Hao Li, Ph.D.

Professor of Engineering, University of Missouri

President and Co-Founder of Nanova, Inc.


Hao Li, Ph.D. is professor of engineering at the University of Missouri and is also the President of Nanova, Inc., a bio-tech start-up based in Columbia, Missouri. He was trained as a materials scientist with bachelor and master degrees from Xi’an Jiaotong University and his Ph.D. from the Stevens Institute of Technology and also obtained post-doctoral training from Brown University in nanotechnology. His technical expertise include nanotechnology, biomaterials, drug delivery, and medical devices. He first applied a nanocomposite technology in the field of dentistry and orthopedics to develop products with improved strength and better biological properties. This technology, developed at the University of Missouri and funded by both the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the National Institutes of Health, was licensed by Nanova, Inc., and led to an investment of over $7 million in 2013. Dr. Li and his colleagues at Nanova are also developing other technologies: a multiple function dental plasma brush for more durable restoration, a coronary stent with reduced restenosis and thrombosis, and novel antimicrobial small compounds with a novel anti-virulence mechanism which disarm bacteria instead of killing them. Notably, the antimicrobial compounds impose less selective pressure for the bacteria and may not lead to drug resistance, a common problem for conventional antibiotics. Some of these technologies are also currently backed by venture capital investments.

Mentor Statement: Many friends and colleagues have provided tremendous help and advice on how his start-up should move forward. From his personal experience, he can surely see the great value that the Mizzou Venture Mentoring Service (VMS) program may bring to build a start-up ecosystem and eventually make a societal impact with technology. With both entrepreneurial and academic experience, Dr. Li would like to serve as a VMS mentor and continue building bridge between academia, industry, and financial firms in order to create unique values to society.