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Wellcome - MRC Cambridge Stem Cell Institute


107-Lee-2017Dr Joo-Hyeon Lee

Stem cells and niches


Laboratory: Cambridge Stem Cell Institute, Jeffrey Cheah Biomedical Centre

Departmental Affiliation: Physiology, Development and Neuroscience



Joo-Hyeon Lee was fascinated by stem cell research through PhD studies under the supervision of Prof. Daesik Lim in KAIST, Korea. She then joined Prof. Carla Kim’s laboratory in Harvard Medical School where she became interested in the study of adult lung stem cells. She established her own research group at the Cambridge Stem Cell Institute in 2016 and focuses on understanding cellular behaviour and regulatory networks of adult stem and niche cells.  

Joo-Hyeon is currently Faculty member at the Department of Physiology, Development, and Neuroscience, University of Cambridge and was recently awarded a Sir Henry Dale Fellowship and a ERC starting grant.



 Wellcome, Royal society, ERC, MRC, CRUK, BBSRC, AstraZeneca


Lee research

 Clonal expansion of lineage labelled progenitor cells in mouse lungs (Image credit: Catherine Dabrowska)  



What are the regulatory mechanisms that control homeostatic turnover, and how do their perturbation contribute to disease progression? The lung is a very slow cycling organ that is composed of diverse epithelial and stromal cell types, but has capacity to rapidly regenerate new cells after injury. Lee group is trying to understand how stem cells respond to different signals from their local environment and orchestrate the changes in chromatin, transcription, translation, and cellular dynamics in homeostasis and injury repair. We investigate the regulatory networks that need to be turned on and off at the right time and place for stem cells to become activated and generate specialised cell types during regeneration. We are also interested in defining cellular heterogeneity and plasticity during this process. Elucidating the normal process of lung dynamics will provide us a foundation to understand lung diseases and cancer. We couple ex vivo 3D organoid cultures of human and mouse lungs with genetic tools, in vivo transgenic mouse models with lineage tracing techniques, quantitative mathematic modelling of clonal dynamics, and bioinformatics at the single cell level.


 Lee Group

Group Members

Jinwook Choi, Vishal Menon, Sagar Varankar, Catherine Dabrowska, Kelly Evans, Frances England, June Young Park, Antranik Mavousian



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Plain English

Our interest is focused on understanding how the diverse epithelial and stromal cells are maintained for a lifetime and regenerated following injury in the lungs. We study the regulatory mechanisms that balance stem cell maintenance and differentiation, and how their perturbation contribute to disease progression.


Key Publications