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Melissa Li, PhD

Program Director
SBIR Development Center
National Cancer Institute

Melissa Li, PhD is a Program Director in the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Development Center at the National Cancer Institute (NCI). She is focused on developing programs and initiatives that promote inclusion and equitable access to small business funding for entrepreneurs developing innovative cancer technologies. Currently, she is co-leading the NCI’s efforts on the Applicant Assistant Program (AAP), which provides Phase I SBIR/STTR application preparation support to small businesses.
Prior to joining the NCI SBIR Development Center, Melissa was a scientific writer with positions as a proposal writer at a large CRO and as a scientific consultant and grant writer for small businesses, raising >$15 million in federal funding. Melissa’s scientific training focused on molecular mechanisms of noncoding RNAs in the context of lung cancer during her postdoctoral fellowship at the NIH and in the context of metabolic stress during her PhD in molecular cell biology at Washington University in St. Louis.