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Yong Woo Lee, PhD

Yong Woo Lee, Ph.D., Associate Professor

Dr. Yong Woo Lee is a primary faculty member of Virginia Tech-Wake Forest University School of Biomedical Engineering and Sciences (SBES). He is also an associate professor in the Department of Biomedical Sciences and Pathobiology at the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine. Dr. Lee received his Ph.D. in Molecular Immunology from the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST), and completed his postdoctoral training at the University of Kentucky College of Medicine. Before joining the faculty of Virginia Tech in 2004, Dr. Lee was an assistant professor in the Department of Surgery/Division of Neurosurgery at the University of Kentucky Medical Center.

SYNOPSIS OF AREA OF INTEREST: Dr. Lee’s research focuses on the pro-oxidative and pro-inflammatory mechanisms of human chronic diseases including atherosclerosis and brain injury. In addition, he is interested in the biomedical applications of nanotechnology.


  • Research Area I: Cardiovascular disease caused by atherosclerosis is the leading cause of illness and death in the United States. A number of previous studies have demonstrated that the pro-oxidative and pro-inflammatory pathways within vascular endothelium play an important role in the initiation and progression of atherosclerosis. Dr. Lee’s research focuses on a better understanding of the molecular signaling mechanisms of interleukin-4-mediated initiation and progression of atherosclerosis. In addition, previous studies indicate that whole brain irradiation (WBI) leads to a progressive dementia in brain tumor patients who are long-term survivors after radiation therapy. However, at the present time, there are no successful treatments for radiation-induced normal brain injury, nor are there any known effective preventive strategies. Under the active collaboration with Dr. Sonntag at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, Dr. Lee’s group is investigating the cellular and molecular mechanisms of radiation-induced normal brain injury.
  • Research Area II: The use of conventional pharmaceutical drugs has been significantly limited by inadequate delivery of therapeutic doses of drugs to the target tissues as well as by occurrence of massive side effects on healthy tissues. Therefore, the development of targeted delivery of therapeutic agents to specific sites in the body has become an important area of biomedical research. The long-term goal of Dr. Lee’s research is to create a multi-disciplinary research program by developing novel, effective intervention strategies to improve the quality of health through biomedical applications of nanotechnology. Dr. Lee’s lab currently focuses on the development of novel bioconjugated nanoparticles and validation of their effectiveness for targeted drug delivery. The specific objectives are: (1) to design, synthesize, and characterize novel bioconjugated nanoparticles for targeted drug delivery; (2) to determine the ability of the novel bioconjugated nanoparticles to target specific tissues or cells; and (3) to determine the effectiveness of the novel bioconjugated nanoparticles in human chronic diseases such as atherosclerosis and cancer using cell culture and experimental animal models.  

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Last Updated: 07-18-2016
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