DBI's Lee named AAAS Fellow
Kelvin Lee, center, has been elected a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.


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10:20 a.m., Feb. 4, 2011----Kelvin Lee, Gore Professor of Chemical Engineering and director of the Delaware Biotechnology Institute (DBI) at the University of Delaware, has been elected a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).

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Designation as an AAAS fellow is an honor bestowed upon members by their peers. Lee and the other new fellows will be recognized for their contributions to science and technology during the AAAS Fellow Forum at the association's annual meeting in Washington, D.C., Feb. 19.

Lee was selected for “distinguished contributions to the development and application of proteomics technology to human health.”

Proteomics is an approach to the analysis of proteins expressed in living systems. It is currently of interest because of technology developed over the past decade that enables researchers to generate a protein “fingerprint” for different tissues, allowing researchers like Lee to distinguish unique features of disease at the molecular level.

Lee's research team has been at the forefront of developing next generation tools for protein expression profiling and applying existing tools to specific problems in biomolecular engineering and medicine, with a special emphasis on Alzheimer's disease.

“Our Alzheimer's efforts have led to the first validated premortem test for the diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease based on spinal fluid proteins,” explains Lee.

“Using a proteomics approach to study changes in protein expression in cerebrospinal fluid, we identified a panel of biomarkers useful for the diagnosis of the disease in living individuals, a previously unmet challenge because a definitive diagnosis must await postmortem confirmation.”

In close collaboration with clinicians, Lee's group has extended this approach to the assessment of a passive immunization strategy for the treatment of Alzheimer's disease which has shown significant promise in early clinical trials.

Lee's team studies changes occurring in proteins in the central nervous system to provide evidence of the disease modifying effect of treatment in cerebrospinal fluid protein expression.

“I am very pleased to see Kelvin receive this prestigious and well-deserved honor,” says Michael Chajes, dean of UD's College of Engineering. “At UD, he has proven to be an outstanding leader of the Delaware Biotechnology Institute, a world-class researcher in technology for diagnosing Alzheimer's disease and an outstanding mentor and advisor of students. I am glad to see AAAS recognize him for the leadership role he has taken in combining chemical engineering with the life sciences.”

"It is humbling to be elected as an AAAS Fellow,” adds Lee. “The honor is a reflection of a good amount of hard work by creative students, a little bit of luck and a lot of interactions with great collaborators and mentors over the years."

Lee came to UD in 2007 after spending 10 years on the faculty at Cornell University. He holds a doctorate in chemical engineering, with a minor in biology, from the California Institute of Technology. The minor in biology reflects Lee's interest in the life sciences and his focus on medical applications of chemical engineering research. He earned his bachelor's in chemical engineering from Princeton University in 1991.

Article by Karen B. Roberts
Photo by Evan Krape