Choh Hao Li

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Choh Hao Li
Born(1913-04-21)April 21, 1913
DiedNovember 28, 1987(1987-11-28) (aged 74)
NationalityRepublic of China
United States
Alma materNanjing University, University of California, Berkeley
Known forDiscovering and synthesizing the human pituitary growth hormone
AwardsAlbert Lasker Award for Basic Medical Research (1962)
Scientific career

Choh Hao Li (sometimes Cho Hao Li) (Chinese: 李卓皓; pinyin: Lǐ Zhuōhào; April 21, 1913 – November 28, 1987) was a Chinese-born American biochemist who discovered, in 1966, that human pituitary growth hormone (somatotropin) consists of a chain of 256 amino acids. In 1970 he succeeded in synthesizing this hormone, the largest protein molecule synthesized up to that time.

Li was born in Guangzhou and educated at the Nanjing University. In 1935 he immigrated to the US, where he took up postgraduate studies at the University of California, Berkeley and later joined the staff. He became professor in 1950. In 1955 he was elected as Academician of Academia Sinica, Republic of China.

Li spent his entire academic career studying the pituitary-gland hormones. In collaboration with various co-workers, he isolated several protein hormones, including adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH), which stimulates the adrenal cortex to increase its secretion of corticoids. In 1956, Li and his group showed that ACTH consists of 39 amino acids arranged in a specific order, and that the whole chain of the natural hormone is not necessary for its action. He isolated another pituitary hormone called melanocyte-stimulating hormone (MSH) and found that not only does this hormone produce some effects similar to those produced by ACTH, but also that part of the amino acid chain of MSH is the same as that of ACTH.


  • Cole, R D (1996), "Choh Hao Li: April 21, 1913 - November 28, 1987", Biographical Memoirs of the National Academy of Sciences, 70, pp. 221–39, PMID 11619324
  • Hruby, Victor J.; Yamashiro, Donald (1988), "Memorial issue in honor of Professor Choh Hao Li. Part I", Int. J. Pept. Protein Res (published Dec 1988), 32 (6), pp. 417–598, doi:10.1111/j.1399-3011.1988.tb01371.x, PMID 3073145
  • Hruby, V J (1988), "In memoriam Choh Hao Li, April 21, 1913-November 28, 1987", Int. J. Pept. Protein Res (published Mar 1988), 31 (3), pp. 253–4, PMID 3286549
  • "Classic pages in Obstetrics and Gynecology. Interstitial cell stimulating hormone. II. Method of preparation and some physico-chemical studies, by Choh Hao Li, Miriam E. Simpson, and Herbert M. Evans. Endocrinology, vol. 27, pp. 803-808, 1940", Am. J. Obstet. Gynecol (published Nov 1, 1973), 17 (5), p. 716, 1973, PMID 4599575
  • "Choh Hao Li", Triangle; the Sandoz journal of medical science, 9 (1), pp. 41–2, 1969, ISSN 0041-2597, PMID 4896971
  • INGLE, D J; NEZAMIS, J E; MORLEY, E H; CHOH HAO, L I (1953), "The effect of some partially purified preparations of corticotrophin upon the work performance of adrenalectomized-hypophysectomized rats", Acta Endocrinol (published Oct 1953), 14 (2), pp. 93–8, PMID 13113828

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