MDI Biological Laboratory

Meet Our Postdocs: Jun-Yeong Lee, Ph.D.

Jun-Yeong Lee, Ph.D. is a postdoctoral researcher in the Beck Lab. He studies how cells age, with a particular interest in structural changes in the nuclei and how they contribute to age-related degeneration.

During Dr. Jun-Yeong Lee’s graduate career at Seoul National University, he discovered genes in a species of lactic acid bacteria that are responsible for preventing infection in animals, such as livestock. After completing his Ph.D., Jun-Yeong wanted to expand his knowledge of data mining and big data analysis,  and shift his focus to mammals instead of bacteria.

Jun-Yeong’s mentor, Sam Beck, Ph.D., uses big data analytics and experimental validation to decipher the biological processes that regulate genes and how they are associated with human disease and aging, such as in progeria (a genetic disorder that causes rapid aging in children), which is Beck’s primary interest. Jun-Yeong explains that the Beck Lab’s research focus was a perfect fit.

One of the cellular features of aging is that nuclei lose their normal structure during aging. The nucleus is circular in young and healthy condition, but it shrinks during aging. Jun-Yeong’s research focuses on how these structural changes contribute to age-related degeneration. So far, it has been discovered that disruption of of the nuclear structure causes dysregulation in specific genes that are responsible for certain tissues and that, in turn, causes degeneration.

Arriving at MDI Biological Laboratory in late 2017 was Jun-Yeong’s first time in the United States – a challenging transition for anyone. He cites the welcoming, family-like atmosphere at MDIBL as key to helping with that transition. “Now I want to repay the kindness, so I am trying to help other people who come to MDIBL from foreign countries feel more comfortable,” he says. MDI Biological Laboratory is dedicated to growing our postdoctoral research program and expanding the support postdocs like Jun-Yeong receive.

A postdoctoral position requires a $100,000 investment each year. While some federal funding opportunities exist, independent financial support is vital to allowing postdoctoral researchers to complete their last stage of training while they close in on discovering the fundamental nature of aging and regeneration. Jun-Yeong is very thankful for the support he’s received at MDI Biological Laboratory: “Your support has helped my lab concentrate on our research and contribute to a better understanding of aging and age-related degenerative changes and diseases. We owe it to you.”

Jun-Yeong and his fellow trainees are working hard to create a future where everyone can enjoy better health as they age. If you’d like to support the next generation of science, please donate today. Thank you.