Understanding how cells are dysregulated in cardiovascular disease and related pathologies will help in the development of new therapeutics to combat disease and improve quality of life.
The Vascular Complications Group focuses on the development of atherosclerosis and cardiovascular disease (CVD), with particular emphasis on gene regulation and aberrant cell proliferation and cell death. We have identified a new player in the development of vascular disease; the role of TRAIL (TNF-related apoptosis-inducing ligand) in atherosclerosis and arterial thickening, both in vitro and in vivo using Trail-/- and Trail-/-Apoe-/- mice has already provided critical insights into cell survival and death, in the normal and diseased vessel wall, and opened up new opportunities for therapeutic intervention. Using unique models the Vascular Complications Group’s current research is focused on answering critical questions and exploring underlying mechanisms into vascular diseases, obesity, diabetes and kidney disease.
This work focuses on the role of blood cells or leukocytes in the development of atherosclerosis. We ask the question “Can we modulating or manipulate the phenotype and function of leukocytes to improve atherosclerosis”. We are also trying to understand the protective abilities of TRAIL during disease.
This project focuses on the role of TRAIL in ischaemia-induced blood vessel development in vivo. Here we trying to understand the role of endothelial cells and smooth muscle cells in new blood vessel development depend on TRAIL signaling. We are currently comparing outcomes of TRAIL therapy with other therapies currently tested in clinical trials in people for peripheral artery disease.
Indirect evidence suggests that TRAIL regulates insulin expression and secretion. This work focuses on directly assessing whether TRAIL controls insulin expression and secretion at a molecular level, and how/why this is altered during diabetes.
Originally from Christchurch, New Zealand, Bob Lee has experienced the research environment on both sides of the Tasman Sea. But while his life is currently in Sydney, Australia where the HRI is based, the ties to home remain strong for Bob.
Sydney Medical School Early Career Research Grant 2015
Finalist for the Junior Investigator Award for Women for ATVB May 2015
Presented in the ATVB Young Investigator session at the American Heart Association Meeting Chicago, Nov 2014
Awarded a HRI Award 2014
Ian Potter Foundation Travel Award 2013
Australian Vascular Biology Society Travel Award 2013
Presented with an Exceptional Abstract Award at the International Vascular Biology Society Meeting Japan 2013