Jae Lee, Postgraduate Research
Scholar funded by the Trish Foundation 2013-2015
do you want to be when you grow up?”
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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
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
many MS researchers, Jae’s interest in research projects in this area is driven
by the search for a cure.
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.”
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