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Lee named Stupp Professor of Neurology

Physician-scientist recognized for work on stroke recovery

by Tamara BhandariMay 11, 2018

Mark Beaven

Stroke neurologist Jin-Moo Lee, MD, PhD, has been named the Norman J. Stupp Professor of Neurology at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. He studies how the brain “rewires” itself after injury to find ways to enhance recovery.

Lee was installed as the Stupp Professor by Chancellor Mark S. Wrighton and David H. Perlmutter, MD, executive vice chancellor for medical affairs and dean of the School of Medicine.

After a part of the brain is injured, the brain must rewire itself. How thoroughly a person recovers correlates with how well his or her brain rewires and moves functions from injured to uninjured areas. Lee studies the cellular and molecular processes underpinning rewiring the brain.

Also a professor of radiology, Lee uses imaging techniques to study the effect of stroke on the network of connections between brain areas. Different areas of the brain must cooperate for the brain to function properly, but injury can sever the links between distant areas. Sometimes the areas eventually reconnect. Lee is working on understanding how that occurs to find ways to encourage reconnection.

“Jin-Moo’s research provides fundamental insight into the genetic and molecular mechanisms that mediate stroke recovery,” said David Holtzman, MD, the Andrew B. and Gretchen P. Jones Professor and head of the Department of Neurology. “He is making great progress in translating these discoveries into treatments to help people who have suffered strokes.”

In addition to his research, Lee also has been instrumental in improving care for stroke patients as co-chief of the Stroke and Cerebrovascular Disease Center at Barnes-Jewish Hospital. He has worked to integrate patient care across the Barnes-Jewish network to allow smooth transitions from inpatient to rehab.

A dedicated mentor and educator, Lee has received multiple awards for teaching, including the Sven Eliasson Award for teaching excellence and the School of Medicine’s Clinical Teacher of the Year Award and Distinguished Educator Award.

Lee earned a bachelor’s degree in molecular biology and biophysics from Yale University in 1985, then a doctoral degree in neuroscience in 1992 and a medical degree in 1993 from Weill Cornell Medical College. Following a residency in neurology at the University of Pennsylvania, he came to the School of Medicine in 1997 to complete a fellowship in cerebrovascular disease and a postdoctoral research fellowship in neurology. He joined the faculty in 1999. He is an elected member of the American Neurology Association.

Lee is the fourth person to hold the Stupp professorship, following Eugene M. Johnson, PhD, who was named the inaugural Stupp professor in 1994; Maurizio Corbetta, MD, in 2005; and David Brody, MD, PhD, in 2016.

The Stupp professorship was created in 1994 through a gift from the Norman J. Stupp Foundation, which supports medical research and education programs. The foundation was established in 1952 by Norman Jacob Stupp and his wife, Marie. Norman, who died in 1979, graduated from the university in 1921 with a degree in civil engineering.

Washington University School of Medicine’s 1,300 faculty physicians also are the medical staff of Barnes-Jewish and St. Louis Children’s hospitals. The School of Medicine is a leader in medical research, teaching and patient care, ranking among the top 10 medical schools in the nation by U.S. News & World Report. Through its affiliations with Barnes-Jewish and St. Louis Children’s hospitals, the School of Medicine is linked to BJC HealthCare.