Immunology and Infectious Diseases
Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health
Professor Lee’s major research interests are virus-specific antigens and their association with disease manifestations, viral replication, and host-virus interactions, with particular focus on human and related primate retroviruses.
Currently, Professor Lee is focusing on the modification of the antigenicity of HIV envelope protein for vaccine development. His work has contributed to the development of serologic testing for the human leukemia virus (HTLV-I) and HIV. He was the first to identify the envelope gene products of HTLV-I, HTLV-II and HIV, and demonstrated that the envelope antibody is the most important marker for screening individuals for infection with the human retroviruses. This information became the basis for serologic tests for blood bank screening. He also identified the putative transforming protein of HTLV-I, which was also the first observation of a retrovirus protein linked to a cancer that was not an oncogene product.
Professor Lee has also worked to identify the immune response to HIV envelope protein and outcome of human immunodeficiency virus infection. His work on HIV envelope protein revealed that an association exists between progress to AIDS and the lack of certain envelope antibodies. Professor Lee has been a recipient of the junior investigator award from the Leukemia Society of America and the Swedish Medical Research Council postdoctoral fellowship award.