Juneyoung Lee, PhD

Lawrence M. Brass, MD Stroke Research Award

Each year in the United States, more than 800,000 people suffer stroke, which is a leading cause of permanent disability in adults. There are two types of stroke, both of which harm or kill brain cells: ischemic, in which an interruption or blockage of a blood vessel supplying blood to the brain denies brain cells oxygen and nutrients, and hemorrhagic, in which bleeding from a ruptured blood vessel in the brain causes pressure build up within the brain that can cut off blood supply or kill brain tissue. Vascular diseases that can also affect the brain by limiting blood supply include moyamoya, vasculitis, and fibromuscular dysplasia. The symptoms of a stroke include sudden numbness or weakness, confusion, dizziness, headache or trouble speaking, seeing, or walking. The results of stroke may include paralysis or weakness, cognitive problems, emotional control problems, and depression. There are three treatment stages for stroke: prevention, therapy during an acute stroke, and post-stroke rehabilitation. Extensive research is ongoing with respect to improving all three.

What We Know:
Elderly patients with acute stroke may succumb to post-stroke infection (PSI), rather than the brain injury itself. Studies have revealed that the gut is an epicenter of PSI contributing to worsened outcomes and morbidity. Stroke is a leading cause of mortality in elderly individuals and is also a major public health issue for patients and their families. There are still no effective pharmacological therapies to enhance stroke recovery.

Our Plan to Help:
Dr. Lee’s research will directly manipulate the brain-gut-microbiota axis after stroke to improve morbidity and recovery by fortifying the host gut barrier. This research will provide Dr. Lee with a novel target by restoring a “healthy gut” to reduce post-stroke infections and stroke-related inflammation as a promising therapeutic option for stroke and other brain and age-related diseases.

How You Can Help:
Donate to the American Brain Foundation to support Dr. Lee’s important research that has the potential to save the lives of stroke patients.

Dr. Lee is the recipient of the 2019 Lawrence M. Brass Stroke Research Award funded by the American Brain Foundation and American Heart Association / American Stroke Association.