Dr. Lessey is a physician-scientist with a long-standing interest in basic and translational research on endometrial function. He received his PhD with Dr. Thomas Gorell at Colorado State University (1976-1980) with a focus on steroid receptor biology, expanding into human research under the direction of Kathryn Horowitz at University of CO School of Medicine (1981-84) on breast cancer and later on the endometrium at Duke University 1984-8 with Dr. Kenneth McCarty, Jr. There he published one of the first studies on immunohistochemical localization of steroid receptors through the menstrual cycle in 1988 demonstrating the decline in epithelial estrogen and progesterone receptors at the time of implantation in humans. Dr. Lessey completed his fellowship in Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility at the University of Pennsylvania, where they published the first in series of comprehensive studies on integrins in the endometrium and established the anb3 integrin as a biomarker of endometrial receptivity and an early diagnostic test for endometriosis. After becoming a Professor in the Department of OBGYN at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill (UNC-Chapel Hill) he continued NIH funded research on endometriosis including important DNA microarray studies in collaboration with Linda Giudice. Dr. Lessey relocated to Greenville, SC to become Division Director at the Greenville Health System in 2003. The current focus of his laboratory continues to be on the role of endometrial receptivity and the effect of endometriosis infertility and pregnancy loss. These studies will likely advance the development of therapeutics and diagnostics in the field of endometriosis, infertility and pelvic pain.
For more information, see his Curriculum Vitae.
The diagnosis of endometriosis takes on average 11 years in the US alone. There are millions of women that suffer from dysmenorrhea, irritable bowel syndrome, interstitial cystitis and infertility of unexplained causes that have endometriosis as their underlying pathology. Dr. Lessey and his colleagues have developed a reliable test for endometriosis based on changes in the endometrium of women that have this disease. In addition, they are working on a blood test involving micro RNAs that will provide early diagnosis for millions of women. Disease is relentless in its progression and recurs in most women even after diagnosis and treatment, due to ongoing menstruation. Early detection and diagnosis will provide new strategies not only for these conditions but also to prevent recurrence by early adoption of methods to curtail or prevent menstruation, the main cause of recurrence. It is estimated that over 176 million women have this disease, but they believe that this number is much larger. Their research will provide a new perspective on this disorder affecting so many women.
Infertility; Endometriosis; Implantation Disorders; Polycystic Ovary Syndrome, Especially Related to Endometrium and Steroid Receptor Biology; Recurrent Pregnancy Loss; Surgical Interventions that Relate to Endometriosis; Chronic Pelvic Pain