James Lee – Biography

We are pleased to introduce you to James Lee (MBBS FRACS PhD). James is an endocrine surgeon and thyroid cancer researcher, whose research will be partly funded by The Aftershock with the contribution from our year-one funding goal.

In his clinical practice, he treats patients with surgical conditions of the thyroid gland, parathyroid glands and adrenal glands; including patients with thyroid cancer. After obtaining his specialist qualification as a general surgeon, James further subspecialised in the area of endocrine surgery, by completing the prestigious T.S. Reeve Fellowship in Endocrine Surgery at Royal North Shore Hospital, Sydney. Subsequently, he was awarded a Ph.D for his research on microRNA biomarkers of papillary thyroid cancer.

Currently, James is the holder of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons Senior Lecturer Fellowship, and the recipient of the Epworth Research Institute Development Grant. In conjunction with the collaboration of Aftershock, both of these awards are invaluable in supporting his work in thyroid cancer research.

While thyroid cancer is relatively rare, benign thyroid nodules are very common. Therefore, thyroid cancer research not only needs to focus on improving mortality for patients with aggressive disease, but researchers also need to develop systems to minimise over-treatment of the vast majority of patients with benign thyroid diseases or less aggressive cancer.

Precision medicine in thyroid cancer care is one of James’ key research themes. More specifically, a current research project aims to develop molecular markers that would improve the diagnosis of thyroid cancer on needle biopsy, thus allowing treating surgeons to determine the exact extent of surgery needed. James currently collaborates with other clinicians and researchers from institutions across Victoria to achieve this vision.