Research interests in our research group

Lee's Research Group, a part of Cell and Molecular Biology in the Department of Biological and Environmental Science, provides teaching and undertakes research in a field bordering with biochemistry, chemistry, biotechnology, molecular and cell biology and nano-science. The main focus of Lee’s Research Group is:

  • Understanding Microbial Effectors that Contribute to Chronic Diseases

Press Release: Tick-borne disease is #notjustlyme
New research now published in Nature Scientific Reports :)
https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-018-34393-9 

We provide a framework for the analysis of a common adverse viral / bacterial infection and its contribution to chronic autoimmune diseases. We want to investigate how tick-borne pathogens evade the immune system to establish chronic disease states such as Lyme disease. In order to investigate this we will characterize the parent and pleomorphic forms of these pathogens and specifically look at their interaction with the immune system. In conducting these studies, we hopefully will be able to provide insight in developing better point of care diagnostics of these tick-borne pathogens.

Another branch of our research is to investigate how common viruses, such as Human Parvovirus B19, can attribute to chronic ailments such as rheumatoid arthritis, lupus and Crohn’s disease. We are specifically looking at the direct involvement B19 has on producing autoantigens. The translational value of these studies will allow again better point of care treatments for the patient.

Our translational value to this research is directed in developing better point-of-care diagnostics for common pathogens. Our projects have included EU FP6 IMMUNOLEGIO “Rapid biotechniques based on immunosensors for in-situ detection of legionella in industrial and environmental water samples” (Sept 2006 - Aug 2008), EU FP7 Hilysens: FP7-SME-2010-262411, Highly sensitive and specific low-cost lab-on-a-chip system for Lyme disease diagnosis (1 Nov 2010 – 28 Feb 2013). Recently Tekes has provided funding for the TICK-TAG Project: Evaluation of the next generation Point-of-Care Diagnostic for Tick-Borne Pathogens (1 July 2015 - 31 Sept 2016). 

The hallmark of Cell and Molecular biology is to approach biological problems with the methods of chemistry, cell biology, virology, molecular biology and nanoscience. Cell and Molecular Biology is a wise choice as a main subject for a Master's degree for those students interested in application of multi-disciplinary skills in biological research. In addition we have students working towards their PhD. Please see the following site for more information about studying in the Department of Biological and environmental Science (). The Cell and Molecular Biology approach is the factor connecting together the ongoing research projects in Gilbert’s group. Most of them have a strong nanoscience aspect. As an example we study magnetometric and fluorescent biosensors, applied immunology, and gene-delivery vehicles. The applications of the research vary from detecting environmental risk factors to combating microbial (viral or bacterial) infections and cancer. Other research projects under the Department of Biological and Environmental Science can be found on the following page https://www.jyu.fi/bioenv/en/research. To learn more about nanoscience, check out the Nanoscience Center homepage https://www.jyu.fi/science/muut_yksikot/nsc/en.

Selected publications

  1. Puttaraksa, N., Whitlow, H.J., Napari, M, Meriläinen, L., and Gilbert, L. 2016. Development of a microfluidic design for an automatic lab-on-chip operation. Microfluid Nanofluid 20: 142. doi:10.1007/s10404-016-1808-0.
  2. Hermansen, L.T, Loft, A.G., Christiansen, A.A., Munk, H.L., Gilbert, L., Jurik, A.G., Arnbak, B., Manniche., Weber, U., Østergaard, M., Pedersen, SJ., Barington, T., Junker, P., Hørslev-Petersen K., and Hendricks, O. 2016. No diagnostic utility of antibody patterns against Klebsiella pneumoniae capsular serotypes in patients with axial spondyloarthritis vs. patients with non-specific low back pain: a cross-sectional study. Scand J Rheumatol. 7:1-7. doi: 10.1080/03009742.2016.1205659
  3. Meriläinen, L., Brander, H., Schwarzbach, A., and Gilbert, L. 2016. Immunological consequence of pleomorphic forms of Borrelia. Microbiology. 161(Pt 3): 516–527. doi: 10.1099/mic.0.000027.