ICKSMCB 2019 / 2019 International Conference of the Korean Society for Molecular and Cellular Biology / September 17(Mon)-19(Wed), 2019 / COEX, Seoul, Korea

Award Lecture

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KSMCB Award for Women in Life Science Lecture

October 2 (Wed), 16:10-16:50, Rm. 401

Chair: Hyeseong Cho, Ph.D. (Department of Biochemistry, Ajou University School of Medicine, Korea)

Nuclear Receptor RORa: A key metabolic regulator in the progression of nonalcoholic fatty liver diseases

Mi-Ock Lee, Ph.D.
College of Pharmacy, Seoul National University, Korea

Mi-Ock Lee studies action mechanisms of hormone nuclear receptors, key regulators of endocrine physiology and pathophysiology of metabolic diseases. Nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), a disease stage characterized by increased oxidative stress and lipotoxicity, leads to cellular injury and chronic inflammation. Mi-Ock Lee's group discovered that the retinoic acid-related orphan receptor a (RORa) has a protective function against NASH. They demonstrated that RORa is a regulator of mitochondrial quality control in response to metabolic input. They also showed that RORa regulates M1/M2 polarization in hepatic residential Kupffer cells and identified maresin 1, a specialized pro-resolving mediator, as an endogenous ligand of RORa. Importantly, the function of RORa is controlled by a synthetic ligand, JC1-40, which improved symptoms of NASH in mice. Her research contributes to understanding molecular pathophysiology of NASH, which may provide better therapeutic strategies against this disease.

Mi-Ock Lee is currently a Professor of College of Pharmacy at the Seoul National University and she has led the "BioLipids Interactomics Research Center" as a Director since 2017. She earned her PhD in Pharmacology from the University of Minnesota, USA in 1992. Since Dr. Lee has started her own research career at the Yonsei University School of Medicine in 1996, she has over 120 refereed publications and 10 patents. She received the Macrogen Woman Scientist Award (2015), SNU Research Award (2016), and LOREAL-UNESCO Woman Scientist Award (2019).