Dr. Li Cai

Assistant Professor of Chemistry

CAILI@mailbox.sc.edu

Research Interest:

Dr. Li Cai, assistant professor of chemistry in USC Salkehatchie, is an organic chemist and glyco-scientist whose research focuses on carbohydrate chemistry, enzymatic synthesis of carbohydrates, and chemical glycobiology. Dr. Cai is also devoted to enhancing the teaching and learning of chemistry, which includes advising undergraduate researches.

Research and Teaching Site

Education

Ph.D. (2011) Organic/Bioorganic Chemistry the Ohio State University
M.S. (2007) Medicinal Chemistry Peking University
B.S. (2005) Pharmaceutical Science Peking University

 

Professional Experience:

Assistant Professor of Chemistry University of South Carolina Salkehatchie 08/2011-present
Research Associate The Ohio State University 06/2011-07/2011
Graduate Research Assistant The Ohio State University 01/2008-06/2011
Graduate Teaching Assistant The Ohio State University 09/2008-09/2009

 

Other Experience

Editorships

  • Academic Editor, International Research Journal of Pure and Applied Chemistry, 2013-present

Professional Service

Manuscript reviewing for (27 journals):

Advanced Synthesis & Catalysis Journal of Carbohydrate Chemistry
Applied and Environmental Microbiology Journal of Medicinal Chemistry
Bioorganic & Medicinal Chemistry Journal of Molecular Catalysis B: Enzymatic
Bioorganic & Medicinal Chemistry Letters Journal of Organic Chemistry
Carbohydrate Research Letters in Organic Chemistry
Central European Journal of Chemistry Mini-Reviews in Organic Chemistry
Chemical Communications Molecules
The Chemical Educator Nurse Education Today
Chemical Science Organic & Biomolecular Chemistry
Chemistry Central Journal Organic Letters
Current Organic Chemistry Synthetic Communications
Current Organic Synthesis Tetrahedron
European Journal of Organic Chemistry Tetrahedron Letters
International Journal of Molecular Sciences

 

Publications (Peer reviewed)

Journals (after joining USC, 08/2011-present, * denotes corresponding author, denotes co-first author)

40.  Li, Z.; Wu, X.; Cai, L.; Duan, S.; Liu, J.; Yuan, P.; Nakanishi, H.; Gao, X. Enzymatic synthesis of rare sugars with L-rhamnulose-1-phosphate aldolase from Thermotoga maritime MSB8.Bioorganic & Medicinal Chemistry Letters 2015, accepted.

cai 4039.  Li, Z.; He, B.; Gao, Y.; Cai, L.* Synthesis of D-sorbose and D-psicose by recombinant Escherichia coli. Journal of Carbohydrate Chemistry 2015, accepted.

cai3938.  Wei, M.; Li, Z.; Li, T.; Wu, B.; Liu, Y.; Qu, J.; Li, X.; Li, L.; Cai, L.; Wang, P. G. Transforming flask reaction into cell-based synthesis: production of polyhydroxylated molecules via engineered Escherichia coli. ACS Catalysis 2015, 5, 4060-4065.

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37.  Li, Z.; Qiao, Y.; Cai, L.; Nakanishi, H.; Gao, X. Characterization of glycerol phosphate oxidase from Streptococcus pneumoniae and its application for ketose synthesis.Bioorganic & Medicinal Chemistry Letters 2015, 25, 504-507.

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36.  Cai, L.*; Rufty, C.; Liquois, M. Solvent-free per-O-acetylation of carbohydrates. Asian Journal of Chemistry 2014, 26, 4367-4369.

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35.  Cai, L.* Thin layer chromatography. Current Protocols Essential Laboratory Techniques 2014, 6.3.1-6.3.18.

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34.  Li, Z.; Gao, Y.; Nakanishi, H.; Gao, X.*; Cai, L.* Biosynthesis of rare hexoses using microorganisms and related enzymes. Beilstein Journal of Organic Chemistry 2013, 9, 2434-2445.

