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Photo of Li, Hongjin

Hongjin Li, PhD

Assistant Professor

Department of Human Development Nursing Science


Building & Room:

848 NURS


845 S Damen Ave., MC 802, Chicago, IL 60612

Office Phone:


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Dr. Li's research focuses on three main components: (1) phenotyping, identifying trajectory and predictors (genetic and metabolomic) of the psychoneurological symptom cluster (pain, fatigue, sleep disturbance, depression, anxiety) experienced by breast cancer survivors; (2) testing and implementing complementary and integrative therapies (i.e., acupuncture) to alleviate cancer-related symptoms among medically underserved breast cancer survivors; and (3) using multi-omics approach to understand the effect and mechanism of acupuncture.

Selected Grants

NIH/NCI R21CA277153, A Multi-Omics Study of the Effect and Mechanisms of Acupuncture on Psychoneurological Symptoms Among Breast Cancer Survivors, PI

NIH/NCCIH R34AT012084, Feasibility of Implementing Acupuncture into a Federally Qualified Health Center to Alleviate Multiple Symptoms Among Breast Cancer Survivors Receiving Endocrine therapy, PI

NIH/NCCIH HEAL INITIATIVE UH3 AT011265, Hybrid Effectiveness-Implementation Trial of Guided Relaxation and Acupuncture for Chronic Sickle Cell Disease Pain, Multiple Principal Investigator, Co-I

Rockefeller University Heilbrunn Research Award, Metabolomics and Psychoneurological Symptoms among Breast Cancer Survivors, PI

Selected Publications

E.S. Swirsky, A.D. Boyd, C. Gu, L.A. Burke, A.Z. Doorenbos, M.O. Ezenwa, M.R. Knisely, J.W. Leigh, H. Li, M.W. Mandernach, R.E. Molokie, C.L. Patil, A.D. Steffen, N. Shah, V.A. deMartelly, K.L. Staman, J.M. Schlaeger. (2023). Monitoring and responding to signals of suicidal ideation in pragmatic clinical trials: Lessons from the GRACE trial for Chronic Sickle Cell Disease Pain. Contemporary Clinical Trials Communications, 36: 101218.

Knisely, M.R., Rivera, E., DeMartelly, T., Abdulkadir, A., Doorenbos, A., Ezenwa, M., Molokie, R.E., Li, H., Shah, N., Schlaeger, J. & Patil, C. (E-pub 5/15/23). Developing an implementation blueprint for the NIH HEAL Initiative GRACE Trial: Perspectives on acupuncture and guided relaxation for chronic sickle cell disease pain. Journal of Integrative & Complementary Medicine.

Doorenbos, A. Z., Schlaeger, J. M., deMartelly, V. A., Burke, L. A., Boyd, A. D., Knisely, M. R., Leigh, J.W., Li, H., Mandernach, M.W., Molokie, R.E., Patil, C.L., Steffen, A.D., Shah, N., & Ezenwa, M. O. (2023). Hybrid effectiveness-implementation trial of guided relaxation and
acupuncture for Chronic Sickle Cell Disease Pain (GRACE): A protocol. Contemporary Clinical Trials Communications, 101076.

Schlaeger JM, Glayzer JE, Villegas-Downs M, Li H, Glayzer EJ, He Ying, Takayama M, Yajima H, Takakura N, Kobak WH, McFarlin BM (Epub 12/19/22). Evaluation and Treatment of Vulvodynia: State of the Science. Journal of Midwifery and Women’s Health.

Li, H., Schlaeger, J.M., Patil, C.L., Danciu, O.C., Xia, Y., Sun, J., Doorenbos, A.Z. (2022). Feasibility of Acupuncture and Exploration of Metabolomic Alterations for Psychoneurological Symptoms Among Breast Cancer Survivors. Biological Research for Nursing. Published online Oct 28, 2022. DOI: 10.1177/10998004221136567.

Li, H., Lockwood, M.B., Schlaeger, J.M., Liu, T., Danciu, O.C., Doorenbos, A.Z (2022). Tryptophan and Kynurenine Pathway Metabolites and Psychoneurological Symptoms Among Breast Cancer Survivors. Pain Management Nursing. Published online Oct 10, 2022. DOI:

Liu, T., Li, H., Conley, Y. P., Primack, B. A., Wang, J., & Li, C. (2022). The BDNF functional polymorphism and hand grip strength impact the association between BDNF levels and cognition in older adults in the United States. Biological Research for Nursing.

