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McLean researcher

David Yue-Wei Lee: Bio-Organic and Natural Products Research Laboratory

Unconventional approaches to investigating disease can bring unconventional breakthroughs. As part of the Medication Development Program, the Bio-Organic and Natural Products Research Laboratory explores and develops alternative treatments for substance abuse, autism, schizophrenia, Alzheimer’s disease, and other conditions.

Human disease is complicated and multifaceted. A single chemical entity targeted on one pathway or receptor is likely to have a limited therapeutic effect; in many cases relieving only the symptoms, and untoward side effects are common. Herbal remedies, by contrast, offer an opportunity to address simultaneously multiple biological pathways that might contribute to a disease or developmental condition. Our research takes the accumulated knowledge of traditional Chinese medicine and uses a system biological approach that emphasizes balance in the entire organism. We seek to develop evidenced-based herbal remedies by understanding the bioactive natural products and their modes of action to treat human disease in a comprehensive manner, including chronic diseases for which there is no cure at the present time.