Dr. Lee obtained his Ph.D. from the Department of Biomedical Engineering at University of Cincinnati in 2009. His graduate school research focused on studying the assembly mechanism of the Phi29 DNA packaging motor, and nano-scale conversion into functional Nano medicinal device for cancer therapy as a member of NIH Nanomedicine Development Center. The series of studies had provided a fundamental idea of how to engineer viral components, especially viral pRNA and ATPase gp16, for future application into nanotechnology and nanomedicine. Before his Ph.D., Dr. Lee finished his degrees of B.S. and M.S. in Biology and Virology at Sogang University in South Korea in 1998 and 2000, respectively, then worked for LG Life Sciences Co. Ltd., the largest research-based pharmaceutical company in Korea, as a research scientist in the Division of Drug Development and Analysis, until 2004. He studied non-coding RNA and microRNA biology in human cancers during his postdoctoral training in Dr. Carlo M. Croce’s laboratory in the Comprehensive Cancer Center at the Ohio State University since 2010.


Graduate School
University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, OH (Biomedical Engineering)
Ohio State University, Columbus, OH (Cancer Genetics and Biology)

Areas of Interest

Research Interests

Dr. Lee has focused on basic and translational studies on a role of deregulated microRNAs in tumorigenesis and developing a strategy to treat brain tumors using cutting edge RNA-based nanoparticles. Brain tumors are the second-leading cause of cancer-related death with limited options of treatment. My research mainly involves novel nanoparticle based on pRNA derived from the DNA packaging motor of bacteriophage Phi29 for successful delivery of therapeutic microRNAs into brain tumors. I developed a new RNA nanoparticle loaded with various siRNA or microRNA by engineering pRNA from phi29, and further modified them to fit for tumor cell recognition, internalization and delivery of cargo RNA molecule. First batch of RNA nanoparticle has shown to successfully penetrate the blood brain barrier and deliver a cargo siRNA of Luciferase reporter gene in mice model system bearing intracranial tumor, provided a proof-of-concept for efficient delivery of therapeutic RNAs for the treatment of brain tumors. When the anti-miR-21 carrying RNA nanoparticles were systemically administered, growth of glioblastoma xenograft in mouse brain was significantly reduced through reactivation of multiple tumor suppressors released from suppression by the elevated miR-21. The series of work was published in peer-reviewed journals, Oncotarget, Methods in Molecular Biology and Molecular Therapy. I have also actively participated in several other studies that examined the role of oncogenic or tumor suppressive microRNAs in various type of human cancers, which were published in well-known peer-reviewed journals including Cancer Cell, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), Journal of Experimental Medicine, Clinical Cancer Research, and Oncotarget. Dr. Lee has a long-term goal in his research to make a visible impact on the development of reliable strategy for cancer therapy by reprograming deregulated microRNAs in cancer patients by designing novel and innovative RNA nanoparticles that can be applied to future human clinical trials.



