Primary Research Focus
Dr. Lance Lee’s research program is devoted to understanding how motile cilia function and how dysfunction results in pediatric disease. By identifying and understanding the underlying genetic and molecular mechanisms, they hope to advance the diagnosis and treatment of ciliary disorders.
Motile cilia extend from the surface of specialized cells in the respiratory system, the reproductive system, the brain and the early embryo. These cilia play a critical role in clearance of fluid and particles over the surface of the cells, and the structurally related sperm flagella are required for sperm motility.
Dysfunction of cilia and flagella typically results in the pediatric syndrome primary ciliary dyskinesia (PCD), which affects approximately one in 16,000 live births. Affected individuals commonly suffer from chronic respiratory infections, chronic otitis media and male infertility, with situs inversus, hydrocephalus and female infertility also associated in some patients. While the importance of cilia and flagella in human health is clear, the molecular mechanisms underlying ciliary function are still under investigation.
The Lee Lab uses both traditional and emerging genetic approaches to elucidate the underlying causes of PCD and its associated disorders by identifying genes required for proper ciliary formation and function. They also are investigating the molecular mechanisms that regulate ciliary motility by applying cutting-edge biochemical and cell biological techniques to mammalian ciliated cells and disease models. As there is currently no cure for PCD, the goal of their research is to enable advancement of disease diagnosis and treatment and ultimately improve childhood health.
About the Lee Lab
Lab Projects and News
Lee Teaches Genetics at It’s All About Science Festival
Lance Lee taught children about genetics at the sixth annual It’s All About Science Festival at the Sanford Research Center in June 2017. The It’s All About Science Festival is a hands-on celebration and exploration of all things science, technology, engineering and mathematics (better known as STEM). This free event includes onstage performances and more than 40 activity booths the whole family can enjoy. The mission of the festival is to promote a science-centered community by displaying “all things science” to the community.
Lee Presents Research at Pediatric Grand Rounds
Lance Lee presented lab research at Pediatric Grand Rounds in September 2016. Pediatric Grand Rounds lectures are geared toward increasing the knowledge base and clinical application of current standards of care for conditions identified as evolving and for emerging conditions. Registration is free. For registration questions, contact Brenda Ramstad by calling (605) 312-9230 or by email.
Lee Lab Presents at National Biology Conference
Postdoctoral fellow Rozzy Finn presented her research at the Experimental Biology Conference in San Diego in April 2014. Experimental Biology is the annual meeting of five societies composed of more than 14,000 scientists and 25 guest societies. Primary focus areas include anatomy, biochemistry and molecular biology, investigative pathology, pharmacology, and physiology. Attendees represent scientists from academic institutions, government agencies, non-profit organizations and industry. This multidisciplinary, scientific meeting features plenary and award lectures, workshops, oral and posters presentations, on-site career services and exhibits spotlighting equipment, supplies and publications required for research labs and experimental study.
Undergraduate Lab Researcher Presents at National Conference
Summer undergraduate student Katherine Johnson presented her project at the Experimental Biology Conference in San Diego in April 2014. Experimental Biology is the annual meeting of five societies composed of more than 14,000 scientists and 25 guest societies. Primary focus areas include anatomy, biochemistry and molecular biology, investigative pathology, pharmacology, and physiology. Attendees represent scientists from academic institutions, government agencies, non-profit organizations and industry. This multidisciplinary, scientific meeting features plenary and award lectures, workshops, oral and posters presentations, on-site career services and exhibits spotlighting equipment, supplies and publications required for research labs and experimental study.
Lee Lab Shares with Families of Sanford Researchers
Senior Laboratory Technician Casey McKenzie helps children of Sanford Research employees learn about science on Sanford Center Family Science Day in January 2013.
National Science & Engineering Conference Features Lee Lab Undergrad
Summer undergraduate student Taylor Maier presents his research project at the American Indian Science and Engineering Society National Conference in Minneapolis in November 2011. Held annually since 1978, the AISES National Conference is a one-of-a-kind, three-day event convening high school juniors and seniors, college and graduate students, teachers, workforce professionals, corporate partners, and all members of the “AISES family.” The AISES National conference has become the premier event for Native American science, engineering and math (STEM) professionals and students attracting over 1,600 attendees form across the country.
Lee Lab Shares Research Techniques with Girl Scouts
Senior Laboratory Technician Casey McKenzie demonstrates agarose gel electrophoresis to girl scouts on Girl Scout Day at Sanford Research in October 2011.
Meet the Lee Lab Team
Casey McKenzie, BA
Senior Research Specialist
Casey is currently involved in projects that focus on identifying the mechanisms regulating motile cilia and the genetic and molecular causes of primary ciliary dyskinesia. He worked for several years in the veterinary pharmaceutical industry before joining the Lee Lab in 2011. He obtained his bachelor of arts from Briar Cliff University in 2001 as a double major in biology and theater.
Jennifer is a biology major at the University of Sioux Falls and is working in the Lee Lab through the SPUR program. Her work supports projects focusing on the molecular and cellular mechanisms underlying primary ciliary dyskinesia.