Jean C. Lee, PhD


Dr. Lee received her Ph.D. in Microbiology from the University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio. After completing a postdoctoral fellowship with Dr. Gail Cassell at the University of Alabama in Birmingham, she joined the faculty at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School. Her research is focused on the pathogenesis of infections caused by the bacterial pathogen Staphylococcus aureus. Dr. Lee’s laboratory has characterized the capsular polysaccharides produced by S. aureus, their biosynthesis, function, regulation, and contributions to virulence. A major focus of her research has been the development and preclinical evaluation of novel S. aureus vaccine candidates in rodent models of staphylococcal disease, including bioconjugate vaccines, toxin-based vaccines, and genetically engineered membrane vesicle-based vaccines. Extracellular vesicles (EVs) represent a novel S. aureus secretory system that allows the delivery of biologically active pore-forming toxins and other virulence determinants to host cells. Dr. Lee’s recent studies reveal a previously unknown role of S. aureus EVs in the activation of human macrophage NLRP3 inflammasomes and highlight the important role of vesicle-associated toxins and lipoproteins in staphylococcal pathogenesis.