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33. Cai, L.*; Rufty, C. Solvent-free pyridine-free peracetylation of glucose: An organic chemistry experiment. The Chemical Educator 2013, 18, 96-98. [Article Link]

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32. Zou, Y.; Xue, M.; Wang, W.; Cai, L.; Chen, L.; Liu, J.; Wang, P. G.; Shen, J.; Chen, M. One-pot three-enzyme synthesis of UDP-Glc, UDP-Gal and their derivatives. Carbohydrate Research 2013, 373, 76-81. [Article Link]

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31.  Duan, X.; Cai, L.*; Lee, L. A.; Chen, H.; Wang, Q.* Incorporation of azide sugar analogue decreases tumorigenic potential of breast cancer cells by reducing cancer stem cell population. Science China Chemistry 2013, 56, 279-285. [Cover Story]

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30. Washington-Hughes, C. L.; Cheng, Y.; Duan, X.; Cai, L.; Lee, L. A.; Wang, Q. In vivo virus-based macrofluorogenic probes target azide-labeled surface glycans in MCF-7 breast cancer cells. Molecular Pharmaceutics 2013, 10, 43-50. [Article Link]

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29. Cai, L.* An alternative method for balancing redox reactions. The Chemical Educator 2012, 17, 172-174. [Article Link]
28. Han, W.; Cai, L.; Wu, B.; Li, L.; Xiao, Z.; Cheng, J.; Wang, P. G. The wciN gene encodes an α-1,3-galactosyltransferase involved in the biosynthesis of the capsule repeating unit of Streptococcus pneumoniae serotype 6B. Biochemistry 2012, 51, 5804−5810. [Article Link]

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27. Li, Z.; Cai, L.*; Wei, M.; Wang, P. G.* One-pot four-enzyme synthesis of ketoses with fructose 1,6-bisphosphate aldolases from Staphylococcus carnosus and rabbit muscle. Carbohydrate Research 2012, 357, 143-146. [Article Link]

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26. Cai, L.* Recent progress in enzymatic synthesis of sugar nucleotides. Journal of Carbohydrate Chemistry 2012, 31, 535-552. [Article Link]

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25. Zou, Y.; Wang, W.; Cai, L.; Chen, L.; Xue, M.; Shen, J.; Chen, M. Substrate specificity of galactokinase from Streptococcus pneumoniae TIGR4 towards galactose, glucose, and their derivatives. Bioorganic & Medicinal Chemistry Letters 2012, 22, 3540-3543. [Article Link]

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24. Han, W.; Wu, B.; Li, L.; Zhao, G.; Woodward, R.; Pettit, N.; Cai, L.; Thon, V.; Wang, P. G. Defining function of lipopolysaccharide O-antigen ligase WaaL using chemoenzymatically synthesized substrates. Journal of Biological Chemistry 2012, 287, 5357-5365. [Article Link]

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23. Li, Z.; Cai, L.*; Qi, Q.; Wang, P. G.* Enzymatic synthesis of D-sorbose and D-psicose with aldolase RhaD: Effect of acceptor configuration on enzyme stereoselectivity. Bioorganic & Medicinal Chemistry Letters 2011, 21, 7081-7084. [Article Link]

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Journals (working during undergraduate, M.S. and Ph.D., as co-first author)

22. Ban, L.; Pettit, N.; Li, L.; Stuparu, A. D.; Cai, L.; Chen, W.; Guan, W.; Han, W.; Wang, P. G.; Mrksich, M. Discovery of glycosyltransferases using carbohydrate arrays and mass spectrometry. Nature Chemical Biology 2012, 8, 769-773.
21. Li, Y.; Yu, H.; Chen, Y.; Lau, K.; Cai, L.; Cao, H.; Tiwari, V. K.; Qu, J.; Thon, V.; Wang, P. G.; Chen, X. Substrate promiscuity of N-acetylhexosamine 1-kinases. Molecules 2011, 16, 6396-6407.

20. Cai, L.; Ban, L.; Guan, W.; Mrksich, M.; Wang, P. G. Enzymatic synthesis and properties of uridine-5′-O-(2-thiodiphospho)-N-acetylglucosamine. Carbohydrate Research 2011, 346, 1576-1580.

19. Wang, W.; Li, L.; Jin, C.; Niu, Y.; Li, S.; Ma, J.; Li, L.; Liu, Y.; Cai, L.; Zhao, W.; Wang, P. G. Enzymatic synthesis of a 6-sialyl lactose analogue using a pH-responsive water-soluble polymer support. Bioorganic & Medicinal Chemistry Letters 2011, 21, 5041-5044.

