Hoyun Lee, PhD

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Senior Scientist, Health Sciences North Research Institute
Full Professor, Medical Sciences Division, Northern Ontario School of Medicine
Full Professor, Medicine, University of Ottawa Medical School
Professor of Biomolecular Sciences and Biology, Laurentian University
Chair, Northeastern Ontario Cancer Therapeutics Research Initiative (CTRI)

Dr. Lee received his Master's Degree in Microbiology from the University of Guelph in 1988, and his Ph.D. in Molecular Virology from the same university in 1992. From 1992 until 1994 he was a Research Associate in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics at the University of Virginia Medical School. He was then appointed to Assistant Professor in the Department of Radiation Oncology at the same university. Dr. Lee came to Sudbury in 1996 and has been a scientist in the Tumour Biology Group at North East Cancer Centre/Cancer Care Ontario/Health Sciences North (HSN).

Honors and Awards

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  • 2001 Premier's Research Excellence Award from the Government of Ontario

Selected Affiliations

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  • 2011 - Editorial Board member, Molecular and Cellular Biochemistry
  • 2011 - Editorial Board member, Research and Report in Medicinal Chemistry
  • 2010 - Editorial Board member, Research and Report in Biology
  • 2010 - Editorial Board member, World Journal of Biological Chemistry
  • 2006/08 Editorial Board member, International Journal of Biological Chemistry 2008

Patents

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  • Hoyun Lee, V. Raja Solomon and Sheetal Pundir. Mar 4, 2013/Feb 18, 2014. Quinoline sulfonyl derivatives and uses thereof. US patent #61772032/PCT/CA2014/000121. National stage: USA, Canada, European Union, China, Korea, Japan, and Brazil.
  • Hoyun Lee, Piyush Trivedi, Chandrabose Karthikeyan, and Indeewari K. Lindamulage. Quinolone chalcone compounds and uses thereof. US provisional patent application: 62/258,033

Research Interests

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Dr. Lee’s research interests are diverse. He is developing effective and safe anticancer therapeutics using novel approaches. Dr. Lee and his team develop small molecules that can kill cells in a tumour-specific manner, by targeting specific pathways to avoid causing undesirable side-effects. Our methods include high throughput screening, repurposing/repositioning of known compounds, synthetic lethal approach, and in silico modeling. We are currently conducting preclinical studies using animal models for promising anticancer compounds that we have developed (VR23 & CTR compounds).

Dr. Lee is also studying the regulation of DNA and centrosome duplication and segregation. Faithful replication of the entire genome and centrosome once-per-cell cycle is essential for maintaining genetic stability in mammalian cells. Furthermore, replication and segregation of DNA and centrosome must be closely co-regulated, for which constant cross-talk between these two processes is essential. We currently focus our research on the regulation of DNA replication and the mitotic chromosome segregation mechanism. Our contribution in this research area includes the finding of asymmetric bidirectional replication (ABR) at the human DBF4 promoter locus as well as determining the function of Cdc7-Dbf4 protein kinase and proliferating cell nuclear antigen (PCNA).

Dr. Lee is also studying the mechanism of how cancer cells develop resistance to cancer therapies. Despite the fact that radiation and chemotherapy have considerably improved during the last several decades, the failure of these treatments is still unacceptably high. This failure is often due to the selection of more radio- or chemo-resistant subpopulations during the cancer therapy. We are trying to understand the cellular response to radiation and chemotherapeutics at molecular levels and, eventually, to develop effective combined modalities to control cancers.

Other research projects actively pursuing by the Lee group include: (i) studying anticancer activities of natural products; (ii) research and development of antibiotics by repurposing and repositioning approaches; and (iii) research and development of anti-inflammatory agents to treat auto immune diseases.

Current Funding

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  • 2011-2017: Establishment and operation of CTRI (Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corp.)
  • 2012-2017: Establishment and operation of CTRI (City of Greater Sudbury)
  • 2013-2018: Distinct Cdc7 functions in the context of DNA replication and mitosis (NSERC Discovery Grant)
  • 2015-2017: Northern Cancer Foundation
  • 2013-2018: CFI Equipment grant as a co-applicant (PI, Tong Leung, the University of Waterloo)
  • 2014-2017: Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation (CBCF) as a co-PI (PI, Angel Arnaout, Department of Surgery, Ottawa Health Research Institute / University of Ottawa). A Phase II Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled, and Window of Opportunity Trial Evaluating Autophagy as a Novel Therapeutic Strategy in Breast Cancer.

Selected Publications

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  • James Knockleby, Byung Ju Kim, Avani Mehta, and Hoyun Lee. 2016. Cdk1-mediated phosphorylation of Cdc7 suppresses DNA re-replication. Cell Cycle (In press)
  • Vandana Srivastava and Hoyun Lee. 2015 (Dec). Synthesis and bio-evaluation of novel quinoline-based stilbene derivatives as potential anticancer agents. Biooganic & Medicinal Chemistry 23(24):7629-40.
  • Sheetal Pundir, Hai-Yen Vu, V. Raja Solomon, Rebecca McClure and Hoyun Lee. 2015. VR23 quinoline-sulfonyl hybrid molecule is a novel class of proteasome inhibitor that preferentially kills cancer over non-cancer cell via cyclin E accumulation and abnormal centrosome amplification. Cancer Research 75(19), 4164-4175 (October).
  • Vandana Srivastava and Hoyun Lee. 2015. Chloroquine-based hybrid molecules as promising novel chemotherapeutic agents.  European Journal of Pharmacology 762, 472-486 (July).
  • Hoyun Lee and Julia Romero. Nov 15, 2012. Origin of DNA replication at the human lamin B2 locus: OBR or ABR? Cell Cycle 11, 4281-4283.
  • V. Raja Solomon and Hoyun Lee. April 2012. Anti-breast cancer activity of heteroaryl chalcone derivatives. Biomedicine Pharmacotherapy 66, 213-220.
  • Hoyun Lee. Feb 2, 2012. Asian Medicine: many unique types. Nature 482, 35.
  • Stacey Santi and Hoyun Lee. January 2011. Ablation of Akt2 induces autophagy through cell cycle arrest, downregulation of p70S6K, and deregulation of mitochondria in MDA-MB231 cells. PLoS One 6 (e14614), 1-15.
  • V. Raja Solomon and Hoyun Lee. Nov 2009. Chloroquine and its analogs: a new promise of an old drug for effective and safe cancer therapies (invited review). The European Journal of Pharmacology. 625, 220-233. * Identified as the most highly cited paper published in the EJP during the last five years.
  • Julia Romero and Hoyun Lee. June 8, 2008. Asymmetric bidirectional replication (ABR) at the human Dbf4 locus.  Nature Structural and Molecular Biology 15,722-729.

Contact

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