skip to primary navigationskip to content

Dr Joo-Hyeon Lee

107-Lee-2017Dr Joo-Hyeon Lee

Stem cells and niches


Laboratory: Cambridge Stem Cell Institute, Gleeson Building.

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 with the Sir Henry Dale Fellowship and ERC starting grant. . 


ERC, Wellcome Trust, Royal Society, CRUK Cambridge Cancer Centre.


850 Lee research image

Branching of Lung Organoid co-cultured with Endothelial cells 



In the lung, multiple stem/progenitor cells that reside in a distinct niche regenerate the lost epithelium upon tissue injury, yet it is unknown how stem cells are instructed to selectively replace the injured epithelial cells. Our lab focuses on identifying the key stem-stromal cell interactions and regulatory networks that allow proper lineage specification and tissue regeneration. Dissecting the precise mechanisms how niches develop and remodel in homeostasis, regeneration and injury repair will help us to find better ways to derive lineage differentiation of stem cells, establish stem cell transplantation methods, and eventually lead us to novel insights on the pathogenesis of lung diseases. 

Our goals include: 

  1. Identifying the functional role of diverse pulmonary stromal cells in regulating stem cell lineage differentiation during lung homeostasis, regeneration and injury repair. 
  2. Defining the regulatory networks of stem cell and stroma interactions in lung regeneration and tumourigenesis. 
  3. Exploring the contribution of stem cell niche dysregulation in pulmonary pathogenesis. We will use systemic approaches combining in vivo genetic mouse models and ex vivo human and mouse lung organoid co-culture systems. 

 Lee Group 2017

Group Members

Inchul Cho, Jinwook Choi, Catherine Dabrowska, Kelly Evans, Antranik Mavousian, Julie Watson


Plain English

Our research focuses on the regulation of the environment in which lung stem cells reside along with pulmonary axis. Lung stem cells require tight control to allow the production and differentiation of new cells to replace damaged cells by interacting with neighbouring cells. Uncontrolled interactions can cause lung disease including lung cancer. Therefore, understanding these essential interactions is crucial to improve our basic knowledge of pulmonary biology and disease. We will identify the functional complex of environment including key neighbouring cells and molecules that regulate lung stem cell differentiation in health and disease, making it possible to find new therapeutic avenues for lung disease. 


Key Publications