Molecular cell biology, microtubule dynamics, motor regulation, mitotic spindle orientation, nuclear migration, asymmetric stem cell divisions; budding yeast and mammalian cells.
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.
- BS University of Iowa, 1994
- PhD Johns Hopkins University, 2000
- Postdoctoral Training: Washington University at St. Louis, 2000-2005