Nam Y Lee, PhD

Cancer Biology Program


Dr. Lee received his doctoral degree in Biophysical Chemistry from the University of Iowa in 2005. After his postdoctoral studies at Duke University joined the faculty at the Ohio State University in 2011, where he was promoted with tenure. In 2017, he joined the faculty at University of Arizona as an Associate Professor. Dr. Lee has been a recipient of multiple awards, including the Department of Defense Breast Cancer Research Fellowship (2002-2004), the Duke Medical Oncology Research Fellowship (2006-2007), an F32 Postdoctoral Fellowship (2008-2010), and a K99/R00 NIH Career Development Award from the National Heary Lung and Blood Institutte (2011-2014). Dr. Lee also garnered the Duke University Bell Award in Basic Cancer Research (2009).

Cancer Focus

Defects in TGF-b signaling often give rise to tumorigenic and aggressive metastatic phenotypes in most cancers. A major part of our long-term goals is to gain a fundamental understanding of how TGF-b exploits highly context-dependent gene regulation as well as transcription-independent processes to differentially regulate tumor cell behavior and its microenvironment. Our recent efforts involving quantitative proteomics and mass spectrometry-based interactome analyses have unveiled new facets of TGF-b signaling including critical roles for Smads and TAK1 in mitochondrial and microtubule dynamics. Current projects explore how these and other key TGF-b effectors contribute to bioenergetic and cytoskeletal dysfunction in cancer and metabolic disorders.