Lance Lee, PhD, Lab

Primary Research Focus

Dr. Lee Bio

Our 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, we hope to advance the diagnosis and treatment of these disorders.


Lance Lee
  • Assistant Scientist in the Children's Health Research Center
  • Assiociate 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
  • PhD 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 our laboratory, we use 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. We are also seeking to better understand the molecular mechanisms that regulate ciliary motility by applying cutting-edge biochemical and cell biological techniques to ciliated cells and disease models. As 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

February 2017, Lance Lee, PhD, attended the Gordon Research Conference on Cilia, Mucus & Mucociliary Interactions in Galveston, TX. Scientists shared new data pertaining to cilia biology, mucus secretion, and mucociliary clearance. They also discussed how these processes influence diseases ranging from the common cold, asthma, rhinosinusitus, chronic obstructive lung disease and genetic diseases like cystic fibrosis and primary ciliary dyskinesia.

October 2016,Dr. Lee received the best presentation award for a poster entitled "Gene expression analysis in PCD mouse brains reveals strain-specific differences relevant to cilia function and congenital hydrocephalus" during the 2016 PCD on the Move! Conference in Minneapolis, MN.

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.