. Evidence for two distinct P2-purinoceptors subserving contraction of the rat anococcygeus smooth muscle. Brit J Parmacol. 1996;118(3):537-42. DOI: 10.1111/j.1476-5381.1996.tb15435.x.

Rand MJ, Li CG. Effects of ethanol and other aliphatic alcohols on NO-mediated relaxations in rat anococcygeus muscles and gastric fundus strips. Brit J Parmacol. 1994;111(4):1089-94. DOI: 10.1111/j.1476-5381.1994.tb14856.x.

Najbar A, Li CG, Rand MJ. Pharmacological actions of the coenzymes NAD(H) and NADP(H) on the rat anococcygeus muscle Clinical and Experimental Pharmacology and Physiology. 1994;21(1):9-20. DOI: 10.1111/j.1440-1681.1994.tb02431.x.

Li CG, Brosch SF, Rand MJ. Inhibition by Ethacrynic Acid of no-mediated relaxations of the rat anococcygeus muscle 1994;21(4):293-9. DOI: 10.1111/j.1440-1681.1994.tb02515.x.

Rand MJ, Li CG. The inhibition of nitric oxide-mediated relaxations in rat aorta and  anococcygeus muscle by Diphenylene Iodonium. Clin Exp Pharmacol Physiol. 1993;20(3):141-8. DOI: 10.1111/j.1440-1681.1993.tb01661.x.

Rand MJ, Li CG. Differential effects of hydroxocobalamin on relaxations induced by nitrosothiols in rat aorta and anococcygeus muscle. Eur J Pharmacol. 1993;241(2–3):249-54. DOI: 10.1016/0014-2999(93)90210-9

Rand MJ, Li CG. Modulation of acetylcholine-induced contractions of the rat anococcygeus muscle by activation of nitrergic nerves. Brit J Parmacol. 1993;110(4):1479-82. DOI: 10.1111/j.1476-5381.1993.tb13988.x.

Rajanayagam MAS, Li CG, Rand MJ. Differential effects of hydroxocobalamin on NO-mediated relaxations in rat aorta and anococcygeus muscle. Brit J Parmacol. 1993;108(1):3-5. DOI: 10.1111/j.1476-5381.1993.tb13429.x.

McLaren A, Li CG, Rand MJ. Mediators of nicotine-induced relaxations of the rat gastric fundus Clin Exp Pharmacol Physiol. 1993;20(6):451-7. DOI: 10.1111/j.1440-1681.1993.tb01723.x.

Li CG, Rand MJ. Effects of Hydroxocobalamin and Haemoglobin on no-mediated relaxations in the rat anococcygeus muscle Clin Exp Pharmacol Physiol. 1993;20(10):633-40. DOI: 10.1111/j.1440-1681.1993.tb01645.x.

Rand MJ, Li CG. Activation of noradrenergic and nitrergic mechanisms in the rat anococcygeus muscle by nicotine. Clinical and Experimental Pharmacology and Physiology. 1992;19(2):103-11. DOI: 10.1111/j.1440-1681.1992.tb00428.x.

Rand MJ, Li CG. Effects of Argininosuccinic Acid on nitric oxide-mediated relaxations in rat aorta and anococcygeus muscle. Clin Exp Pharmacol Physiol. 1992;19(5):331-4. DOI: 10.1111/j.1440-1681.1992.tb00465.x.

Li CG, Rand MJ. Evidence that part of the NANC relaxant response of guinea-pig trachea to electrical field stimulation is mediated by nitric oxide. Brit J Parmacol. 1991;102(1):91-4. DOI: 10.1111/j.1476-5381.1991.tb12137.x.

Li CG, Rand MJ. Nitric oxide and vasoactive intestinal polypeptide mediate non-adrenergic, non-cholinergic inhibitory transmission to smooth muscle of the rat gastric fundus. Eur J Pharmacol. 1990;191(3):303-9. DOI: 10.1016/0014-2999(90)94162-Q

De Luca A, Li CG, Rand MJ, Reid JJ, Thaina P, Wong-Dusting HK. Effects of ω-conotoxin GVIA on autonomic neuroeffector transmission in various tissues. Brit J Parmacol. 1990;101(2):437-47. DOI: 10.1111/j.1476-5381.1990.tb12727.x.

Li CG, Rand MJ. Rilmenidine differs from Clonidine in that it lacks histamine-like activity. 1989;41(7):464-8. DOI: 10.1111/j.2042-7158.1989.tb06501.x.

Li CG, Rand MJ. Prejunctional inhibition of non-adrenergic non-cholinergic transmission in the rat anococcygeus muscle. Eur J Pharmacol. 1989;168(1):107-10. DOI: 10.1016/0014-2999(89)90640-7

Li CG, Rand MJ. Evidence for a role of Nitric Oxide in the neurotransmitter system mediating relaxation of the rat anococcygeus muscle Clin Exp Pharmacol Physiol. 1989;16(12):933-8. DOI: 10.1111/j.1440-1681.1989.tb02404.x.

Li CG, Rand MJ. Rilmenidine acts as a partial agonist at prejunctional alpha 2-adrenoceptors in guinea-pig atria. Clin Exp Pharmacol Physiol. 1988;15(10):765-72.

Li CG, Majewski H, Rand MJ. Facilitation of noradrenaline release from sympathetic nerves in rat anococcygeus muscle by activation of prejunctional β-adrenoceptors and angiotensin receptors. Brit J Parmacol. 1988;95(2):385-92. DOI: 10.1111/j.1476-5381.1988.tb11657.x.


Low MN, Chang D, Khoo C, Li CG, Chan K, Nang M, et al. Pharmacokinetic study of a standardised herbal extract of Diospyros kaki Leaves in rats. RACI Natural Products Chemistry Group Annual One Day Symposium; 3rd October 2014; Charles Sturt University Convention Centre, Wagga Wagga 2014.

Invited Presentations

2015 Heavy metals in Chinese and herbal medicines. ASCEPT-BPS conference, 19-21 May, 2015; University of Hong Kong

2013 Cardio-cerebral vascular research: new concepts and new technologies Symposium, Jinan, China

2011 Australian Biotechnology Summit, China

2011 45th Joint Annual Scientific Meeting of the Australasian Society of Clinical and Experimental Pharmacologists and Toxicologists and the Australian Physiological Society, Perth

2010 Fourth International Conference of WFCMS on Cardiovascular Disease, World Federation of Chinese Medicine Societies, Guangzhou, China

Conference Chair

2013 Vice Chairman, Executive Committee. 4thAustralia-China Biomedical Research Conference & International Symposium on Aging Biology and Diseases, China

2011 Chair -Scientific Committee, the Third Australia-China Biomedical Research Conference, Melbourne

2009 Chair- Academic Panel, World Congress of Chinese Medicine, Melbourne

2007 Co-Chair, The first Australia-China Biomedical Research Conference, Melbourne

2003 Chair - Symposium of Chinese herbal medicines-adverse reactions and drug herb interactions