2022 Rhee Lab Outing on the Hornblower Cruise

Dr. Rhee is a molecular biologist who studies gene regulation during neural development. He is an assistant professor holding tenure-track faculty appointments in the Departments of Cell & Systems Biology (CSB), Biology (UTM), Neuroscience (CPIN), and Developmental Biology (CSDB) at the University of Toronto. His lab is addressing key questions to elucidate transcriptional and epigenetic regulatory mechanisms in normal and dysregulation of neurons associated with neurological disease. To answer these questions, his lab uses stem cells and mouse models combined with cutting-edge genomic mapping/editing techniques and computational approaches. He received numerous honors and awards, including HHMI Fellowship, Helen Hay Whitney Foundation Fellowship, and Connaught New Researcher Award. He has recently secured competitive funding of over $2 million in direct research costs from various federal and private funding agencies such as CIHR, NSERC, CFI, Ontario Research Fund, and Connaught Fund as a principal investigator.

He received his Ph.D. from the Pennsylvania State University for a study of how genes are regulated by DNA-binding proteins across eukaryotic genomes. During his Ph.D. studies in Frank Pugh’s lab, he developed the ultra-high-resolution ChIP-exo mapping method. He received postdoctoral training in the Department of Pathology at Columbia University Medical Center, New York, where he worked with Dr. Hynek Wichterle on mammalian gene regulation in spinal motor neurons derived embryonic stem cells. Before he began his academic career, he served 3 years in the military. Outside of research, he enjoys hiking, horseback riding, playing and watching tennis. He is also a member of the Faculty Basketball Team in the UTM Intramural League.

"I enjoy working on various projects with lab members who are excited about a new genomic and epigenetic discovery. I also try to make my lab environment in which every lab member enjoy their research every day. Anyone who wants to learn and contribute to the rapidly developing fields of stem cell biology and genomics for neurodevelopmental discovery is encouraged to contact me"

He has expertiese in genomic analysis to examine functions of DNA-binding proteins related to neural development and disease. Notably, he developed a high-resolution genomic technique to detect protein-DNA interactions, ChIP-exo, which has revolutionized our understanding of gene regulation. This contribution is evidenced by the commercialization of this method through a world-top biotechnology company such as Active Motif, Inc. He has published 17 papers in top scientific journals, including first- or senior-authored papers in Nature, Cell, Neuron, and Nature Communications. His papers have been cited over 2,400 times. He has also served as a reviewer in journals and grants, such as Nature Communications, Frontiers in Genetics, Frontiers in Molecular Biosciences, CIHR Fellowship Awards, and CIHR Project Grant Program.

The Rhee Lab studies genomic mechanisms of neural development using stem cells, gene editing, and bioinformatics approaches. We have pioneered ultra-high-resolution genomic mapping methods for understanding regulatory mechanisms using deep sequencing and CRISPR genome editing systems. Our lab is located in William Davis Building DV1083, which is newly renovated to be more open and better facilitate communications between lab members and with other labs. The lab has equipped with cutting-edge instruments for stem cell differentiation, gene editing, chromatin shearing for next-generation sequencing, tissue sectioning, fluorescence imaging, nuclear transfection, and embryo electroporation. The lab is also supported by stellar core facilities for confocal imaging, stem cell culture, and mouse facility.


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