Dr John Lee

Senior Research Fellow

School of Biomedical Sciences
Faculty of Medicine

Senior Research Fellow

School of Biomedical Sciences
Faculty of Medicine
+61 7 336 52384


Dr Lee is a mid-career researcher with training in neuroscience, and additional experience in pharmacology and immunity. He completed his Ph.D. at the University of Queensland (UQ) in 2014 and continued his post-doctoral research studies in neuroinflammation and neurodegenerative diseases. He is currently a Senior Research Fellow and Group Leader at UQ's School of Biomedical Sciences, where he focusses on innate immune and inflammatory pathways including the complement system and inflammasomes in motor neuron disease (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis), Huntington’s disease, and Parkinson’s disease. Dr Lee’s research has demonstrated the therapeutic potential of multiple anti-inflammatory drugs targeting innate immune-mediated neuroinflammation to reduce neuronal cell death in animal models of neurodegenerative disease. He is also interested in the links between the immune system, stress response, and energy metabolism in neurodegeneration.

Research Interests

  • Neuroimmunology in neurodegenerative diseases
    We explore the involvement of innate immune cells in the pathogenesis of MND, HD, and PD to identify potential therapeutic targets. By elucidating the mechanisms underlying neuroinflammation, we aim to develop interventions that halt or slow disease progression.
  • Immunometabolism in neuroinflammation
    Our group investigates the metabolic capacity of innate immune cells within the central nervous system, including neutrophils, macrophages, microglia, and astrocytes. By understanding how alterations in cellular metabolism impact immune function, we aim to uncover new strategies for modulating neuroinflammatory responses.
  • Immune system – Stress response crosstalk
    We explore the intricate relationship between the immune system and the stress response, particularly its implications in neuropsychiatric disorders. By unravelling the molecular mechanisms underlying this crosstalk, we aim to identify new therapeutic targets for conditions such as depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
  • Immunosenescence and Neurological Aging
    Our group investigates the link between the immune system and aging within the context of neurological health. By studying age-related changes in immune function and their impact on brain health, we aim to develop interventions that promote healthy aging and mitigate age-related neurological disorders.


  • Doctor of Philosophy, The University of Queensland
  • Bachelor (Honours) of Science (Advanced), The University of Queensland


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  • Doctor Philosophy

  • Doctor Philosophy

  • Doctor Philosophy

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Available Projects

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Featured Publications

Book Chapter

  • Lee, John D., Lo, Martin W., Fung, Jenny N. T. and Woodruff, Trent M. (2022). Neuroinflammation in Huntington’s. Neurodegenerative Diseases Biomarkers. (pp. 215-233) edited by Philip V. Peplow, Bridget Martinez and Thomas A. Gennarelli. New York, NY, United States: Springer US. doi: 10.1007/978-1-0716-1712-0_9

  • Lee, John D., Lee, Jia Y., Taylor, Stephen M., Noakes, Peter G. and Woodruff, Trent M. (2012). Innate immunity in ALS. Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. (pp. 393-412) edited by Martin H. Maurer. Croatia: InTech - Open Access Publisher. doi: 10.5772/30341

Journal Article

Conference Publication

Other Outputs

Grants (Administered at UQ)

PhD and MPhil Supervision

Current Supervision

Completed Supervision

Possible Research Projects

Note for students: The possible research projects listed on this page may not be comprehensive or up to date. Always feel free to contact the staff for more information, and also with your own research ideas.