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Bo Li is a 2016 Packard Fellow. (photo by Lars Sahl)
Bo Li is a 2016 Packard Fellow. (photo by Lars Sahl)

Bo Li, a chemist at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, has received a 2016 Packard Fellowship in Science and Engineering, awarded to highly creative researchers early in in their careers.

Each of the 18 fellows announced by the David and Lucile Packard Foundation on Oct. 14 will receive a grant of $875,000 over five years to pursue their research.

Li, an assistant professor of chemistry in the College of Arts and Sciences, focuses her research on bioactive small molecules produced by bacteria and the ways in which they may help defend the human body against infectious diseases. Her lab is dedicated to unlocking the hidden chemistry of bacterial genomes and discovering the next generation of antibiotics.

Li joined UNC’s department of chemistry in 2013 after completing a Jane Coffin Childs postdoctoral fellowship at Harvard Medical School. She has a B.S. in biological sciences from Beijing University and earned her Ph.D. in biochemistry from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2009.

The Packard Foundation established the fellowships program in 1988 to provide early-career scientists with flexible funding and the freedom to take risks and explore new frontiers in their fields. It is among the nation’s largest nongovernmental fellowships.

Recipients have gone on to receive awards such as the Nobel Prize in Physics, MacArthur Fellowships and elections to the National Academies of Sciences and Engineering.

Li was also selected as a 2016 Rita Allen Foundation Scholar in July; the award is given to outstanding young leaders in biomedical research. Read more.


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