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Wei-Lih Lee

Associate Professor

Molecular cell biology, microtubule dynamics, motor regulation, mitotic spindle orientation, nuclear migration, asymmetric stem cell divisions; budding yeast and mammalian cells.

Current Research
The Lee Lab utilizes an interdisciplinary approach combining genetics, quantitative cell biology, biochemistry and single molecule biophysics to investigate the molecular mechanisms underlying the function and regulation of cytoplasmic dynein. Dynein is a highly conserved ATPase that powers directional motility along microtubule tracks. A variety of cell types use this ancient motor to position and organize a multitude of cargos in the cytoplasm as well as to build and breakdown diverse microtubule-based structures critical for cell growth and division. Impaired dynein function leads to mitotic spindle defects causing chromosome segregation errors and improper spindle orientation, which has recently been implicated in the initiation and development of cancer. Mutations in dynein and its regulators cause malformations of cortical development (e.g. human lissencephaly, pachygyria, and polymicrogyria) and are directly linked to human motor neuropathies, such as spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) and axonal Charcot-Marie-Tooth (CMT) disease. Thus, elucidating the mechanisms controlling dynein function and regulation is an important step towards understanding the molecular basis of a wide range of human health disorders.

Learn more at http://www.bio.umass.edu/biology/about/directories/faculty/wei-lih-lee

Academic Background

  • BS University of Iowa, 1994
  • PhD Johns Hopkins University, 2000
  • Postdoctoral Training: Washington University at St. Louis, 2000-2005
Wadsworth P. and W.-L. Lee. 2013. Microtubule motors: doin’ it without dynactin. Current Biology Jul 8, 23(13):R563-565.
Markus, S.M., K.A. Kalutkiewicz, and W.-L. Lee. 2012. She1-mediated Inhibition of Dynein Motility along Astral Microtubules Promotes Polarized Spindle Movements. Current Biology Dec 4, 22(23):2221-2230.
Collins E.S., Balchand S.K., Faraci J.L., Wadsworth P., and W.-L. Lee. 2012. Cell Cycle-Regulated Cortical Dynein/Dynactin Promotes Symmetric Cell Division by Differential Pole Motion in Anaphase. Molecular Biology of the Cell 23(17):3380-3390.
Tang X.Y., St. Germain B.J., and W.-L. Lee. 2012. A Novel Patch Assembly Domain in Num1 Mediates Dynein Anchoring at the Cortex during Spindle Positioning. Journal of Cell Biology 196:743–756.
Markus, S.M. and W.-L. Lee. 2011. Regulated Offloading of Cytoplasmic Dynein from Microtubule Plus Ends to the Cortex. Developmental Cell, 20(5): 639-651.
 
Contact Info

Department of Biology
454A Morrill IV South
North Pleasant Street
Amherst, MA 01003-9292

(413) 545-2944
wlee@bio.umass.edu
http://www.bio.umass.edu/biology/about/directories/faculty/wei-lih-lee