Headshot of Tom Li

Pui Kai (Tom) Li, PhD

Associate Professor

Medicinal Chemistry and Pharmacognosy

336 Parks Hall
(614) 688-0253

Professional Interests

Dr. Li’s research interest focuses on the design, syntheses and studies of small molecules for cancers and infectious diseases. In the cancer area, our group focus on prostate and pancreatic cancer. Novel molecules are developed using the strategies of drug repurposing and structure-based drug design (in collaboration with Dr. Xiaolin Cheng). In the research of infectious disease, our focus is on the development of small molecules for the treatment of COVID-19. Novel molecules are generated through computational chemistry, molecular modeling and virtual screening targeting the interface of spike protein and human ACE-2 receptor.


Dr. Li obtained his BS degree in Pharmacy from the University of Wyoming and his Ph.D. in Medicinal Chemistry from The Ohio State University. He conducted his postdoctoral research in the Department of Veterinary Bioscience at The Ohio State University. His first faculty appointment was at the School of Pharmacy, Duquesne University as an assistant professor and then tenured associate professor. In 2000, he joined the Division of Medicinal Chemistry, College of Pharmacy, as tenured associate professor. He was the chair of the division from 2003 to 2013. 


  • 1988-1990, Postdoctoral Researcher, Department of Veterinary Biosciences, The Ohio State University
  • 1988, PhD Medicinal Chemistry, The Ohio State University, Medicinal Chemistry
  • 1983, BS Pharmacy, University of Wyoming
  • 1980, University of Nevada, Pre-Pharmacy


  • 1997, Recipient of the Distinguished Research Award, Duquesne University
  • 1997, School of Pharmacy Award for Excellence in Scholarship
  • 1997, President's Award for Excellence
  • 1988, Distinguished Presentation of the 14th annual meeting, Graduate Student Forum, 1988
  • 1987, University Graduate Associate Teaching Award
  • 1983-1984, University Fellowship