Raphael Lee
University of Chicago, USA

Dr. Raphael Lee is the Paul and Allene Russell Professor in the Departments of Surgery, Medicine, Organismal Biology & Anatomy at the University of Chicago. He directs the University of Chicago’s Laboratory for Research in Molecular Cell Repair, devoted to developing molecular regeneration therapeutics to reverse damage caused by trauma. Dr. Lee is a plastic surgeon and biomedical engineer. His professional research interests have focused on the effects of physical forces on tissue injury and healing processes, pharmaceutical control of scar formation, and in reconstructive surgery. Dr. Lee’s research group is recognized for contributions to characterizing the molecular biophysics of cell injury associated with trauma such as electrical shock, acoustic blast, ionizing irradiation and thermal burns, as well as for developing therapeutic strategies to restore cell structure and viability. In this area he has been a true pioneer. Dr. Lee’s development of new therapies has resulted in the establishment of four biotechnology companies. Early in his career Dr. Lee’s lab reported two significant discoveries: (1) that cell membranes disruption was a primary mediator of tissue injury in various forms of trauma; and (II) inhibitors of cellular mechanical stress sensing in keloid scars increases scar degradation. He and his students also developed a method for applying mechanical stress and real-time non-destructive monitoring of quasistatic mechanical properties of engineered ligaments and similar tissues. At the University of Chicago he established the first multidisciplinary program for treatment of survivors of electrical shock injury, now modeled at several centers domestically and internationally. In the past decade Dr. Lee’s laboratory discovered the capability of certain classes of synthetic copolymer surfactants to restore normal structure and function to damaged cell membranes resulting in a fundamentally new class of trauma therapeutics that for first time promise to restore viability damaged tissue following severe injury such as motor vehicle accidents and military trauma. Most recently, this work has been extended to the development of synthetic chaperones to refold denatured aggregated proteins. Dr. Lee has 180 publications in peer-reviewed, archival journals and 11 patents. He was named one of “America’s Top Surgeons” by the Consumers’ Research Council of America and earlier one of “America’s brightest Scientists under the age of 40”, Dr. Lee has received more than 40 professional awards including being named a Schering Scholar (1978), MacArthur Prize Fellow (1981), a Searle Scholar (1985) and AAAS Fellow (2008). In 1988, the James Barrett Brown Award from the American Association of Plastic Surgeons for “advancing knowledge in the field of Plastic Surgery”; In 1997 Dr. Lee was awarded the American Electrical Power Association Award for “Advancing Electrical Safety and Health”.