Dean Y. Li, M.D., Ph.D.

Dean Y. Li, M.D., Ph.D.

Executive vice president and president, MSD Research Laboratories

"I understand what science and medicine can do for the human condition in the darkest of times — to have just a little ray of hope that medicine can make a substantial difference."

Years at MSD Research Laboratories


Dean Li serves as executive vice president and president of MSD Research Laboratories. He leads the company’s worldwide human vaccines and therapeutics research and development organization.

Since joining MSD in 2017, Li has held leadership roles in the translational medicine and discovery functions and was appointed to president, MSD Research Laboratories in January 2021.

Prior to joining MSD, Li held positions of increasing responsibility in translational medical research at the University of Utah. Most recently he served as the H.A. & Edna Benning professor of medicine and cardiology, chief scientific officer, associate vice president and vice dean at the University of Utah Health System. From 2015 to 2016, he also served as interim CEO of Associated Regional University Pathologists, one of the United States’ largest clinical reference laboratories. During his tenure at the University of Utah, he co-founded several biotechnology companies based upon research conducted in his laboratory, including Recursion Pharmaceuticals, Hydra Biosciences and Navigen Pharmaceuticals.   

Li received his bachelor’s degree in chemistry from the University of Chicago and his graduate and clinical training at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. Li is a cardiologist, a member of the American Society for Clinical Investigation and the Association of American Physicians.