Skip to main content
Explore URMC
menu

Yi-Fen Lee, Ph.D.

Contact Information

Phone Numbers

Office: (585) 275-9702

Research Labs

Faculty Appointments

Biography

My lab is studying extracellular vesicles (EVs), often called exosomes, for their roles in cancer development, progression and response to treatment, with a focus on Urology cancers such as bladder and prostate cancers.

This is a relatively new and exciting area of research: small vesicles, in size ranging from 30-250 nm, are secreted by almost all types of cells and contain bio-information (such as DNA, RNA and proteins) resembling the cells of origins. They travel distances via circulation, and can be taken up by recipient cells, consequently affecting their behavior. The genetic and molecular contents of EVs can become an attractive resource of biomarkers for prediction of disease and response to therapy.

In my lab, we have isolated EVs from cancer cell lines and urine and blood of patients with bladder cancer at different stages. Via miRNA array, gene array, and proteomics, we are aiming to identify the signature protein profiles that can be used for disease prognosis. Through the CRISPR/Cas9 gene editing system, we have attempted to inhibit cancer growth by targeting EV biogenesis pathways in cancer cells.

We are also studying potential involvement of EV secretion in response to two treatments that often apply in bladder cancer: BCG immunotherapy for superficial bladder cancer, and cisplatin chemotherapy for muscle invasive bladder cancer. Since the EVs are quite small - the size of a virus - we utilize the Nanosight nanoparticle tracking system, which allow us to trace and monitor EVs based on the Brownian motion of each single particle in a real time manner. In collaborations with URMC investigators, in addition to our participation in the SWOG S1602 clinical trial, we’ve started to collect and analyze patients’ urine- and blood-borne EV profiles before, during, and after therapy. Our goal is to establish rapid body fluid biopsy assays that can be used as indicators of patients’ responsiveness to therapy. The molecular/genetic contents within EVs from each individual patient could provide an opportunity to develop precision, personalized medicine in the future.

Yi-Fen Lee, Ph.D.
Yi-Fen Lee, Ph.D.
Principal Investigator

Research

My lab is studying extracellular vesicles (EVs), often called exosomes, for their roles in cancer development, progression and response to treatment, with a focus on Urology cancers such as bladder and prostate cancers.

This is a relatively new and exciting area of research: small vesicles, in size ranging from 30-250 nm, are secreted by almost all types of cells and contain bio-information (such as DNA, RNA and proteins) resembling the cells of origins. They travel distances via circulation, and can be taken up by recipient cells, consequently affecting their behavior. The genetic and molecular contents of EVs can become an attractive resource of biomarkers for prediction of disease and response to therapy.

In my lab, we have isolated EVs from cancer cell lines and urine and blood of patients with bladder cancer at different stages. Via miRNA array, gene array, and proteomics, we are aiming to identify the signature protein profiles that can be used for disease prognosis. Through the CRISPR/Cas9 gene editing system, we have attempted to inhibit cancer growth by targeting EV biogenesis pathways in cancer cells.

We are also studying potential involvement of EV secretion in response to two treatments that often apply in bladder cancer: BCG immunotherapy for superficial bladder cancer, and cisplatin chemotherapy for muscle invasive bladder cancer. Since the EVs are quite small - the size of a virus - we utilize the Nanosight nanoparticle tracking system, which allow us to trace and monitor EVs based on the Brownian motion of each single particle in a real time manner. In collaborations with URMC investigators, in addition to our participation in the SWOG S1602 clinical trial, we’ve started to collect and analyze patients’ urine- and blood-borne EV profiles before, during, and after therapy. Our goal is to establish rapid body fluid biopsy assays that can be used as indicators of patients’ responsiveness to therapy. The molecular/genetic contents within EVs from each individual patient could provide an opportunity to develop precision, personalized medicine in the future.

Yi-Fen Lee, Ph.D.
Yi-Fen Lee, Ph.D.
Principal Investigator

Credentials

Education

1986
BS | Tung-Hai University
Biology

1988
MS | Tung-Hai University
Biology

1997
PhD | Univ Wisconsin-Madison
Endocrinology/Molecular Oncology

Post-doctoral Training & Residency

1997 - 2001
Post-Doctoral Fellow, Department of Pathology

1997 - 2002
Lab Manager, Department of Pathology

Awards

2006 - Present
Research Scholar
Sponsor: American Cancer Society

2003 - 2005
Edwin Beer Fellowship Award
Sponsor: New York Academy of Medicine

2002
Cap CURE Award, Third Prize
Sponsor: AUA

VIEW ALL expand_more

Publications

Journal Articles

10/9/2021
Chung WM, Molony RD, Lee YF. "Non-stem bladder cancer cell-derived extracellular vesicles promote cancer stem cell survival in response to chemotherapy." Stem cell research & therapy.. 2021 Oct 9; 12(1):533. Epub 2021 Oct 09.

9/25/2021
Silvers CR, Messing EM, Miyamoto H, Lee YF. "Tenascin-C expression in the lymph node pre-metastatic niche in muscle-invasive bladder cancer." British journal of cancer.. 2021 Sep 25; Epub 2021 Sep 25.

3/11/2020
Lai GR, Lee YF, Yan SJ, Ting HJ. "Active vitamin D induced gene-specific hypomethylation in prostate cancer cells developing vitamin D resistance." American journal of physiology. Cell physiology.. 2020 Mar 11; Epub 2020 Mar 11.

VIEW ALL PUBLICATIONS