Li Named First Wells Fargo Faculty Scholar

June 13, 2012

King Chuen Peter Li, M.D., M.B.A., incoming chair of radiology at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, has been named the first Wells Fargo Faculty Scholar. This is the inaugural award in a program to accelerate innovative research conducted at the Medical Center and at Wake Forest University.

Li, who will begin his tenure as head of radiology on July 3, is a renowned researcher, educator, inventor and clinical leader in molecular imaging and radiology. He currently is the M.D. Anderson Foundation Distinguished Chair of the Department of Radiology at Methodist Hospital in Houston, Texas. Additionally, he is professor of radiology at Weill Cornell Medical College, an adjunct professor of bioengineering at Rice University and adjunct professor of mechanical engineering at the University of Houston.

During his distinguished academic career, Li was a tenured associate professor at Stanford University School of Medicine and was selected as Teacher of the Year at Stanford. Additionally, he was a tenured senior investigator and former chief of the Radiology and Imaging Sciences Program at the National Institutes of Health.

His studies have involved the development of systems for identifying, characterizing and monitoring different diseases, including cancer, neurodegenerative disease and cardiovascular disease, and molecular image-guided therapy.

Li has a long record of developing and commercializing intellectual property. He holds 13 patents, has 11 patents pending and has six other inventions in preparation for patent filing. His work led to the founding of the biotechnology company Targesome Inc., and he has had other patents licensed or commercialized by Otsuka Pharmaceutical Co. Ltd. and Philips Medical Systems.

“Personalized medicine is becoming increasingly important in health care, and advances in imaging are going to play a crucial role in determining which methods of treatment may be most effective for a given patient,” said Edward Abraham, M.D., dean of Wake Forest School of Medicine.

“Dr. Li’s research and the efforts he has made in translating those research advances into new diagnostic tools and treatment agents place him at the forefront of this field. We are delighted that he will be our first Wells Fargo Faculty Scholar.”

The Wells Fargo Foundation established the Faculty Scholar Program with a $2.5 million, multi-year grant announced in December 2011. The program funds the recruitment of faculty whose research shows promise for generating significant intellectual property and regionally-based commercialization efforts as either start-up or spin-off companies.

“We are pleased to support Dr. Li and Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center,” said Stan Kelly, Wells Fargo regional president for the Carolinas. “His talent and research match perfectly with the criteria for a Wells Fargo Faculty Scholar. This program demonstrates our ongoing commitment to creating jobs and sustaining economic vitality in this region and state. Wells Fargo is responsible for promoting and improving the quality of life for everyone in our local communities. If they prosper, so do we.”

Research led by the Wells Fargo Faculty Scholar is expected to produce job-creating ventures within the Piedmont Triad Research Park (PTRP), North Carolina’s largest urban life sciences research park, attract more biotech research companies to the PTRP and increase the region’s employment base.

Wells Fargo Faculty Scholars may have appointments at Wake Forest University, Wake Forest Baptist or both institutions, and will likely conduct a portion of their research at the PTRP. The multi-year grant will help cover the recruitment, salary, benefits, laboratory, equipment, research and travel costs associated with the scholars’ work.

For the past five years, the Association of University Technology Managers (AUTM) has ranked Wake Forest University among the top five universities in the United States for licensing income generated from academic technology commercialization.

AUTM’s figures show that, together, Wake Forest Baptist and Wake Forest University generated almost $86 million in licensing income in 2010—surpassing Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Stanford. In 2010 alone, Wake Forest Baptist and Wake Forest University submitted 72 invention disclosures and 40 U.S. patent applications. This resulted in the issuance of 12 U.S. patents, 12 option/license/end-user agreements and the launch of two start-up companies.

The PTRP, a subcorporation of Wake Forest Baptist, is home to 40 companies and institutions employing 925 people with a collective annual payroll of more than $50 million. In addition to the researchers employed at the research park, it has generated 105 jobs related to infrastructure development since 2008.

Media Relations

Chad Campbell:, 336-713-4587