18. Guan, W.; Ban, L.; Cai, L.; Li, L.; Chen, W.; Liu, X.; Mrksich, M.; Wang, P. G. Combining carbochips and mass spectrometry to study the donor specificity for the Neisseria meningitidis β1,3-N-acetylglucosaminyltransferase LgtA. Bioorganic & Medicinal Chemistry Letters 2011, 21, 5025-5028.

17. Li, Z.; Cai, L.; Qi, Q.; Styslinger, T. J.; Zhao, G.; Wang, P. G. Synthesis of rare sugars with L-fuculose-1-phosphate aldolase (FucA) from Thermus thermophilus HB8. Bioorganic & Medicinal Chemistry Letters 2011, 21, 5084-5087.

16. Pettit, N.; Cai, L.; Han, W.; Zha, L.; Guan, W.; Wang, P. G. C2-Carbon isostere of N-acetylglucosamine as substrate for bacterial polysaccharide remodeling. American Journal of Biomedical Sciences 2011, 3, 107-115.

15. Chen, W.; Gu, L.; Zhang, W.; Motari, E.; Cai, L.; Styslinger, T.; Wang, P. G. L-Rhamnose antigen: a promising alternative to α-Gal for cancer immunotherapies. ACS Chemical Biology 2011, 6, 185-191.

14. Guan, W.; Cai, L.; Wang, P. G. Highly efficient synthesis of UDP-GalNAc/GlcNAc analogues with promiscuous recombinant human UDP-GalNAc pyrophosphorylase AGX1. Chemistry – A European Journal 2010, 16, 13343-13345.

13. Yu, H.; Thon, V.; Lau, K.; Cai, L.; Chen, Y.; Mu, S.; Li, Y.; Wang, P. G.; Chen, X. Highly efficient chemoenzymatic synthesis of β1-3-linked galactosides. Chemical Communications 2010, 46, 7507-7509.

12. Chen, W.; Xia, C.; Cai, L.; Wang, P. G. Efficient synthesis of galactosylceramide analogues for iNKT cell stimulation. Bioorganic & Medicinal Chemistry Letters 2010, 20, 3859-3862.

11. Cai, L.; Guan, W.; Chen, W.; Wang, P. G. Chemoenzymatic synthesis of uridine 5′-diphospho-2-acetonyl-2-deoxy-alpha-D-glucose as C2-carbon isostere of UDP-GlcNAc. Journal of Organic Chemistry 2010, 75, 3492-3494.

10. Woodward, R.; Yi, W.; Li, L.; Zhao, G.; Eguchi, H.; Perali, R. S.; Guo, H.; Song, J. K.; Motari, E.; Cai, L.; Kelleher, P.; Liu, X.; Han, W.; Zhang, W.; Ding, Y.; Li, M.; Wang, P. G. In vitro bacterial polysaccharide biosynthesis: Defining the functions of Wzy and Wzz. Nature Chemical Biology 2010, 6, 418-423.

9. Zhao, G.; Guan, W.; Cai, L.; Wang, P. G. Enzymatic route to preparative-scale synthesis of UDPGlcNAc/GalNAc, their analogues and GDP-fucose. Nature Protocols 2010, 5, 636-646.

8. Fang, J.; Guan, W.; Cai, L.; Gu, G.; Liu, X.; Wang, P. G. Systematic study on the broad nucleotide triphosphate specificity of the pyrophosphorylase domain of the N-acetylglucosamine-1-phosphate uridyltransferase from Escherichia coli K12. Bioorganic & Medicinal Chemistry Letters 2009, 19, 6429-6432.

7. Guan, W.; Cai, L.; Fang, J.; Wu, B.; Wang, P. G. Enzymatic synthesis of UDP-GlcNAc/UDP-GalNAc analogs using N-acetylglucosamine 1-phosphate uridyltransferase (GlmU). Chemical Communications 2009, 6976-6978.

6. Cai, L.; Guan, W.; Wang, W.; Zhao, W.; Kitaoka, M.; Shen, J.; O’Neil, C.; Wang, P. G. Substrate specificity of N-acetylhexosamine kinase towards N-acetylgalactosamine derivatives. Bioorganic & Medicinal Chemistry Letters 2009, 19, 5433-5435.

5. Cai, L.; Guan, W.; Kitaoka, M.; Shen, J.; Xia, C.; Chen, W.; Wang, P. G. A chemoenzymatic route to N-acetylglucosamine-1-phosphate analogues: substrate specificity investigations of N-acetylhexosamine 1-kinase. Chemical Communications 2009, 2944-2946.

