• University of Nevada, Reno
  • Employees
  • Renown Leadership

Samuel Austin Lee, M.D., Ph.D., Appointed Chair of Internal Medicine

December 01, 2023

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Samuel Austin Lee, M.D., Ph.D., FIDSA has joined the University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine (UNR Med) and Renown Health as Department Chair of Internal Medicine. Dr. Lee comes to Nevada from New England, where he served as Chief of Medicine for the White River Junction (VT) Veteran’s Administration Medical Center and Professor of Medicine at the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth. 

Dr. Lee previously served as an Assistant Professor of Medicine in the Division of Infectious Diseases at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, and a member of the San Antonio Center for Medical Mycology.  He next served on the faculty for University of New Mexico, as Section Chief, Infectious Diseases at the VA Albuquerque Medical Center, and as Medical Director of the HIV clinic at the VA Albuquerque. 

Dr. Lee will serve as the joint academic and administrative leader defining clinical operations to expand care; enhancing teaching and training programs vital to ambulatory and acute care medicine in northern Nevada, and fostering clinical and translational research and diversity missions. Dr. Lee will also serve as the liaison to the VA Sierra Nevada Health Care System, expanding the 30-year academic partnership to enhance general internal medicine and specialty services critical to the community.

“We are delighted to have Dr. Lee join us,” said Paul J. Hauptman, MD, Dean of UNR Med and Chief Academic Officer for Renown Health. “He has a strong background in academic medicine, demonstrated excellence in clinical care, medical education and research, and is universally respected as a compassionate physician leader. Dr. Lee will do much to advance the mission of UNR Medicine’s Internal Medicine Residency program and expand related Graduate Medical Education opportunities, thereby helping to train the next generation of physicians.” 

“Dr. Lee is a collaborative physician, researcher and mentor who cares deeply about improving the health of our community,” said Brian Erling, MD, MBA, President and CEO, Renown Health. “This is an exceptionally exciting time for him to help craft our vision to offer more efficient and affordable care, elevate the patient experience, and advance health equity across northern Nevada. He will further elevate our mission of outstanding care, exceptional training, innovative research, impactful advocacy, and innovative community partnerships. We are fortunate to have him joining our team and community.”

Dr. Lee will oversee the Division Chiefs of Acute Hospital Services at Renown Regional Medical Center, numerous subspecialists across Renown Medical Group, and the Healthy Nevada Project®. He will serve as an active internist and infectious disease subspecialist. 

Dr. Lee is a graduate of the seven-year Combined BA/MD Program at Boston University. He completed his internship and residency at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. He then trained in a three-year research track fellowship in Infectious Diseases at Yale University School of Medicine and continued at Yale as a Staff Physician at the VA Connecticut Healthcare System. He obtained his Ph.D. in Investigative Medicine in Yale University’s Graduate School.

Dr. Lee’s research explores fungal pathogenesis, secretion, virulence, biofilm formation and antifungal drug discovery. His laboratory work, which has been supported by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) and Department of Veterans Affairs Merit awards, involves research on fungal pathogenesis, novel antifungal therapies and treatment approaches against biofilm formation in Candida species, including drug repurposing, high-throughput screening of small molecule compound libraries, and studies of antifungal lock therapies for prevention of catheter-associated infections. 

Dr. Lee is recognized for his passion for high-quality patient care and supports future practitioners through rigorous and culturally informed undergraduate and graduate medical education, research, and community collaboration. He maintains active involvement in national committees and editorial boards including Frontiers in Cellular and Infection Microbiology, Plos ONE, Mycopathologia, Virulence, and The Journal of Mycology and is a member of the Peer Review Board for the Journal of Visualized Experiments. Dr. Lee was awarded the New Mexico School of Medicine Regents’ Lecturer Award in recognition of his contributions to clinical medicine, research and education. In 2020, he received special recognition from the Department of Veterans Affairs for his team’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

About the University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine

The University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine (UNR Med), Nevada’s first public medical school, is a community-based, research-intensive medical school with a statewide vision for a healthy Nevada. Since 1969, UNR Med has trained more than 3,900 students, residents and fellows. UNR Med continues to improve the health and well-being of all Nevadans and their communities through excellence in student education, postgraduate training and clinical care, research with local, national and global impact and a culture of diversity and inclusion. For more information, visit med.unr.edu.

About Renown Health

Renown Health is the region’s largest, locally governed, not-for-profit integrated healthcare network serving Nevada, Lake Tahoe, and northeast California. With a diverse workforce of more than 7,000 employees, Renown has fostered a longstanding culture of excellence, determination and innovation. The organization comprises a trauma center, two acute care hospitals, a children’s hospital, a rehabilitation hospital, a medical group and urgent care network, and the locally owned not-for-profit insurance company, Hometown Health. For more information, visit renown.org.

Media Contacts

UNR Med 

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E: communications@unr.edu


Renown Public Relations

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E: news@renown.org