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James Lee, MD

Parker Bridge Fellow


James Lee, MD, is a physician-scientist focused on basic and translational research in cancer immunotherapy. Through his training thus far, he has developed significant research experience investigating the primary tolerogenic mechanisms of immunotherapy resistance relevant to both chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cell and checkpoint inhibitor treatment modalities. He received early, rigorous translational research training when he was awarded a Yale medical student research fellowship to work with Drs. Renier Brentjens and Michel Sadelain at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. He designed one of the first preclinical murine models that studied the in vivo behavior of CAR-T cells in the intact immune system and the results contributed to the rational design of FDA-approved CAR-T cell products. Currently, he is studying cancer immunotherapy resistance in the setting of liver metastasis with Drs. Jeffrey Bluestone and Adil Daud at UCSF, dissecting the mechanism which enable cancer cells to apparently hijack the liver-tolerance machinery to suppress antitumor T cell response throughout the body. He believes well-designed preclinical modeling is essential for impactful discoveries and has concentrated his training efforts to hone the knowledge and skills to develop animal models that capture real-life clinical observations. As a translational researcher and oncologist in cutaneous oncology, he plans to leverage advanced preclinical models and parallel patient sample analysis to expand his training and understanding of cancer immunotherapy resistance due to metastasis induced systemic immune suppression.  

Education & Training

  • 2017: University of California, San Francisco, Fellowship, Hematology and Oncology
  • 2012: Mount Sinai Health System, Residency, Internal Medicine
  • 2009: Yale School of Medicine, MS, Cancer Immunology
  • 2009: Yale School of Medicine, MD

Awards & Honors

  • 2019 - 2021: Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy Project Award
  • 2017 - 2020: A.P. Giannini Fellowship Award
  • 2016 - 2017: NIH Immunology T32 
  • 2008 - 2009: American Cancer Society of Connecticut Research Award 
  • 2007 - 2008: Farr Scholar Award for Leadership and Excellence in Biomedical Research, Yale University 
  • 2006 - 2007: American Society of Hematology Trainee Award 
  • 2006 - 2007: American Medical Association Seed Grant