Soo Chan Lee, Ph.D.
Areas of Specialization
- Fungal Morphogenesis
- Host-Pathogen Interactions
- Medical Mycology
Ph.D. in Plant Pathology (Mycology emphasis); Texas A&M University
M.S. in Microbiology; Kyung Hee University, Seoul, South Korea
B. S. in Biology; Kyung Hee University, Seoul, South Korea
Dr. Lee's lab studies a broad range of fungi that pose serious threats to public health. In particular, one of the research goals is to elucidate the interactions between hosts and human pathogenic fungi, which will subsequently contribute to the development of therapeutic options. His research takes advantage of the Mucor dimorphism as a tool to elucidate fungal pathogenesis and host responses against life-threatening fungal infections. Another goal is to define the roles of the enteric mycobiota (fungi in the GI tract) in eating disorders. This could provide information for better understanding of the etiology and novel factors associated with eating disorders, which would facilitate the development of innovation and improved treatment options.
Mucormycosis caused by fungi in the order Mucorales is an opportunistic fungal infection recently recognized as an emerging infectious disease. Dr. Lee's research involves studying the host-pathogen interface. Mucor is a dimorphic fungus and the different morphogenic stages (spores/hyphae vs. yeast) result in different hostpathogen interactions. The key question is: What difference(s) between spores and yeast makes hosts respond differently? The lab's goal is to identify key virulence factors conserved in mucormycosis fungi, which enable the fungi to escape innate immunity. Another research goal is to define the roles of the enteric mycobiota in GI tract diseases and eating disorders. Dr. Lee's research will elucidate the dynamics of the fungal population in the gut of patients with GI tract diseases such as inflammatory bowel diseases or irritable bowel syndrome.