Grace YuhChwen Lee

picture of Grace YuhChwen Lee

Assistant Professor, Ecology & Evolutionary Biology
School of Biological Sciences

Ph.D., University of California, Davis, 2012, Population Genetics


University of California, Irvine
5207 McGaugh Hall
Mail Code: 2525
Irvine, CA 92697
Research Interests
population genetics, evolutionary genomics, epigenomics, transposable elements
Academic Distinctions
2017-2022 NIH K99/R00 Pathway to Independence Award
2016 DeLill Nasser Award, Genetics Society of America
2015 Chicago Biomedical Consortium Postdoctoral Research Award
2014-2016 NIH Ruth L. Kirschstein NRSA Postdoctoral Fellowship
2010-2012 NSF Doctoral Dissertation Improvement Grant
2010 Daphne and Ted Pengelley Award in Evolutionary Biology, UC Davis
2007-2009 Center for Population Biology Research Award, UC Davis
2007 UCD & Humanities Graduate Research Award, UC Davis
2012-2015 University of Chicago, Postdoctoral Fellow
2015-2019 Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Postdoctoral Fellow
Research Abstract
I study the molecular and cellular mechanisms shaping genome evolution. My current work focuses on a substantial component of most eukaryotic genomes, transposable elements, and aims to understand how these widespread and variable genomic parasites influence health and the myriad diversity of life. To achieve this, I combine diverse approaches from population genomics, epigenomics, computational biology, and chromosome biology.
Choi, J.C. and Y.C.G. Lee. Double-edged sword: the evolutionary consequences of the epigenetic silencing of transposable elements. in press in PLoS Genetics

Lee, Y.C.G., Y. Ogiyama, D. Acevedo, N.C. Martins, B.J. Beliveau, C.T. Wu, G. Cavalli, and G.H. Karpen. (2020) Pericentromeric heterochromatin is hierarchically organized and spatially contacts H3K9me2/3 islands located in euchromatic genome. PLoS Genetics 16 (3), e1008673.

Mills, W.K., Y.C.G. Lee, A.M. Kochendoerfer, E.M. Dunleavy, and G.H. Karpen. (2019) RNA transcribed from heterochromatic simple-tandem repeats are required for male fertility and histone-protamine exchange in Drosophila melanogaster. eLife 8.

Lee, Y.C.G., I.M. Ventura, G.R. Rice, D.Y. Chen, and M. Long. (2019) Rapid evolution of gained essential developmental functions of a young gene via interactions with other essential genes. Molecular Biology and Evolution 36 (10), 2212-2226

Lee, Y.C.G. and M.T. Levine (2017) Germline genome protection on an evolutionary treadmill. Developmental Cell 43(1): 1-3.

Lee, Y.C.G. and G.H. Karpen (2017) Pervasive epigenetic effects of Drosophila euchromatic transposable elements impact their evolution. eLife 6:e25762.

Lee, Y.C.G.*, Q. Yang*, W. Chi*, W. Du, S.A. Turkson, C. Kemkemer, Z.Z. Zheng, X. Zhuang, and M. Long (2017) Genetic architecture of adult foraging behavior that is essential for the survival of Drosophila melanogaster. Genome Biology and Evolution 9 (5): 1357-1369. *equal contribution

Turissini, D.A., A.A. Comeault, G. Liu, Y.C.G. Lee, and D.R. Matute (2017) Drosophila hybrids have troubles finding food. Evolution 71-4:960-973.

Lee, Y.C.G., C. Leek, and M.T. Levine (2017) Recurrent innovation at genes required for telomere integrity in Drosophila. Molecular Biology and Evolution 34 (2): 467-482.

Lee, Y.C.G. (2015) The role of piRNA-mediated epigenetic silencing in the population dynamics of transposable elements in Drosophila melanogaster. PLoS Genetics 11(6): e1005269.

Lee, Y.C.G., C.H. Langley, and D.J. Begun (2014) Differential strengths of positive selection revealed by hitchhiking effects at small physical scales in Drosophila melanogaster. Molecular Biology and Evolution 31(4): 804-816.

Lee, Y.C.G.* and H.H. Chang* (2013) The evolution and functional significance of nested gene structures in Drosophila melanogaster. Genome Biology and Evolution 5(10):1978-1985. *equal contribution

Lee, Y.C.G. and C.H. Langley (2012) Long-term and short-term evolutionary impacts of transposable elements on Drosophila. Genetics 192(4):1411-32. (Issue Highlight)

Langley, C.H., K. Steven, C.M. Cardeno, Y.C.G. Lee, D.R. Schrider, J.E. Pool, S.A. Langley, C. Suarez, R. Detig-Corbet, B. Kolaczkowski, S. Fang, P.M. Nista, A.K. Holloway, A.D. Kern, C.N. Dewey, Y.S. Song, M.W. Hahn, and D.J. Begun (2012) Genomic variation in natural populations of Drosophila melanogaster. Genetics 192(2):533-98. (Issue Highlight, contributed the entire section of gene-based population and evolutionary genomic analysis.)

Levine, M.T., C. McCoy, D. Vermaak, Y.C.G. Lee, M.A. Hiatt, F.A. Matsen, and H.S. Malik (2012) Phylogenomic analysis reveals dynamic evolutionary history of the Drosophila heterochromatin protein 1 (HP1) gene family. PLoS Genetics 8(6): e1002729.

Lee, Y.C.G.* and J.A. Reinhardt* (2012) Widespread polymorphism in the positions of stop codons in Drosophila melanogaster. Genome Biology and Evolution 4(4):533-49. *equal contribution

Lee, Y.C.G. and C.H. Langley (2010) Transposable elements in natural populations of Drosophila melanogaster. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B 365: 1219-1228.
NIH K99/R00 Pathway to Independence Award
Professional Societies
Genetics Society of America
Society for Molecular Biology and Evolution
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