  1. Jaime-Ramirez AC, Yu JG, Caserta E, Yoo JY, Zhang J, Lee TJ, Hofmeister C, Lee JH, Kumar B, Pan Q, Kumar P, Baiocchi R, Teknos T, Pichiorri F, Kaur B, Old M. Reolysin and Histone Deacetylase Inhibition in the Treatment of Head and Neck Squamous Cell Carcinoma. Molecular Therapy Oncolytics. (2017)
  2. Lee JY, Park JH, Shin DH, Choi HJ, Won HY, Lee TJ, Croce CM, Kong G. LSD1 Triggers Interplay between Demethylation and Dehydroxylation of HIF1α Protein. Oncogene. (2017)
  3. Ahn J, Park YJ, Chen P, Lee TJ, Jeon YJ, Croce CM, Suh S, Hwang S, Kwon WS, Pang MG, Kim CH, Lee SS, Lee K. Comparative expression profiling of testis-enriched genes regulated during the development of testis. PLoS One. (2017) 12(4):e0175787.
  4. Lee TJ, Yoo JY, Shu D, Li H, Zhang J, Yu JG, Jaime-Ramirez AC, Acunzo M, Romano G, Cui R, Sun HL, Luo Z, Old M, Kaur B, Guo P, Croce CM. RNA nanoparticle based targeted therapy for glioblastoma through inhibition of oncogenic miR-21. Molecular Therapy. (2017). (Epub ahead of print)
  5. Sun HL, Cui R, Zhou J, Teng KY, Hsiao YH, Nakanishi K, Fassan M, Luo Z, Shi G, Tili E, Kutay H, Lovat F, Vicentini C, Huang HL, Wang SW, Kim T, Zanesi N, Jeon YJ, Lee TJ, Guh JH, Hung MC, Ghoshal K, Teng CM, Peng Y, Croce CM. ERK Activation Globally Downregulates miRNAs through Phosphorylating Exportin-5. Cancer Cell. (2016) 30(5):723-736.
  6. Yoo JY, Jaime-Ramirez AC, Bolyard C, Dai H, Nallanagulagari T, Wojton J, Hurwitz BS, Relation T, Lee TJ, Lotze MT, Yu JG, Zhang J, Croce CM, Yu J, Caligiuri MA, Old M, Kaur B. Bortezomib Treatment Sensitizes Oncolytic HSV-1-Treated Tumors to NK Cell Immunotherapy. Clinical Cancer Research. (2016) 22(21):5265-527
  7. Chung S, Lee TJ, Reader BF, Kim JY, Lee YG, Park GY, Karpurapu M, Ballinger MN, Qian F, Rusu L, Chung HY, Unterman TG, Croce CM, Christman JW, FoxO1 regulates allergic asthmatic inflammation through regulating polarization of the macrophage inflammatory phenotype. Oncotarget. (2016). 7(14):17532-46
  8. Cui R, Meng W, Sun HL, Kim T, Ye Z, Fassan M, Jeon YJ, Li B, Vicentini C, Peng Y,Lee TJ, Luo Z, Liu L, Xu D, Tili E, Jin V, Middleton J, Chakravarti A, Lautenschlaeger T, Croce CM., MicroRNA-224 promotes tumor progression in nonsmall cell lung cancer. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences U S A. (2015) 112(31):E4288-97.
  9. LeeTJ, Haque F, Vieweger M, Yoo JY, Kaur B, Guo P, Croce CM., Functional assays for specific targeting and delivery of RNA nanoparticles to brain tumor. Methods in Molecular Biology. (2015)1297:137-52.
  10. LeeTJ, Haque F, Shu D, Yoo JY, Li H, Yokel RA, Horbinski C, Kim TH, Kim SH, Kwon CH, Nakano I, Kaur B, Guo P, Croce CM., RNA nanoparticle as a vector for targeted siRNA delivery into glioblastoma mouse model. Oncotarget. (2015) 6(17):14766-76.
  11. Kim T,Cui RJeon YJLee JHLee JHSim HPark JKFadda PTili ENakanishi HHuh MIKim SHCho JHSung BHPeng YLee TJLuo ZSun HLWei HAlder HOh JSShim KSKo SB, and Croce C. M., Long-range interaction and correlation between MYC enhancer and oncogenic long noncoding RNA CARLo-5. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences U S A. (2014) 111(11):4173-8.
  12. Peng Y,Dai YHitchcock CYang XKassis ESLiu LLuo ZSun HLCui RWei HKim TLee TJJeon YJNuovo GJVolinia SHe QYu JNana-Sinkam P, and Croce C. M., Insulin growth factor signaling is regulated by microRNA-486, an underexpressed microRNA in lung cancer. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences U S A. (2013) 110(37):15043-8.
  13. Suh, S., Yoo, J., Nuovo, G., Jeon, Y., Kim, S., Lee, T., Kim, T., Bakàcs, A., Alder, H, Kaur, B., Aqeilana, R., Pichiorri, F., and Croce, C. M., MicroRNAs/TP53 feedback circuitry in glioblastoma multiforme, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences U S A. (2012) 109(14):5316-5321.
  14. Kim, T., Veronese, A., Pichiorri, F., Lee, T., Jeon, Y., Volinia, S., Pineau, P., Marchio, A., Palatini, J., Suh, S., Alder, H., Liu, C., Dejean, A. and Croce C. M., p53 regulates epithelial–mesenchymal transition through microRNAs targeting ZEB1 and ZEB2, Journal of Experimental Medicine (2011) 208(5):875-83.
  15. Lee, T., Zhang, H. Chang, C., Savran C. and Guo, P., Engineering of Fluorescent Energy Conversion Arm of Phi29 DNA Packaging Motor for Single Molecule Studies, Small (2009) 21, 2453-2459.
  16. Wendell, D., Jing, P., Geng, J., Subramarium, V., Lee, T., Montemagno, C. and Guo, P., Double-stranded DNA translocation through a novel phi29 motor-based pore incorporated in lipid membranes, Nature Nanotechnology. (2009) 11, 765-772.
  17. Lee, T., Schwartz, C. and Guo, P., Construction of Bacteriophage Phi29 DNA Packaging Motor and Its Applications in Nanotechnology and Therapy, Annals of Biomedical Engineering. (2009) 10, 2064-2081.
  18. Lee, T., Zhang, H., Liang D. and Guo, P., Strand and nucleotide-dependent ATPase activity of gp16 of bacterial virus phi29 DNA packaging motor, Virology (2008) 380, 69-74.
  19. Guo, P. and Lee, T., Viral nanomotors for packaging of dsDNA and dsRNA, Molecular Microbiology (2007) 64(4), 886–903, Review.
  20. Lee, T. and Guo, P., Interaction of gp16 with pRNA and DNA for genome packaging by the motor of bacterial virus phi29, Journal of Molecular Biology (2006) 356(3):589-599.



BOOK CHAPTERS                                                                                                                   

  1. Lee TJ, Croce CM., Cancer Genetics and Genomics for Personalized Medicine. MicroRNAs in Human Cancers. Pan Stanford Publishing. (2017) Chapter 12.
  2. Guo, P., Hall, J. and Lee, T., Mathematical approaches for stoichiometric quantification in studies of viral assembly and DNA packaging, Structure-based study of viral replication, World Scientific Publishing (2008) Chapter 15, 401-448.