The Lees lab investigates genes that determine cancer development and progression, with particular focus on regulators that control stem cell functions and/or the decision to proliferate versus differentiate.

Pigment producing cells interacting on a zebrafish scale.  Melanocytes are the darker and more heterogenous cells that receive the repulsive cues from the yellow xanthophores.
Overexpression of the mutant GNAQ oncogene leads to excessive pigmentation around blood vessels, as demonstrated around the gills.
The Lees Lab dressed as “Holliday Junctions” for the 2018 Koch Retreat costume party
The E2F4 protein is implicated in controlling cell proliferation in normal cells and in tumors but in the airway  it is essential for development of ciliated cells, which are shown here.
Visualizing cell death in a lung tumor (Masson’s trichrome staining)