Lee Research Group

Principal Investigator: Adrian Lee, PhD

The goal of the Lee laboratory is translational breast cancer research. The laboratory has two main areas of focus.

The first involves targeting the insulin-like growth factor pathway in breast cancer. A major emphasis is upon the downstream signaling intermediates the insulin receptor substrates (IRSs) analyzing interactions with steroid hormone receptors (ER and PR), role in normal mouse mammary gland development, mechanisms of transformation of mammary epithelial cells in vitro and in mouse models, and roles in human breast cancer. These studies include a systems biology approach to understanding the pathway that includes use of transcriptomics (RNA-seq) and proteomics (Reverse Phase Protein Arrays).

The second area of research is the role of next generation sequencing in personalized cancer genomic medicine. This work includes basic studies on mutations in breast cancer and then methods (both technical and computational) to apply this in the clinical setting. Studies examine tumor heterogeneity and molecular changes during progression, with a particular focus on DNA and RNA structural rearrangements. Analysis includes use of long-insert mate-pair, whole genome, whole exome and RNA-sequencing which have all been completed on a set of 20 biopsies to allow an unprecedented integrated view of genomic and transcriptomic changes during progression. Genomic alterations are measured in blood using targeted sequencing and ddPCR. Computational methods are being developed and optimized for analyzing clonal architecture, evolutionary genomic change, and refinement of structural rearrangements. The laboratory is also developing a breast cancer specific next-generation sequencing test for clinical sequencing and developing a computational architecture for integration of patient genomic and phenotypic data for research and clinical (Oracle Translational Research Center) use.

Lab Members

Post-Doctoral Associates

Chandra Bathula, PhD (Biochemistry and Molecular Biology)

Education: University of North Dakota
Devi Ahilya University, Indore, Madhya Pradesh, India (MSc Biochemistry)
Research Interests: Understanding the role of growth factors (IGF- and insulin) and anti-IGF-IR inhibitors on regulation of G2/M progression.

David Boone, PhD (Cell and Developmental Biology)

Education: Vanderbilt University
Pennsylvania State University (BS)
Research Interests: Understanding the functions of long non-coding IncRNAs necessary for proliferation of breast cancer cell lines.

Susan Farabaugh, PhD

Education: University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus
Research Interests: Investigating cell origin and resulting cell fates of breast cancer tumor lineages.

Rekha Gyanchandani, PhD (Molecular Pharmacology)

Education: University of Pittsburgh
Research Interests: Studying the role of intratumor ploidy heterogeneity in breast cancer chemoresistance and tumor recurrence.

Research Instructor

Ryan Hartmaier, PhD (Translational Biology and Molecular Medicine)

Education: Baylor College of Medicine
University of Washington (BS, Bioengineering)
Research Interests: Discovery and understanding of genetic changes, especially structural variations, acquired during breast cancer metastasis.

Research Associate

Gonghong Yan, PhD

Research Interests: Understanding how breast cancer cells sense and respond to extracelluar signaling message, and how the interactions of cancer cells within the microenvironment decides the cancer’s development

Graduate Students

Alison Nagle

Education: University of North Carolina (BS Biology)
Research Interests: Focusing on the role of growth hormone mediated signaling in the initiation and progression of breast cancer.

Nolan Priedigkeit, PhD Student

Research Interests: Genomic medicine

Medical Fellow

Aju Mathew

International Fellows

Jingci “Linda” Chen

Education: Tsinghua University, Beijing
Research Interests: Studying the role of IGF1R/InsR hybrid receptors in breast cancer

Yijing “Grace” Chen

Education: Tsinghua University, Beijing

Research Staff

Beth Knapick, Lab Manager


Undergraduate Students

Lauren Walheim

Administrative Assistant

Nadine Ryan

Phone: 412-641-7557

Past Lab Members

Daniel Hochbaum
Whitney Crosson
Beate Litzenburger
Bonita Chan
Michael Fastuca
Petra den Hollander
Robert Dearth
Sarah Taylor
Xiaojiang Cui
Hyun-jung Kim