Justin Lee Lab


About the Lab

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Justin Lee, M.D., Ph.D. — Principal Investigator, Lee Lab; Assistant Professor for the Department of Neurosurgery

Injuries to the central nervous system (CNS) such as spinal cord injury (SCI), traumatic brain injury (TBI), and stroke often result in devastating physical, psychosocial, and economic outcomes. In response to these injuries, the CNS exhibits limited regenerative potential, which limits long-term recovery in these patients.  Administration of human stem cell-derived extracellular vesicles (EVs), including exosomes, has emerged as a promising therapeutic strategy to enhance the intrinsic remodeling of the remaining neuronal circuitry to compensate for lost and damaged cells.

The Lee laboratory focuses on understanding the molecular mechanisms underlying the therapeutic effects of human stem cell-derived EVs in preclinical models of CNS injury such as SCI and stroke. We then apply this knowledge via genetic engineering of stem cell-derived EVs to enhance therapeutic potency. The lab aims to translate these advances into patients that have suffered CNS injury and are in urgent need of effective treatments.

Current projects

  • Development of novel ex vivo and mouse models of SCI and stroke
  • Evaluation of EV potency by parent stem cell source (e.g. neuronal-, mesenchymal-, and microglial-derived EVs)
  • Identification of therapeutic targets downstream of EV treatment via transcriptomics
  • Genetic engineering of stem cell-derived EVs to modulate promising therapeutic targets

Contact Us


Justin Lee, M.D., Ph.D.
Principal Investigator

Peter Cserjesi
Lab Manager/Research Assistant