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Lee Lee

Professor, Biology

Science Hall 108
BS, National Taiwan University (Taiwan)
MS, Hunter College
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Dr. Lee H. Lee, professor of Biology & Molecular Biology, is a microbiologist specialized in Molecular Microbiology, Medical Microbiology and Environmental Microbiology. I teach undergraduate biology major courses including Microbiology (BIOL 350), Independent Study (BIOL 418), Externship in Biological Research (BIOL 409) and Medical Microbiology (BIOL 450); General Education Requirement courses including Biology of Human Life (BIOL 110); graduate courses including Topics in Microbiology (BIOL 550), Microbial Physiology (BIOL 554) and Introduction to Biological Research (BIOL 599). I am an undergraduate adviser and a co-op adviser.

I have been awarded the University Distinguished Teacher Award and Excellence In Education Award. I am a Margaret and Herman Sokol Faculty Fellow as well as Judy and Josh Weston and Family Mentor Faculty Fellow. I have served as a National Institutes of Health (NIH) / National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) R01 Reviewer. I have published 37 peer-reviewed articles and more than 200 abstracts in National and Regional conferences. All my research projects involve graduate and undergraduate students. Many of them have co-authored the papers and abstracts with me.


Molecular Microbiology
Medical Microbiology
Environmental Microbiology
Heavy metal effects on cyanobacteria


Office Hours


11:15 am - 12:30 pm
11:15 am - 12:30 pm

Research Projects

Using Microorganisms as Environmental Indicators to Study Heavy Metal Contamination

Studies on the effect of many heavy metals on the growth of Anacystis nidulans and Chlamydomonas have carried out. Many heavy metals such as
Mercury, Cadmium, Cobalt, Copper, Lead and Aluminum etc. have been used in this study. The chelating agent EDTA was also monitored to study
its effect on the toxicity of these heavy metals to A. nidulans and Chlamydomonas cells. Light microscopy and Scanning Electron Microscopy studies
have shown changes in the morphology. Fluorometer study is also used as a mean of determining photosynthetic efficiency under stressed conditions.

Molecular Cloning and Sequence Analysis of Cyanophage AS-1

Anacystis nidulans is a freshwater unicellular cyanobacteria (blue-green algae) that frequently causes algal blooms. These blooms pose a threat to
aquatic ecosystems, causing oxygen depletion and eutrophication in freshwater lakes. No satisfactory means for their prediction or prevention is
currently available. It has been suggested that cyanophage (cyanobacteria virus) is a regulatory agent and may be responsible for the disappearance
of algal blooms. Cyanophage AS-1 infects Anacystis nidulans and Synechoccus cedrorum (another unicellular cyanobacteria). The effects of
Clorox and Parvosol on AS-1 were studied and the results suggested that AS-1 is very resistant to both disinfectants. This establishes the possibility
of using this virus as an environmental probe. A clone library of AS-1 DNA has been created and many inserts have been characterized and
sequenced. These sequences were sent to GenBank to check for homology. We intend to work on all the inserts and sequence them. Specific
probes have be designed and used for the identification of AS-1.

A Study on Cyanophage AS-1 Capsid Proteins

Cyanophage AS-1 is a virus which infects the unicellular cyanobacteria Anacystis nidulans and Synechococcus cedrorum. Recent interest in the virus
centers on its role as a possible control agent for dense algal blooms in polluted lakes. The viral capsid is similar to the T-even class bacteriophage
in that it is approximately 100 nM in diameter with a long filamentous tail. While the overall structure of the capsid has been determined by electron
microscopy, the size and number of the protein components which compose the capsid are unknown.

We have carried out a project to isolate and purify AS-1 viral proteins using a modified PEG precipitation protocol followed by chloroform extraction.
The resulting proteins will then separated by electrophoresis through a 10% SDS-polyacrylamide gel. The size of the capsid proteins can be determined
by comparison with known protein molecular weight standards. Capsid proteins of bacteriophage T-4 will also be isolated and purified using the same
technique, and comparative homology of these proteins to AS-1 will be studied. Some preliminary study have been done and suggested that proteins
ranging in size from 96 to 14 kilo Daltons. This result agrees with previous results obtained for T-even bacteriophage.

Isolation of Novel Bacteria Associated with Marine Algae and Screening for Possible Antibiotics/ Antiviral Substances

Increasing resistance to antibiotics by bacteria has become a major problem for the health and pharmaceutical industry. Since seaweed have shown
effectiveness as a source of antibacterial and antiviral substances, we have begun to explore the novel bacteria which inhabit the surface of these plants
(epiphytic). We hope to isolate and purify new antimicrobial substances produced by novel marine bacteria. The process of screening the isolated
bacterial colonies for the production of active substances is very time consuming, labor intensive and can be best be done with student participation.
For the past year, we have begun this process and the results are beginning to be seen in terms of identifying the bacterial cultures which show promise.