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Qing Kay Li, M.D., Ph.D.

Photo of Dr. Qing Kay Li, M.D., Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Pathology


Languages: English, Chinese

Expertise: Cytopathology, Pathology

Research Interests: Genetic biomarkers; Lung cancer; Early detection of lung and prostate cancer

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The Johns Hopkins Hospital
Appointment Phone: 410-550-0671

600 N. Wolfe Street
Sheikh Zayed Tower 612B
Baltimore, MD 21287 map
Phone: 410-955-0671
Fax: 410-614-9556

Johns Hopkins Outpatient Center
Appointment Phone: 410-955-0671

601 N. Caroline St.
Baltimore, MD 21287 map

Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center
Appointment Phone: 410-955-0671

4940 Eastern Avenue
Baltimore, MD 21224 map


Dr. Qing Kay Li is an associate professor of pathology at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. She has the American Board of Pathology certification in anatomic and clinical pathology, and subspecialty certification in cytopathology.  Her areas of clinical expertise include surgical pathology and cytopathology.  

Dr. Li received her medical degree from Tianjin Medical University, and completed her pathology resident training at Albany Medical College, surgical pathology fellowship at University Hospital of Cleveland, and cytopathology fellowship at the University of Michigan Hospital. She also had a PhD and cell biology fellowship training at the Cleveland Clinic Foundation. 

Dr. Li is also a faculty member and co-PI at the Johns Hopkins Biomarker Discovery Center.  Her research interests is focusing on the application of advanced cellular and molecular techniques to the field of cytopathology and cancer biology, particularly in the field of early detection of lung and prostate cancer.  

Dr. Li also serves as editorial board members for several journals, committee member of the American Society of Cytopathology, and study sections of government agents and private organizations.  She has more than 80 publications and book chapters.  Her work has been presented at many national/international meetings.  Dr. Li is also the co-editor of “Diagnostic Cytopathology Board Review and Self-Assessment”. more


  • Associate Professor of Pathology

Departments / Divisions



  • MD, Tianjin Medical University (1983)


  • Tianjin Medical University / Internal Medicine (1987)
  • Albany Medical College / Pathology (2004)


  • Tianjin Medical University / Internal Medicine (1988)
  • University of Michigan Health System / Cytopathology (2005)
  • University Hospitals of Cleveland / Pathology (2006)

Board Certifications

  • American Board of Pathology / Anatomic & Clinical Pathology (2005)
  • American Board of Pathology / Cytopathology (2007)

Research & Publications

Research Summary

Dr. Qing Kay Li’s research focuses on the early detection of lung and prostate cancers and ways to separate aggressive from non-aggressive tumors of these organs using state-of-the-art molecular tools.

Recently, Dr. Li and her team identified hundreds of protein and genetic biomarkers in the airway fluid (bronchoalveolar lavage) from lung cancer patients. Their preliminary data shows that these protein and genetic biomarkers have the potential to improve the accuracy of current lung cancer screening tests and could play a role in the early detection of lung cancers, particularly in patients with small lung nodules.

Dr. Li also identified several serum protein biomarkers in prostate cancer patients, and these markers have the potential to improve the diagnosis of aggressive prostate cancers.

Selected Publications

  1. Wang X, Chen J, Li QK, Peskoe SB, Zhang B, Coi C, Platz EA, Zhang H, "Overexpression of alpha (1,6) fucosyltransferase associated with aggressive prostate cancer." Glycobiology. doi:10.1093/glycob/cwu051. Epub 2014 June 5.
  2. Ao MH, Zhang H, Sakowski L, Sharma R, Illei PB, Gabrielson E, Askin F, Li QK. "The utility of a novel triple marker (combination of TTF1, napsin A, and p40) in the subclassification of non–small cell lung cancer." Human Pathology 45 (5), 926-934. 2014. Doi:
  3. Liu Y, Chen J, Sethi A, Li QK, Chen L, Collins B, Gillet LCJ, Wollscheid B, Zhang H, Aebersold R. "Glycoproteomic Analysis of Prostate Cancer Tissues by Glycoproteomic analysis of prostate cancer tissues by SWATH mass spectrometry discovers N-acylethanolamine acid amidase and protein tyrosine kinase 7 as signatures for tumor aggressiveness." Mol Cell Proteomics. 2014 April 16. doi:10.1074/mcp.M114.038273.
  4. Holmes BJ, Sokoll LJ, Li QK. "Measurement of fine-needle aspiration thyroglobulin levels increases the detection of metastatic papillary thyroid carcinoma in cystic neck lesions." Cancer Cytopathology. 2014 March 3. Doi: 10.1002/cncy.2141.
  5. Mahoney K, Cayea D, Li QK, Gelber AC. "A handy clue: palmar fasciitis and polyarthritis syndrome." Am J Med. 2014 Feb;127(2):116-8. doi: 10.1016/j.amjmed.2013.09.021. Epub 2013 Oct 8.

Li Q, Subbulakshmi V, Oldfield C, Aamir R, Weyman CM, Wolfman A and Cathcart MK. Protein kinase C alpha regulates phosphorylation and enzymatic activity of cytosolic phospholipase A2 in vitro and in activated human monocytes. Cell Signal 2006. In press.

Li Q, Bavikatty N, and Michael CW. The role of Immunohistochemistry in the distinguishing squamous cell carcinoma from mesothelioma and adenocarcinoma in pleural effusion. Seminars of Diagnostic Pathol. 2006; 23:15.

Li Q, Murphy M, Ross JS, Sheehan C and Carlson JA. Skp2 and p27 kip1 expression in melanocytic nevi and melanoma: an inverse relationship. J. Cutan. Pathol. 2004; 31:633.

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