Yingfu Li

Dept. of Biochemistry and Biomedical Sciences

Ph. D. Chemistry and Biochemistry, Simon Fraser University, 1997

M. Sc. Applied Chemistry, Beijing Agriculture University (Present name: China Agriculture University), 1989

B. Sc. Chemistry, Anhui University, 1983

Department of Biochemistry and Biomedical Sciences
McMaster University
HSC Room 4H31
1280 Main Street West
Hamilton, Ontario, L8S 4K1

Tel. 905.525.9140 ext.22462 (Office)
Tel. 905.525.9140 ext.22757, 28813 (Labs)
Fax. 905.522.9033
Mail. liying@mcmaster.ca


Current Status

  • Professor, Department of Biochemistry and Biomedical Sciences
  • Joint Member, Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology
  • Canada Research Chair in Chemical Biology of Nucleic Acids
  • Member, Brockhouse Institute for Materials Research
  • Member, Centre for Functional Genomics
  • Member, Origins Institute
  • Member, School of Biomedical Engineering
  • Member, Biointerfaces Institute
  • Member, Michael G. DeGroote Institute for Infectious Disease Research
  • Associate Editor, Journal of Molecular Evolution (2013-

Brief Biography

Yingfu Li was born and raised in Anhui, China. He received his B. Sc. in chemistry at Anhui University in 1983, and his M. Sc. in applied chemistry at Beijing Agriculture University in 1989, under the supervision of Changhai Zhou. He moved to Canada in 1992, and in 1997, he graduated with a Ph.D. in chemistry and biochemistry at Simon Fraser University under the supervision of Dipankar Sen. He then did his postdoctoral research with Ronald R. Breaker at Yale University. In 1999, he joined McMaster University, where he is currently a Professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Biomedical Sciences and the Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology. Outside of the office, he enjoys playing golf, rain or shine.

Research Interests

My research focuses on nucleic acids structure and function, in vitro evolution, catalytic DNA, catalytic RNA, DNA and RNA aptamers, riboswitches, non-coding RNA, bacterial toxins, enzymology, nucleic acids engineering, molecular diagnostics, biosensors, organic synthesis, high-throughput screening, nanoparticles, DNA nanotechnology and spectroscopy.


  • W. A. McBryde Medal, Canadian Society of Chemistry, 2012
  • Pengcheng Scholar, City of Shenzhen and Tsinghua University, China, 2012
  • Scholar of One-Hundred-Talent Program of Shanxi Province, China, 2011
  • Overseas Young Chinese Scholar Research Excellence Award, 2007-2009
  • Canada Research Chair (Tier II), 2006-2010
  • Ontario Premier Research Excellence Award, 2004-2009
  • Canada Research Chair (Tier II), 2001-2005
  • CIHR New Investigator, 2001-2005 (declined)
  • NSERC Postdoctoral Scholarship, 1997-1999 (declined)
  • MRC Postdoctoral Fellowship, 1997-2000
  • NSERC Doctoral Prize, 1998
  • Governor General of Canada Academic Gold Medal, 1998.
  • Simon Fraser University President Research Stipend, 1997
  • Simon Fraser University MacMillan-Bloedel Scholarship, 1994-97
  • Simon Fraser University Graduate Research Fellowship, 1994-1996
  • Anhui University Excellent Worker Award, China Pesticide Industry Association, 1991
  • Graduate Student Research Achievement Award, 1989