Advisory Board

Professor Changhan David Lee

Changhan David Lee, Ph.D. is an Assistant Professor of Gerontology in the School of Gerontology at the University of Southern California and the lead of the David Lee Lab where he is investigating how mitochondria communicate and regulate biological processes at the cellular and organismal level. He also studies metabolic regulation of aging and age-related diseases, with a special emphasis on mitochondrial biology.

Before becoming an Assistant Professor in 2014, he was Research Assistant Professor for almost two years, since September 2012. Previously, he was Adjunct Assistant Professor and Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA).

David earned his Ph.D in Genetics, Molecular, and Cellular Biology in 2010 from the Keck School of Medicine, University of Southern California. He earned his Bachelor’s degree of Science in Microbiology from the University of Washington in 2004. He concluded his Postdoctoral training at UCLA in 2012.

In 2013, David won the Ellison Medical Foundation’s New Scholar in Aging Award. One of the most prestigious accolades in the field, the New Scholar in Aging Award pays up to $100,000 per year for four years to help newly independent researchers of exceptional promise study the biology of aging and aging-related diseases.

Watch David explain how his laboratory studies how cancers manipulate mitochondrial-encoded genes to overcome normal cell regulation and how these genes can be targeted for cancer therapy and diagnosis.

In short, David explains his research as follows,

We have two genomes in our body — the mitochondrial and the nuclear genome. All known genes that regulate lifespan and healthspan are encoded in the nuclear genome. We strive to explore the other half of our genomes (i.e. the mitochondrial genome), which has been in our blind spot, for novel genes that may influence how we age.

… and what inspired David to follow the aging research,

Physiological deteriorations that occur with time are often collectively referred to as the “aging process”, and aging is the major risk factor for many diseases. As long as I can remember, I liked the comprehensiveness of the field and the sense that aging research may unveil the fundamental processes of life. It was exhilarating that science was finally revealing the secrets of aging, an ancient quest that was only the topic of numerous myths. Understanding the biology of aging seemed, and still seems, to be a paradigm-shifting and a logical approach to improving human health.

Read the news about Mighty mitochondria flex their DNS power, Mitochondrial DNA Talks Back to Nuclear DNA, and Mitochondrial and Nuclear Genomes Cross-Regulate Each Other, Study Finds.

Read the paper The Mitochondrial-Derived Peptide MOTS-c Promotes Metabolic Homeostasis and Reduces Obesity and Insulin Resistance.

Visit his LinkedIn profile and his company webpage. Read and follow his work and research at his Google Scholar and ResearchGate profiles.