Our People

Jason Lee

Associate Professor | QIMR Berghofer International Research Fellow | Team Head

Epigenetics and Disease

+61 7 3845 3951

jason.lee@qimrberghofer.edu.au

 

CAREER HISTORY

Dr Lee is a cancer epigeneticist, leading the Epigenetics and Disease Group at QIMR Berghofer. He is also an Adjunct Associate Professor at University of Queensland and Queensland University of Technology.

Dr Lee completed his BSc (Molecular Pathology) at UNSW and his doctoral studies at University of Sydney studying the in vivo role of growth factors in breast cancer. Postdoctoral training at Dana Farber Cancer Institute/Harvard Medical School, Boston, allowed him to study the transcriptional role of cyclin D1 and estrogen receptor in breast cancer as part of a NIH program grant headed by Professor Bob Weinberg at the Whitehead Institute, MIT.

As a senior research scientist at Seoul National University, Korea, Dr Lee gained extensive experience within the field of cancer epigenetics and transcriptional regulation. He has expertise in an array of epigenetic and molecular techniques including genome-wide analysis (RNA-seq and ChIP-seq). These techniques and expertise in epigenetics allowed him to focus on epigenetic regulation of tumour suppressors and oncogenes in breast cancer metastasis.

Dr Lee has published several papers in high impact international journals including Molecular Cell (4), PNAS (2), AJHG (3), Nature Genetics, Immunity and Cell Reports. Dr Lee has two patents currently active and he is collaborating with pharmaceutical enterprises to develop novel therapeutics for several cancer types.

 

Current Appointments

2018: Team Head, Epigenetics and Disease Group QIMR Berghofer

2016: Adjunct Associate Professor, School of Biomedical Science, Queensland University of Technology

2013: Honorary Associate Professor, School of Biomedical Sciences, University of Queensland

 

PREVIOUS APPOINTMENTS

2013-2015: Honorary Associate Professor, School of Chemistry and Molecular Biosciences, University of Queensland

2012: Associate Professor, School of Biological Sciences, Sejong University, Korea

2010-2012: Assistant Professor, School of Biological Sciences, Seoul National University, Korea

2006-2009: Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Chromatin Dynamics Research Centre, Seoul National University

2003-2006: Research Associate, Dana Farber Cancer Institute, Harvard Medical School

 

ORCID NUMBER

0000-0003-0879-934X

 

CURRENT AREAS OF RESEARCH 

  • Molecular epigenetics
  • Chromatin dynamics
  • Regulation of gene expression
  • Transcriptomics
  • Hypoxic signalling
  • Cancer metastasis

 

RESEARCH HIGHLIGHTS

  • identification of non-histone methylation where Dr Lee has discovered two transcription factors that are methylated by the histone modifiers and thereby impact tumour progression in vivo. In 2010, he published the first non-histone methylation by G9a in a tumour hypoxia setting (Lee Molecular Cell 2010). This paper was selected as a cover article and attracted much attention from the hypoxia field as it demonstrated the impact tumour hypoxia has on epigenetic enzymes. The following year, another transcriptional regulator that was modified by histone methyltransferase was identified. This regulator conferred oncogenic function in breast cancer progression (Lee PNAS 2011). This work contributed to the addition of another layer of the role histone methyltranferases play in regulating transcription
  • Dr Lee has discovered for the first time a mechanism for methylation-dependent proteindegradation (coined the term ‘Methyl-Degron’) and this work was chosen for a special cover issue (Lee Molecular Cell 2012)
  • collaboration with Immunology Department groups (Professor Mark Smyth) applying the analysis method he developed has yielded in a publication examining NK T-cell function (Martinet Cell Reports 2015)
  • collaboration with Immunology group (Associate Professor Michelle Wykes) in the analysis of gene expression in dendritic cells in a mouse model of malaria yielded in publication in Immunity 2016

 

PROFESSIONAL MEMBERSHIPS

  • Australia New Zealand Gynaecological Oncology Group (ANZGOG) member
  • Australian Epigenetics Alliance, Queensland Delegate
  • Australian Skin and Skin Cancer Centre member
  • Academy of Scientists and Engineers in Australasia (KASEA) executive member

 

AWARDS RECOGNITION

2015: Korean Society of Molecular and Cellular Biology Award

2014: QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute Travel Award, ‘Hypoxia-mediated epigenetic changes in breast cancer’

2013: Queensland Emory Development (QED) Alliance Travel Award ‘Epigenetic changes in cancer’

2013: Baker Company Travelling Award ‘Tumour hypoxia: a mediator of metastasis’

2013: QIMR Berghofer International Research Fellowship ‘Epigenetic modifications in breast cancer’

2010: Ruskinn Postdoctoral International Travel Award, ‘Hypoxia signalling and epigenetic regulation’

2009: Best Poster Award, ASN Epigenetics International Meeting, Melbourne

 

EDUCATIONAL BACKGROUND

1999-2004: PhD Molecular Medicine, University of Sydney

1995-1998: Bachelor of Science-Biological and Biomedical Sciences, University of NSW