School of Medicine

Wayne State University School of Medicine


Menq-jer Lee, Ph.D.
Associate Professor

Department of Pathology 

9213 Scott Hall

540 East Canfield Ave.
Detroit, MI 48201


(313) 577-9473
Cancer and cardiovascular diseases
Administrative Contact
Christoper Harris
Phone: (313) 577-1018
Research Interests

Sphingolipids, signal transduction, GPCR, angiogenesis, vascular biology, EMT, and tumorgenesis.


Sphingosine-1-phosphate (S1P), a serum-borne bioactive lipid, regulates various biological functions. Dr. Lees laboratory has focused on characterizing S1P-mediated signaling pathways in vascular functions, inflammation, and tumorigenesis. Results from Dr. Lee and colleagues helped establish that the functions S1P are primarily mediated by the S1P family of G-protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs). Five S1P receptor subtypes (S1P1-S1P5) have been identified. S1P1, a Gi-coupled GPCR, regulates endothelial cytoskeletal architectures, chemotaxis, formation of adherens junctions and tight junctions, as well as morphogenic and angiogenic responses. Recent results of Dr. Lees group suggest that the balance of signaling cascades mediated by different S1P receptor subtypes play an important role in regulating physiological functions. Disturbance of this balance results in vascular dysfunction, inflammation, and tumorigenesis. Currently, Dr. Lee is investigating the molecular details of this coordinated regulation of S1P signaling mediated by distinct receptor subtypes in physiological as well as pathological conditions.


Ph.D. (1993): McGill University, Montreal, Canada

Postdoctoral Fellowship
1994-1996: The Holland Laboratory/American Red Cross, Rockville, MD, USA
1996-1999: University of Connecticut Health Science Center, Farmington, CT, USA


1. Lee JF, Gordon S, Estrada R, Wang L, Siow DL, Wattenberg BW, Lominadze D, and MJ Lee, 2009, Balance of S1P1 and S1P2 signaling regulates peripheral microvascular permeability in rat cremaster muscle vasculature, Am J Physiol Heart Circ Physiol, 296: H33-H42.

2. Estrada R, Wang L, Jala VR, Lee JF, Lin CY, Gray RD, Haribabu B, and MJ Lee, 2009, Ligand-induced nuclear translocation of S1P(1) receptors mediates Cyr61 and CTGF transcription in endothelial cells, Histochem Cell Biol, 131: 239-51.

3. MA Eskan, BG Rose, MR Benakanakere, MJ Lee, and DF Kinane, 2008, Sphingosine 1-phosphate 1 and TLR4 mediate IFN- expression in human gingival epithelial cells, J Immunol, 180: 1818-25.

4. Estrada R, Zeng Q, Lu H, Sarojini H, Lee JF, Mathis SP, Sanchez T, Wang E, Kontos CD, Lin CY, Hla T, Haribabu B, and MJ Lee, 2008, Up-regulating sphingosine-1-phosphate receptor-2 signaling impairs chemotactic, wound-healing, and morphogenetic responses in senescent endothelial cells, J Biol Chem, 283: 30363-75.

5. JF Lee, Q Zeng, H Ozaki, L Wang, AR Hand, T Hla, E Wang, and MJ Lee, 2006, Dual roles of tight junction associated protein, Zonula Occludens-1, in sphingosine-1-phosphate regulated endothelial barrier integrity and wound-healing response, J Biol Chem, 281:29190-29200.