Graduate Certificate in Research Management and Commercialisation, Faculty of Business, UNSW 2009
BSc/BA, Victoria University of Wellington, NZ 1999
Dr Lee is a Senior Research Officer in the Eating Disorders Group at the Garvan Institute of Medical Research.
2018 - NHMRC Project Grant: Application Title: Central control of energy partitioning
2017 - Australia and New Zealand Bone and Mineral Society (ANZBMS) mid-career gap fellowship $20,000
2016 - Diabetes Australia project grant (DART) $60,000
2019 Best Poster Prize, 12th International NPY-PYY PP Meeting, July 30 2019, Edmonton, Canada
2018 Australia and New Zealand Bone and Mineral Society (ANZBMS) Sol Posen Research Award $1,000
2016 Amgen-ANZBMS Outstanding Abstract Award, ESA/SRB/ANZBMS joint meeting, Gold Coast, Australia
2009 Roger Melick Young Investigator Award, Joint IBMS/ANZBMS Scientific Meeting, 21-25th March, Sydney, Australia
2008 ANZBMS Travel Grant to attend the 18th Annual Meeting of the ANZBMS, 28-30 August, Melbourne, Australia
2007 Commercialisation Training Scheme Scholarship for Graduate Certificate in Research Management and Commercialisation, UNSW
2007 Australian Stem Cell Centre Conference and Travel Grant to attend the International Society of Stem Cell Research (ISSCR) 5th Annual Meeting, 17-20 June 2007, Cairns, Australia
2006 Dora Lush Biomedical Postgraduate Scholarship, NHMRC
1998 Summer Research Scholarship, Australian National University
My research focuses on elucidating the neuropeptide pathways that regulate energy partitioning into fat and bone mass, to provide potential therapeutic avenues for individuals affected by both obesity and bone loss. Osteoporosis, obesity and diabetes are increasingly common as well as inter-related, and are in urgent need of more effective therapies. I have a strong belief in the view that furthering our understanding of complex diseases requires a multi-system approach. Throughout my career, my work has been focused on combining expertise across multiple disciplines and has made remarkable insights into our knowledge of the interactions between the brain, bone and metabolism.
My initial studies centered around the powerful NPY signaling pathways that integrate bone homeostasis with whole body energy and glucose balance. Exploring this entirely new paradigm of skeletal biology, I identified osteoglycin as a novel endocrine factor released from bone tissue which acts to regulate and integrate bone formation with glucose homeostasis. This discovery points to the importance of a new level of endocrine communication, acting between organ systems, and also reveals the skeleton as an origin of multiple signals that regulate energy and glucose homeostasis. The findings have revealed potential new methods for controlling bone mass, as well as fat mass and blood sugar levels and they represent a unique, cross-disciplinary approach with important implications for our understanding of the interconnectedness of whole-body homeostasis.
More recently, my work has also focused on elucidating pathways that regulate energy partitioning with the overall aim of driving energy usage into the production of bone instead of fat. The predominant tissue to store excess energy is fat. However, increases in fat mass consequently lead to increases in body weight necessitating the readjustment of the skeleton to provide the necessary structural support to carry the extra weight. Deregulation of such processes has detrimental effects on the body leading to increased risk of fractures and immobility. While the concept of this regulation is known, the underlying mechanisms are not.