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.