People

Q&A with Staff Scientist Song-Zhe Li, MD, PhD

Song-Zhe Li at his desk
Song-Zhe Li, MD, PhD, at his desk in the Fay & Carl Simons Center for the Biology of Hearing and Deafness.
Amy, Boran, William and Song-Zhe Li enjoy a night out at a favorite local restaurant.

What is your role in the department?

I work as a staff scientist and lab manager for Keiko Hirose, MD.

What is your background in research?

I was born in China, near the southern border of North Korea, in the Zilin Province. I obtained my medical degree in China then completed a PhD in molecular medicine in South Korea. I did some postdoctoral research there in endocrinology, then moved to the U.S. in 2003 to take a postdoctoral position in the Renal Division of the Department of Internal Medicine here at Washington University. I spent several years in Internal Medicine, then accepted a position with Dr. Hirose here at Central Institute for the Deaf at WashU.

What do you like most about your work here?

I like that I get to perform relatively independent research, planning and designing experiments, and doing the data collection and analysis. CID has a good research group – it’s very quiet and all the people here are very nice. And I have an office outside the lab space.

The family enjoys some hiking in the Great Smoky Mountains of Tennessee.

What do you like to do in your spare time?

I like to watch national and international news, often in Korean or Chinese. I am also often busy with home repairs, car repairs and working in the yard. I enjoy spending time in our vegetable garden. I also return to China every year to visit my parents who are in their 80s. I was unable to go last year because of the pandemic, so I’m really looking forward to the next opportunity. I have a wife, Amy Zhung, and two sons, Boran and William. Boran is a sophomore at Saint Louis University and William is a sophomore in high school.

What is your favorite movie or book?

Song-Zhe, Amy, William and Boran enjoy the sites at Heaven Lake in volcanic Chanbai Mountain in China.

I don’t have a specific favorite movie, but I like to watch American action movies. If a movie has Harrison Ford, Jason Statham or Liam Neeson starring in it, then I am sure to like it!

Is there something about you that would surprise your colleagues?

I love the outdoors. I like fishing, camping, floating and traveling to new outdoor places. This is often our family vacations, and we just took a nice trip to southern Illinois with friends over the Memorial Day holiday.