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Feb 2017
Trish Foundation contributes to first-ever discovery
Jun 2017
Researchers funded by the Trish Foundation making great progress
Dec 2017
Announcement by NHMRC
Jan 2018
2018 Round of Funding Four new Projects announced
Jun 2018
Exciting regrowth of nerve fibres
Jun 2018
Dr Merson secures $1 million from NHMRC
Jun 2018
Findings submitted for publication
Jan 2019
New Research Projects commencing 2019 announced

Jae Lee, Postgraduate Research
Scholar funded by the Trish Foundation 2013-2015


“What do you want to be when you grow up?”  

Most of us can remember being asked this question countless times by family, friends and acquaintances, as time catapulted us towards adulthood and the need to have a suitable response.


For some, it can be very hard to know the answer. But for Research Scholar and PhD student Jae Lee, his likely career path was clear from an early age, representing the perfect combination of his parents’ professional backgrounds.  

“My mum is an amazing nurse and dad is a successful engineer. They heavily influenced me and I was into science and mathematics from a young age. When I was deciding on a career, I followed what I was good at to fulfil my ambition in scientific research.”  

In 2010, Jae received a Bachelor of Biocellular Engineering With Honours from the University of Melbourne. After a short work experience internship at the Samsung Advanced Institute of Technology in South Korea, he started his doctoral studies at Monash University under the supervision of Dr. Steven Petratos (who was a recipient of funding from the Trish Foundation as part of the inaugural funding round in 2002). Jae currently works in a team with Dr. Petratos, two research assistants and two other PhD students.  

Jae received funding from The Trish Foundation in 2013 for his Postgraduate Scholarship entitled Targeting the molecular mechanisms of axonal degeneration and de-remyelination in multiple sclerosis.  

He explains more about the research project: “Our team have already shown that during MS and MS-like model, there is an alteration in protein called CRMP-2. By inhibiting this alteration of CRMP-2 during MS-like animal model, we showed that it is possible to halt nerve fibre being degenerate. We are going to extend our study to be translated into clinics by applying novel genetic technology and stem cells to effectively deliver this approach as a therapy during disease.”  

Like many MS researchers, Jae’s interest in research projects in this area is driven by the search for a cure.  

“During my bachelor degree, I was very interested in neurodegenerative diseases, particularly MS. I extended my studies by taking a project related to neurodegenerative disease during my honours. From then, I realised even though there are more people diagnosed with MS every day, there is no effective cure yet. This pushed me towards MS research and I was very lucky to meet my supervisor who is such a brilliant MS researcher, Dr. Petratos.”  

Jae’s usual day at work is from 9am to 8pm in the lab and, after hours, he reads journal articles related to MS research to ensure he is updated on developments in the area. These long hours may explain why he confesses that we’d find him “enjoying drinking a nice cup of coffee” in his spare time! He also enjoys travelling around rural areas of Australia when his schedule permits a break.  

His ultimate goal as an MS researcher is “to fully understand the mechanism behind nerve fibre damage during MS, by combining cutting-edge engineering technology and integral biology.”  

We certainly have Mr and Mrs Lee to thank for Jae’s decision to focus his professional career on better understanding MS and, ultimately, joining fellow researchers who are dedicated to finding a cure.      

Trish Foundation & MS Research Australia Working together to find a cure for MS
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