Raphael Carl Lee

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Raphael Carl Lee (born October 29, 1949 in Sumter, South Carolina) is an American surgeon, medical researcher, biomedical engineer, and entrepreneur.


Lee spent his childhood and adolescence in South Carolina. During medical school and graduate school he lived in Philadelphia, Chicago and Boston. Today, he practices re-constructive plastic surgery at the University of Chicago. Mostly his research has focused on advancing the care of trauma victims. Lee is recognized for the application of block copolymer surfactants to mimic some basic cellular protective processes of natural stress proteins to augment cellular self-repair capability following injury.[1] He has also advanced understanding the biophysical mechanisms of tissue injury and neuromuscular disorders in survivors of electrical shock .

He is the Paul S. and Ailene T. Russell Professor of Surgery at the University of Chicago, and holds appointments in the departments of Medicine (Dermatology), Molecular Medicine, and Organismal Biology and Anatomy. Dr. Lee is the Director of the University of Chicago's Laboratory for Molecular Regeneration.

Lee graduated from Bishop England High School in Charleston, South Carolina and then studied engineering at the University of South Carolina in Columbia, South Carolina. He completed the electrical engineering curriculum in 1971 with an interest in medical applications. He then enrolled in the combined medicine and engineering curriculum established by Temple University School of Medicine and Drexel University College of Engineering in central Philadelphia. Dr. Lee was elected to the Alpha Omega Alpha honor medical society and the Tau Beta Pi engineering honor society. He completed both M.D. and M.S. degrees in 1975.[2] This was followed by general surgery residency training at the University of Chicago Hospitals in Chicago and then plastic surgery residency training at the Massachusetts General Hospital. While a resident at the University of Chicago, he enrolled in graduate studies at M.I.T. and in Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology doctoral program. He received a Sc.D. in bioelectrical engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1979.[3] He received several significant awards for his research during his surgical residency training including the Schering Scholar Award in 1978 from the American College of Surgeons and MacArthur Prize Fellows Award in 1981 from the John D and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation in Chicago.

While on the faculty at Harvard Medical School he receive the James Barrett Brown Award from the American Association of Plastic Surgeons for advancing the understand of electrical injuries. He returned to the University of Chicago in 1990 where he practices plastic surgery and teaches graduate courses in molecular pathogenesis of disease. Dr. Lee has served as President of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering, the Midwestern Association of Plastic Surgeons, the Drexel 100 Society, and the Society for Physical Regulation of Biology and Medicine. He a clinical investigator at the University of Chicago[4] who was elected to the Institute of Medicine of Chicago and the International Academy of Medical and Biological Engineering.

He is founder and chairman of RenaCyte BioMolecular Technologies (2005) and Avocet Polymer Technologies,Inc (1997). He is affiliated with the Chicago Electrical Trauma Rehabilitation Institute.

Selected awards[edit]


  • R. C. Lee; Ernest G. Cravalho; John Francis Burke, eds. (1992). Electrical trauma: the pathophysiology, manifestations and clinical management. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-38345-5.
  • Raphael C Lee; Mary Capelli-Schellpfeffer; Kathleen M. Kelley, eds. (1994). Electrical Injury: A Multidisciplinary Approach to Prevention, Therapy & Rehabilitation. New York Academy of Sciences. ISBN 0-89766-864-2.
  • Chin-tu Chen; Raphael C Lee; J-X Shih; Min-Ha Zhong, eds. (1999). Occupational Electrical Injury and Safety. New York Academy of Sciences. ISBN 1-57331-232-0.
  • Raphael C Lee; Florin Despa; Kimm Jon Hamann, eds. (2005). Cell injury: mechanisms, responses, and repair. New York Academy of Sciences. ISBN 978-1-57331-616-3.
  • Raphael C Lee and Anna Chien The Doctor's Plague: Germs, Childbed Fever, and the Strange Story of Ignac Semmelweis. (Book Review) Perspectives in Biology and Medicine - Volume 48, Number 4, Autumn 2005, pp. 616–618
  • M. Capelli-Schellpfeffer, M. and R.C.Lee, "Electrical Shock" in Encyclopedia of Electrical and Electronics Engineering, Webster, J.G., Ed., John Wiley and Sons, New York, 1998
  • R. C. Lee, "Electrical and Lightning Injuries" in Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 15th Edition, Braunwald et al., eds. McGaw-Hill, New York 2001

Author or coauthor of more than 200 journal publications and book chapters


  1. ^ Raphael C Lee; Florin Despa; Kimm Jon Hamann, eds. (2005). Cell injury: mechanisms, responses, and repair. New York Academy of Sciences. ISBN 978-1-57331-616-3.
  2. ^ "Department of Surgery - Faculty - Raphael Lee, MD". University of Chicago. Archived from the original on 2011-08-30. Retrieved 2010-05-31.
  3. ^ "The HistoryMakers Video Oral History Interview with Raphael Lee". The HistoryMakers. May 23, 2003. Retrieved 2010-05-31.
  4. ^ "Raphael C. Lee, MD, ScD, DSc (Hon)". University of Chicago Medical Center. Retrieved 2010-05-31.