FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE | December 10, 2009

University of Chicago chemist receives Astellas Award for Alzheimer’s, neonatal research

WASHINGTON, Dec. 10, 2009 — Ka Yee Lee, Ph. D., a professor of chemistry at the University of Chicago, has been chosen to receive a 2009 Astellas USA Foundation Award. The award, administered by the American Chemical Society, is given to individuals who have made significant scientific research contributions that improve public health through their work in the chemical and related sciences.

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Doug Dollemore


The award includes a $30,000 grant to support her continuing research efforts.

Lee has worked to unravel the mechanisms involved in the accumulation of beta-amyloid deposits in the brain. These accumulations are associated with development and progression of Alzheimer’s disease, the seventh leading cause of death in the United States. In addition, she has investigated the mechanical role of substances in the lungs that reduce surface tension and prevent the collapse of air sacs in the these vital organs. She also has worked to improve formulations for the treatment of neonatal respiratory distress syndrome, a common complication of premature birth.

Lee received her Sc.B. from Brown University and her Ph.D. from Harvard University. She has been affiliated with the University of Chicago since 1998.