Lance Lee Lab

Primary Focus

Lance Lee

Lance Lee, PhD and his team’s research program is devoted to understanding how motile cilia function and dysfunction results in pediatric disease. By revealing and understanding the underlying genetic and molecular mechanisms, we hope to advance the diagnosis and treatment of these disorders.


Lance Lee
  • Associate scientist in the Children's Health Research Center
  • Assistant professor in the Department of Pediatrics at the Sanford School of Medicine of the University of South Dakota
  • Bachelor of Science in biochemistry at Boston College
  • Master of Science in genetics at the University of Connecticut
  • Doctorate of Philosophy in cell and developmental biology at Stony Brook University
  • Postdoctoral fellowship at Boston Children's Hospital/Harvard Medical School


Behind the research

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.

In Dr. Lee’s laboratory, we use both traditional and emerging genetic approaches to identify the underlying causes of PCD and its associated disorders. In particular, researchers are interested in identifying genes required for proper ciliary formation and function, as well as genetic modifiers of hydrocephalus. We are also seeking to better understand the molecular mechanisms that regulate ciliary motility using a variety of biochemical, cell biological and histopathological approaches. As PCD and its associated disorders are frequently devastating, and there is currently no cure for PCD, the goal of our research is to enable advancement of disease diagnosis and treatment and ultimately improve childhood health.


Resources  Positions available

Access Dr. Lee's publications here.

Meet members of the Lee lab here.


Join a dedicated team of researchers and help shape the future of motile cilia research. See open positions here.
Contact Us  
Phone: (605) 312-6410  
Fax: (605) 312-6071  
Sanford Research
2301 E. 60th St. N.
Sioux Falls, SD 57104


Lab News

May 2016, Dr. Lance Lee recently gave an oral presentation entitled “Investigating Cilia Function in Mouse Models of Pediatric Disease” to visiting Briar Cliff University. During their visit, he also promoted research opportunities for graduate and undergraduate students at Sanford Research.

October 2015, Dr. Lance Lee was a special invited guest at the Hydrocephalus Association Vision Dinner in New York, NY. His research project funded by the Hydrocephalus Association was highlighted at the dinner, which is designed to raise awareness about hydrocephalus and promote hydrocephalus research and treatment.

September 2015, Dr. Lance Lee received the Hydrocephalus Association Innovator Award grant for a project aimed at identifying genes that influence susceptibility to congenital hydrocephalus.