4. Mei, H.; Xing, L.; Cai, L.; Jin, H.; Zhao, P.; Yang, Z.; Zhang, L.; Zhang, L.-H. Studies on the synthesis of neamine-dinucleosides and neamine-PNA conjugates and their interaction with RNA. Bioorganic & Medicinal Chemistry Letters 2008, 18, 5355-5358.

3. Cai, L.; Ren, B.; Zhang, F.; Yang, Z.; Zhang, L.; Zhang, L.-H. Synthesis and biological evaluation of neamine analogues for RNA binding. Journal of Chinese Pharmaceutical Sciences 2008, 17, 129-133.

2. Cai, L.; Li, Q.; Ren, B.; Yang, Z.; Zhang, L.; Zhang, L.-H. Synthesis of aminodisaccharide-nucleoside conjugates for RNA binding. Tetrahedron 2007, 63, 8135-8144.

1. Ren, B.; Cai, L.; Zhang, L.; Yang, Z.; Zhang, L.-H. Selective deacetylation using iodine-methanol reagent in fully acetylated nucleosides. Tetrahedron Letters 2005, 46, 8083-8086.

 

Published Abstracts

  1. Cai, L.; Rufty, C.; Liquois, M. Solvent-free per-O-acetylation of carbohydrates. 2013 Southeast Regional Meeting of the American Chemical Society 2013, 177.
  2. Wang, P. G.; Li, Z.; Wei, M.; Wu, B.; Cai, L. Production of chiral organic molecules through synthetic biology. Abstracts of Papers: 244th American Chemical Society National Meeting 2012, 244, 88-CARB.
  3. Cai, L.; Li, Z.; Wang, P. G. Synthesis of rare sugars by in vitro and in vivo aldolase reactions. Abstracts of Papers: 243rd American Chemical Society National Meeting 2012, 243, 70-CARB.
  4. Cai, L.; Guan, W.; Wang, P. G. Chemoenzymatic route to uncommon sugar nucleotides. Abstracts of Papers: 240th American Chemical Society National Meeting 2010, 240, 410-MEDI.
  5. Cai, L.; Yang, Z.; Ren, B.; Zhang, L.; Zhang, L.-H. Aminoglyco-nucleosides targeting RNA: synthesis and biological evaluation. The 25th Chinese Chemical Society Congress Abstracts 2006,

 

Theses

 

Synergistic Activities

Non-Refereed Publications

  1. Bell, A. C.; Cai, L. Learning organic chemistry reactions as a nursing student. University of South Carolina Salkehatchie – Faculty Forum 2013, 19:1-9. [PDF] This article was also peer-reviewed and published in Caravel, the USC Undergraduate Research Journal, Fall 2014.
  2. Cai, L. Editorial: Towards the enzymatic synthesis of carbohydrates. Organic Chemistry Current Research 2012, 1, 1000e103. [PDF]

 

Student Laboratory Experiments & Manuals:

  1. Li Cai, Laboratory Experiments for General Chemistry II, 2nd Edition, ISBN 978-1-269-78279-1.
  2. Li Cai, Experiments in General Chemistry I, 2nd Edition, ISBN 978-1-269-68719-5.
  3. Li Cai, Experiments in Fundamental Organic Chemistry, 2nd Edition, ISBN 978-1-269-68588-7.
  4. Li Cai, Experiments for Chemistry and Society, ISBN 978-1-269-68834-5.
  5. Li Cai, Laboratory Experiments for General Chemistry Volume 1 & 2, ISBN 978-1-121-40255-3 & ISBN 978-1-256-21630-8.
  6. Li Cai, Laboratory Experiments for Fundamental Chemistry Volume 1 & 2, ISBN 978-1-121-38383-8 & ISBN 978-1-256-21620-9.

 

Honors and Awards

  1. Chinese Government Award for Outstanding Self-Financed Students Abroad, 2010.
  2. Outstanding Oral Presentation Award, 6th Midwest Carbohydrate and Glycoscience Symposium, University of Toledo, 2010.
  3. Best Oral Presentation Award, 5th Midwest Carbohydrate and Glycoscience Symposium, University of Cincinnati, 2009.
  4. University Fellowship, College of Mathematical and Physical Science Scholarship, Ohio State University,
  5. Excellent Medical Student First Price Scholarship, Peking University, China 2002-2004.

