Virginia Man-Yee Lee, Ph.D.

faculty photo
John H. Ware 3rd Endowed Professor in Alzheimer's Research
Department: Pathology and Laboratory Medicine

Contact information
Center for Neurodegenerative Disease Research
3rd Floor, Maloney Building
3600 Spruce Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104-4283
Office: (215) 662-6427
Fax: (215) 349-5909

Royal Academy of Music, London, England, 1964.
B.Sc (Chemistry)
Univ. of London, England, 1967.
M.Sc (Biochemistry)
Univ. of London, England, 1968.
Ph.D. (Biochemistry)
University of California at San Francisco, 1973.
Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, 1984.
Permanent link

Description of Research Expertise

Research Interests
Biology of tau, synucleins, TDP-43 and amyloid beta precursor proteins (APPs) in health and disease.

Key words: Alzheimer's disease; tauopathies; APP; Parkinson’s disease; synucleinopathies, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, Frontotemporal lobar degeneration, TDP-43 proteinopathies.

Description of Research
Dr. Lee’s research focuses on disease proteins that form pathological inclusions in hereditary and sporadic Alzheimer’s disease (AD), Parkinson’s disease (PD), frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD), amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and related neurodegenerative disorders of aging. Her work demonstrated that tau, alpha-synuclein and TDP-43 proteins form unique brain aggregates in neurodegenerative diseases and provided critical evidence that aggregation of brain proteins is a common mechanistic theme in diverse neurodegenerative diseases including AD, PD, FTLD, ALS and related disorders. Significantly, Dr. Lee’s studies implicated the abnormal aggregation of tau, alpha-synuclein and TDP-43 in mechanisms that compromise neuronal viability. Most importantly, this research has opened up new avenues of research to identify targets for drug discovery to develop better treatments for these disorders.

Research Techniques
Protein biochemistry; cell and molecular biology; monoclonal antibody production; immunochemical and immunocytochemical techniques; tissue culture; transgenic mouse models; and electron microscopy.

Rotation Projects
Lab rotation projects are difficult to define in a rapidly moving field. Please contact Dr. Lee to discuss possible rotation projects.

Selected Publications

Luk, K.C., Song, C., O’Brien, P., Stieber, A., Branch, J.R., Brunden, K.R., Trojanowski, J.Q. and Lee, V.M.-Y. : Exogenous alpha-synuclein fibrils seed the formation of Lewy body-like intracellular inclusions in cultured cells. PNAS 47: 20051-20056, 2009.

Yoshiyama, Y., Higuchi, M., Zhang, B., Huang, S.-U., Iwata, N., Saido, T.C., Maeda, J., Suhara, T., Trojanowski, J.Q., Lee, V.M.-Y. : Synapse loss and microglial activation precede tangles in a P301S tauopathy mouse model. Neuron, 53:337-351, 2007. Neuron 53: 337-351, 2007.

Neumann, M., Sampathu, D.M., Kwong, L.K., Truax, A., Miscenyi, M., Chou, T.T., Bruce, J., Schuck, T., Grossman, M., Clark, C., Mccluskey, L., Miller, B.L., Masliah, E., MacKenzie, I.R., Feldman, H., Feiden, W., Kretzschmar, H.A., Trojanowski, J.Q., Lee, V.M.-Y. : Ubiquitinated TDP-43 in frontotemporal lobar degeneration and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. Science 314: 130-133, 2006.

Yazawa, I., Giasson, B.I., Sasaki, R., Zhang, B., Joyce, S., Uryu, K., Trojanowski, J.Q., Lee, V.M.-Y.: Mouse model of multiple system atrophy: alpha-synuclein expression in oligodendrocytes causes glial and neuronal degeneration. Neuron 45: 847-859, 2005.

Giasson, B.I., Forman, M.S., Higuchi, M., Golbe, L.I., Graves, C.L., Kotzbauer, P.T., Trojanowski, J.Q., Lee, V.M.-Y. : Initiation and synergistic fibrillization of tau and á-synuclein. Science 300: 636 - 640, 2003.

back to top
Last updated: 07/27/2015
The Trustees of the University of Pennsylvania