Meet the LEAD Scholars: Lee Joseph, MD

Meet Lee Joseph, MD, one of the participants in the Leadership, Education, Advancement and Diversity (LEAD) Scholars Program
Lee Joseph

Lee Joseph, MD, is a cardiovascular physician at Lahey Hospital and Medical Center and Assistant Professor of Medicine at Tufts University School of Medicine. She grew up in India and completed her medical school at the prestigious All India Institute of Medical Sciences. She completed residency and fellowship training at Cleveland Clinic and University of Iowa, then trained as a postdoctoral research fellow in the laboratory of Professor Michael Welsh, Howard Hughes Medical Institute/University of Iowa. During this time, she completed a master's degree in Bioinformatics at the University of Iowa.

Dr. Joseph had received awards for best research at Cleveland Clinic and University of Iowa, American College of Cardiology PVD Council Award, American Heart Association PVD Fellow in Training Award and American College of Cardiology Henry I Russek Award. Recently, she was awarded the Telemachus and Irene Demoulas Family Chair for Women’s Health to set up a Women’s Heart Health Program as a joint effort between Winchester Hospital and Lahey Hospital and Medical Center.

Summary of Dr. Joseph’s LEAD Research

Women compared to men have lower burden of obstructive coronary artery disease on coronary angiogram in the setting of coronary heart disease, the leading cause of death in men and women globally and in the US. This results in higher rates of myocardial infarction with nonobstructive coronary arteries [MINOCA] and ischemia with no obstructive coronary arteries [INOCA] among women than men. Mechanisms of MINOCA and INOCA are poorly understood, and management is not clearly established. Despite the high risk of such patients, current diagnostic and treatment options are limited and there are huge unmet needs in the care of patients with MINOCA and INOCA. 

Because of the high atherosclerotic burden among patients with MINOCA and INOCA and the association of chronic low-grade inflammation and oxidative stress to atherogenesis, we hypothesize that MINOCA and INOCA are associated with high levels of chronic low-grade inflammation and oxidative stress. We propose to conduct this pilot study to identify the association between MINOCA/INOCA and biomarkers of inflammation (COX mediated and cytokine mediated) and oxidative stress in a case control prospective pilot study population of 10 women with MINOCA/INOCA and healthy age matched control subjects from both sexes (10 each). 

Findings from this pilot study will lay the foundation for a larger second stage. It will provide mechanistic insights into the pathogenesis of MINOCA/INOCA and lead to new diagnostic and therapeutic options for such patients. We will disseminate the study findings through a presentation at a national conference and a peer reviewed journal publication.


Data from this important study will be used as a pilot study to inform the biological mechanism of MINOCA and INOCA in women. These results will be used in performing power calculation for a follow-up, second-stage study. The findings from this study will form the basis for next stage studies examining sex biased genetic expression profile in MINOCA and INOCA and the role of sex chromosomes and sex hormones. Elucidating the mechanism of MINOCA and INOCA will provide diagnostic biomarkers and therapeutic strategies to improve care and outcome for patients with this condition.

Leadership, Education, Advancement and Diversity Scholars Program

The Leadership, Education, Advancement and Diversity (LEAD) Scholars Program offers two years of structured professional development for Tufts University School of Medicine postdoctoral trainees, residents, fellows, early and mid-career faculty from groups underrepresented in medicine and science to enhance their opportunities for success and impact in the fields of medicine and science.

Learn more about the LEAD Scholars Program