Doernbecher Children's Hospital

Soo-Kyung Lee Pediatric Research Lab

Soo Lee Lab

Unraveling the processes that generate the numerous neuronal subtypes and establish their appropriate connections to form a functional CNS is one of the main challenges in neuroscience today. Particularly, decoding the gene regulatory network responsible for neuronal subtype specification is a fundamental step toward understanding the CNS development and advancing methods to generate specific neurons in regenerative medicine. 

Our goal is to develop a comprehensive map of the complex gene regulatory networks that direct cell-fate specification and assembly of neuro-circuits. Our major model systems include the spinal cord, which consists of distinct classes of neurons to assemble motor and sensory circuits, and the arcuate nucleus of the hypothalamus, which forms a core neuro-circuitry that mediates actions of peripheral adiposity-signals, leptin and insulin, for energy balance.

Dr. Lee's lab is focused on two CNS disorders: FoxG1 syndrome and Kabuki syndrome. The FoxG1 gene encodes a transcription factor that plays critical roles in forebrain development. Mutations or duplication of this gene result in 'FoxG1 syndrome', also known as 'congenital Rett-like syndrome'. We have recently initiated a major effort to understand the molecular basis of this syndrome in a hope to find treatment for this devastating neurodevelopmental disorder.