Li H., Schlaeger J.M., Jang M.K., Lin Y., Park C., Liu T., Sun M., & Doorenbos A.Z. (2021). Acupuncture improves multiple treatment-related symptoms in breast cancer survivors: a systematic review and meta-analysis. J Altern Complement Med. Published online August 27, 2021. doi: 10.1089/acm.2021.0133

Li H., Patil C.L., Molokie R.E., Njoku F., Steffen A.D., Doorenbos A.Z., & Schlaeger J.M. (2021). Acupuncture for chronic pain in adults with sickle cell disease: a mixed-methods pilot study. Acupunct Med. Published online June 3, 2021. doi:10.1177/09645284211017303

Li, H., Flynn, D.M., Highland, K.B., Burke, L.A., Mcquinn, H.M., Steffen, A.D., & Doorenbos, A.Z. (2021). Pattern of Cumulative Treatment Hours on Pain Impact and PROMIS Outcomes. Military Medicine. DOI: 10.1093/milmed/usab142

Li, H., Flynn, D.M., Highland, K.B., Barr, P.K., Langford, D.J., & Doorenbos, A.Z. (2021). Relationship between Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Symptoms and Chronic Pain Related Symptom Domains among Military Active Duty Service Members. Pain Medicine. DOI: 10.1093/pm/pnab087

Jang, M.K., Chung, D., Hamlish, T., Rhee, E., Mathew, A., Li, H., & Doorenbos, A.Z. (2021). Factors influencing mammography uptake following a screening intervention among Asian American women: A systematic review. Journal of Immigrant and Minority Health. DOI: 10.1007/s10903-021-01172-0

Li, H., Liu, Y., Heinsberg, L, Lockwood, M., Wainwright, A.D., Jang, M. K, & Doorenbos, A.Z. (2020). Systematic Review of the Kynurenine Pathway and Psychoneurological Symptoms Among Adult Cancer Survivors. Biological Research for Nursing, 22(4), 472-484.

Li, H., Marsland, A. L., Conley, Y. P., Sereika, S. M., & Bender, C. M. (2020). Genes Involved in the HPA Axis and the Symptom Cluster of Fatigue, Depressive Symptom and Anxiety in Women with Breast Cancer During 18 Months of Adjuvant Therapy. Biological Research for Nursing, 22(2), 277-286.

Li, H., Sereika, S. M., Marsland, A. L., Conley, Y. P., & Bender, C. M. (2019). Symptom Clusters in Women with Breast Cancer During the First 18 Months of Adjuvant Therapy. Journal of Pain and Symptom Management, 59(2), 233-241.

Li, H., Sereika, S. M., Marsland, A. L., Conley, Y. P., & Bender, C. M. (2019). Impact of Chemotherapy on Symptoms and Symptom Clusters in Postmenopausal Women with Breast Cancer Prior to Aromatase Inhibitor Therapy. Journal of Clinical Nursing, 28(23-24):4560-4571.

Li, H, Ge, S, Greene, B, and Dunbar-Jacob, J. (2019). Depression in the context of chronic diseases in the United States and China. International Journal of Nursing Sciences, 6(1),117-112.

Li, H., Ji, M., Scott, P., & Dunbar-Jacob, J. M. (2019). The Effect of Symptom Clusters on Quality of Life Among Patients With Type 2 Diabetes. The Diabetes Educator, 45(3), 287-294.

Professional Leadership

Symptom Science RIIG Chair-Elect 2022-2023, MNRS

Symptom Science RIIG Chair 2023-2024, MNRS


2013 University of Missouri-St. Louis College of Nursing, BSN
2015 Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health, MS-Biostatistics
2019 University of Pittsburgh School of Nursing, PhD
2021 University of Illinois Chicago College of Nursing, Postdoc fellow

Professional Memberships

2016 Oncology Nursing Society
2017 Eastern Nursing Research Society
2019 Midwest Nursing Research Society