 

Presentations (§ indicates a presentation given by an undergraduate researcher)

  1. Chris Rufty, Li Cai, Oral presentation, “Solvent-free peracetylation of carbohydrates”, 2013 Southeast Regional Meeting of the American Chemical Society, Atlanta, GA, 11/2013
  2. Li Cai, Poster presentation, “Incorporation of azide sugar analogue decrease tumorigenic potential of breast cancer cells by reducing cancer stem cell population”, Gordon Research Conference (Carbohydrate), West Dover, VT, 06/2013
  3. Chris Rufty, Li Cai, Poster presentation, “Solvent-free peracetylation of carbohydrates”, The annual meeting of the South Carolina Academy of Science, Columbia, SC, 04/2013
  4. Chris Rufty, Li Cai, Poster presentation, “Converting wastes to something useful: low-cost recovery of aluminum with cheap household chemicals”, The annual meeting of the South Carolina Academy of Science, Aiken, SC, 04/2012
  5. Li Cai, Poster presentation, “One-pot multi-Enzyme synthesis of rare sugars and their derivatives”, 243rd ACS National Meeting, San Diego, CA, 03/2012
  6. Li Cai, Oral presentation, “Carbohydrate chemistry”, The 25th Annual Hayes Graduate Research Forum, Columbus, OH, 03/2011
  7. Li Cai, Oral presentation, “A chemoenzymatic route to uncommon sugar nucleotides”, 6th Midwest Carbohydrate and Glycoscience Symposium, Toledo, OH, 09/2010
  8. Li Cai, Poster presentation, “Chemoenzymatic synthesis of uncommon sugar nucleotides: a significant step towards natural-product glycoengineering”, 240th ACS National Meeting, Boston, MA, 08/2010
  9. Li Cai, Oral presentation, “A chemoenzymatic route to UDPGlcNAc/UDPGalNAc analogues library”, 5th Midwest Carbohydrate and Glycoscience Symposium, Cincinnati, OH, 10/2009
  10. Li Cai, Poster presentation, “A chemoenzymatic route to N-acetylhexosamine-1-phosphate analogues: substrate specificity investigations of N-acetylhexosamine 1-kinase”, Gordon Research Conference (Carbohydrate), Tilton, NH, 06/2009
  11. Li Cai, Poster presentation, “Aminoglyco-nucleosides targeting RNA: synthesis and biological evaluation”, the 25th Chinese Chemical Society Congress, Changchun, China, 07/2006

 

Courses Taught

  • General Chemistry I – Lecture and Laboratory Components – USC Salkehatchie: Fall 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014
  • General Chemistry II – Lecture and Laboratory Components – USC Salkehatchie: Spring 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015
  • Fundamental Chemistry I – Lecture and Laboratory Components – USC Salkehatchie: Fall 2011, 2012
  • Fundamental Organic/Biochemistry – Lecture and Laboratory Components – USC Salkehatchie: Fall 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014; Spring 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015
  • Chemistry and Modern Society – Lecture and Laboratory Components – USC Salkehatchie: Fall 2013

 

University Service

  • Rights & Responsibilities Committee Member, Palmetto College Campuses Faculty Senate, 2014 – 2015.
  • Welfare Committee Member, Palmetto College Campuses Faculty Senate, 2012 – 2014.
  • USC Palmetto College Campuses Research and Productive Scholarship Committee, 2012 – 2014, 2014 – 2016.
  • USC Palmetto College Campuses Assessment Committee, 2013 – 2014.
  • Faculty Organization Chair. USC Salkehatchie, 2014 – 2015.
  • Dean’s Advisory Council, USC Salkehatchie, 2014 – 2015.
  • IT/Computer Curriculum Committee Chair. USC Salkehatchie, 2013 – 2014, 2014 – 2015.
  • IT/Computer Curriculum Committee. USC Salkehatchie, 2012 – 2013.
  • Awards Day and Commencement Committee. USC Salkehatchie, 2012 – 2013, 2013 – 2014, 2014 – 2015.
  • Academic Advisor, USC Salkehatchie, 2012 – present.
  • Computer Science Search Committee. USC Salkehatchie, 2014
  • Biology Search Committee. USC Salkehatchie, 2012 & 2013.