Penn Medicine Neuropathologist Receives Doris Duke Grant to Study Brain Disorders

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chromsomeEdward B. Lee, M.D., Ph.D, an assistant professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine in the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, has received a three-year Clinical Scientist Development Award (CSDA) for $486,000 from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation to support his research in frontotemporal lobar degeneration and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).
Lee heads the Translational Neuropathology Research Laboratory, which aims to understand the root causes of neurodegenerative diseases — such as Alzheimer’s disease, frontotemporal lobar dementia and amyotrphic lateral sclerosis (ALS, or Lou Gehrig’s disease) — to develop specific disease-modifying therapies. The lab employs an interdisciplinary approach to address the mechanisms of neurodegeneration, using and developing such cutting-edge techniques as high-resolution, multi-spectral, three-dimensional confocal imaging and next-generation sequencing. The laboratory comprises as collaborative group of researchers led by Eddie Lee, assistant professor in the division of neuropathology in the department of pathology and laboratory medicine.

This award will allow Lee to study a mutation in the C9orf72 gene, the most common genetic cause of frontotemporal degeneration and ALS. With collaborators at the Center for Neurodegenerative Disease Research, the ALS Center at Pennsylvania Hospital, and the PENN FTD Center, Lee will determine how epigenetic modifications of C9orf72 affect disease pathogenesis.

Lee earned his medical degree and a doctorate in 2005 from the Perelman School of Medicine and completed his Anatomic Pathology residency and his Neuropathology fellowship at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. He is also the recipient of the 2012 Excellence in Science Award from the American Society for Investigative Pathology.

The CSDA funds physician-scientists who are forming their own research teams and allows them to dedicate 75 percent of their professional time to clinical research. Since 1998, the Doris Duke Foundation has awarded 235 CSDAs, with 17 recipients this year.

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