Chun Guang Li

Executive Committee Member, NICM Health Research Institute
Professor of Pharmacology Research, NICM Health Research Institute
Research Director, NICM Health Research Institute

Professor Li is the Director of Research at NICM Health Research Institute (NICM HRI) and is a Professor of Pharmacology. He joined NICM HRI in 2012, following five years as an academic at RMIT University’s School of Health and Sciences. At RMIT, he directed the Chinese Medicine Research Group (2007-2009) and led the Herbal Pharmacology and Toxicology group (2008-2012), overseeing research projects, courses, and supervising numerous Master and PhD completions.

During his tenure at NICM HRI, Professor Li has gained international recognition in pharmacology and complementary medicine research. He initiated collaborative projects with national and international institutions and industry partners, focusing on natural product pharmacology, drug discovery, and traditional medicines. He has made a significant impact, and contributions to Chinese medicines and quality controls, as well as his earlier pioneering work in "Nitrergic Transmission".

With over 30 years of experience in medical research in pharmacology and complementary medicines, including roles in three Australian universities and international research stints in the USA and Japan, Professor Li’s career is marked by groundbreaking research and a commitment to education. He holds a PhD in Pharmacology from the University of Melbourne. During his PhD and early postdoctoral research period, he made internationally recognised contributions to discoveries in nitrergic neurotransmission in the autonomic nervous system.

In addition to his institutional roles, Professor Li contributes to national and international committees and professional societies. His research spans neuropharmacology, cardiovascular and gastrointestinal pharmacology, natural products, drug discovery, and traditional medicines, receiving support from NHMRC, ARC, the National Heart Foundation, as well as various industry partners and research donations.

As a mentor, he has guided and supervised 24 PhD and 8 Masters candidates and hosted over 10 visiting scholars. His research output includes 190+ journal articles and book chapters, with 7,900+ citations and an h-index of 45. Professor Li also serves as a grant reviewer for national and international funding bodies, including the Hong Kong Health and Medical Research Fund since 2014, and as an editor for seven international journals

Research focus

  • Neuropharmacology, cardiovascular and gastrointestinal pharmacology
  • Bioactivity and toxicity of natural products and herbal medicines
  • Synergy of food ingredients and herbal products
  • Gut microbiota and biotics
  • Quality standards and analysis of herbal medicines, therapeutic drugs and biomarkers
  • Synthesis of derivatives of active natural compounds
  • Functional foods
  • Traditional Chinese medicine
  • Antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and anticancer agents
  • Drug-herb interactions
  • Australian native plants and fruits

Projects and grants

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

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

Awards and recognition

  • 2020 Research Excellence Award (Partnership, Team), Western Sydney University
  • 2007 Research Award, RMIT University
  • 2005 Research Award, RMIT University


  • 2023 Topic Editor, Fruits, Vegetables, and Biotics for a Healthy Gut Microbiome, Frontiers in Nutrition
  • 2023 Topic Editor, Bioactive Compounds in Plant Extracts: Anti-inflammatory, Antioxidant, and Anticancer Properties and Applications, Molecules
  • 2022-current Member, International Advisory Board, Research Centre for Chinese Medicine Innovation, Hong Kong Polytechnic University
  • 2022 Topic Editor, Herbal medicine in Managing Stroke and Neurogenerative Diseases – Is there Evidence based on Basic and Clinical Studies?, Volume II, Frontiers in Pharmacology
  • 2021 Topic Editor, Drugging p53 for Non-Cancer Diseases, Frontiers in Pharmacology
  • 2021 Topic Editor, Herbal medicine in Managing Stroke and Neurogenerative Diseases – Is there Evidence based on Basic and Clinical Studies?, Frontiers in Pharmacology
  • 2019-current Editorial Board, Advances in Pharmacological and Pharmaceutical Sciences
  • 2018 Special Issue Editor, Safety of Complementary Medicines, Medicines
  • 2015-current, Member, Academic Board, Sydney Institute of Traditional Chinese Medicine
  • 2014-2018 Vice-Chairperson, Specialty Committee of Cardiovascular Diseases, World Federation of Chinese Medicine Societies2012-current, Editorial Board, Drug Discoveries and Therapeutics
  • 2013 Vice-Chairman, Executive Committee, Fourth Australia-China Biomedical Research Conference and International Symposium on Aging Biology and Diseases, China
  • 2012-2022, Editorial Board, Evidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
  • 2012 Topic Editor, Novel high through-put approach and molecular modelling in drug discovery from natural products and clinical implications, Current Pharmaceutical Biotechnology
  • 2011-current, Committee Member, Standards Australia HE031Traditional Chinese Medicine
  • 2011 Visiting Professor, Northwest University, China
  • 2011 Chair, Scientific Committee, 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 interaction


  • 1991 PhD in Pharmacology, The University of Melbourne, Australia


For a full listing of publications please see: