Siu Sylvia Lee
Professor in Molecular Biology and Genetics

Siu Sylvia Lee




Department of Molecular Biology & Genetics
339 Biotechnology Building
Cornell University
Ithaca, NY 14853-2703


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Siu Sylvia Lee is a professor in the Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics. She received a B.A. in Biochemistry from Rice University in 1995 and a Ph.D. from Baylor College of Medicine in 1999. She received her postdoctoral training at the Department of Molecular Biology of Massachusetts General Hospital & the Department of Genetics of Harvard Medical School, where she was awarded a Damon Runyon Cancer Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship.

She joined the faculty at Cornell in 2003. She is in the graduate fields of Genetics & Development, Biochemistry, Molecular, & Cell Biology, and Nutrition. Her research is supported by the National Institute of Aging and the Ellison Medical Foundation. She teaches BioBM/BioGD/Tox437: Regulation of Cell Proliferation, Senescence, and Death.

Research Description

Although aging is a universal process, little is known about its molecular underpinnings.  Our laboratory is interested in elucidating the conserved molecular pathways that modulate longevity.  Emerging research has revealed longevity determinants capable of regulating aging in diverse organisms, from yeast, to invertebrates, to mammals, highlighting the high degree of conservation in the molecular mechanisms that govern longevity.  Our research focuses on using the powerful genetic model round worm Caenorhabditis elegans to identify and functionally characterized the evolutionarily conserved genetic determinants important for longevity.  As a long term goal, we hope to test whether our findings in C. elegans also hold true in other diverse organisms, including fruit flies and mice.  A better understanding of the mechanistic basis of aging will have important implications for the prevention and treatment of many crippling age-dependent diseases, such as cancer, late onset diabetes, and neurodegeneration. more

Selected Publications

G. Rizki, T. Iwata, J. Li, C. Riedel, C. Picard, M. Jan, C. Murphy, S. S. Lee. 2011. The Evolutionarily Conserved Longevity Determinants HCF-1 and SIR-2.1/SIRT1 Collaborate to Regulate DAF-16/FOXO. PLoS Genetics, in press.

L. Walter, A. Baruah, H.W. Chang, H. Pace, S. S. Lee. 2011. The Homeobox Protein CEH-23 Mediates Prolonged Longevity in Response to Impaired Mitochondrial Electron Transport Chain in C. elegans. PLoS Biology, 9(6): e1001084.

C. Yang, D. Chen, S. S. Lee*, L. Walter* (*co-corresponding authors). 2011. The dynamin-related protein DRP-1 and the insulin signaling pathway cooperate to modulate C. elegans longevity. Aging Cell, 10(4): 724-8.

A. de Lencastre, Z. Pincus, K. Zhou, M. Kato, S.S. Lee, F.J. Slack. 2010. MicroRNAs both promote and antagonize longevity in C. elegans. Curr. Biol. 20(24):2159-68.

Z. Ni and S. S. Lee. 2010. RNAi screens to identify components of gene networks that modulate aging in Caenorhabditis elegans. Brief Funct Genomics and Proteomics, 9(1):53-64. (Review)

L. Walter and S. S. Lee. 2009. Mitochondria as a Key Determinant of Aging. Encyclopedia of Life Sciences. (Review)

N. Liachko, R. Davidowitz, and S. S. Lee. 2009. Combined informatic and expression screen identifies the novel DAF-16 target HLH-13. Dev. Biol. 327(1):97-105.

J. Li, A. Ebata, Y. Dong, G. Rizki, T. Iwata, and S. S. Lee.  2008. C. elegans HCF-1 functions in longevity maintenance as a DAF-16 regulator.  PLoS Biology, 2008 Sep 30;6(9):e233.

J. Li, M. Tewari, M. Vidal, and S. S. Lee.  2007.  The 14-3-3 protein FTT-2 regulates DAF-16 in Caenorhabditis elegans.  Dev. Biol. 301(1):82-91. 

E.R. Troemel, S.W. Chu, V. Reinke, S. S. Lee*, F.M. Ausubel*, D.H. Kim.*  (*equal contribution)  2006.  p38 MAPK Regulates Expression of Immune Response Genes and Contributes to Longevity in C. elegansPLoS Genet. 2(11):e183.

Lee, S. S.  2006.  Whole genome RNAi screens for increased longevity: Important new insights but not the whole story.  (Review)  Exp Gerontol. 41(10):968-73.

Lee, S. S.  2005.  Interfering with longevity.  (Perspective)  Sci Aging Knowledge Environ. 2005(35): pe26. 

Hamilton, B., Dong, Y., Shindo, M., Liu, W., Odell, I., Ruvkun, G.*, Lee, S. S.(*equal contribution)  2005.  A systematic RNAi screen for longevity genes in C. elegans.  Genes Dev. 19(13): 1544-55. 

Lee, S. S., Kennedy, S., Tolonen, A., and Ruvkun, G.  2003.  DAF-16 target genes that control C. elegans lifespan and metabolism.  Science, 300: 644-647.

Lee, S. S., Lee, R. Y. N., Fraser, A. G., Kamath, R. S., Ahringer, J., and Ruvkun, G.  2003.  A systematic RNAi screen reveals a critical role for mitochondria in C. elegans longevity.  Nature Genetics 33: 40-48. 

Click here to view Dr. Lee's PubMed listings.