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Teresa Lee

Teresa Lee

Teresa Lee
Teresa Lee Assistant Professor


Epigenetics, longevity, chromatin, molecular genetics

Research Interests

Epigenetics of longevity, Chromatin, Genetics, Cell Biology, Development

Our lab studies the epigenetics of complex traits: how genomes are packaged into chromatin, how chromatin landscapes are passed from one generation to the next, and how this transgenerational inheritance affects phenotypes like aging and fertility. Using the tractable model nematode C. elegans, we integrate molecular and classical genetic techniques with genomics and high-resolution microscopy.

Previously, we discovered that heritable changes in chromatin landscapes can have profound physiological consequences - for example, animals live longer when they inherit high levels of repressive chromatin from their ancestors. Future work will define how the transgenerational inheritance of chromatin affects gene expression throughout an organism's life cycle. These projects will allow us to uncover general principles of how heritable chromosome structure regulates gene expression. We think the best science is done in an inclusive and supportive environment, and welcome those from all backgrounds, at all training stages.


  • Postdoc: Cell Biology, (2020), Emory University
  • PhD: Molecular & Cell Biology, (2014), University of California, Berkeley
  • BS: Biology, (2007), University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Selected Awards and Honors

  • NIH IRACDA-FIRST Postdoctoral Fellowship (2017)
  • ASCB PALM Fellowship (2016)
  • NSF Graduate Research Fellowship (2012)

Selected Publications

  • Ananthaswamy, D.*, Croft, J. C.*, Woozencroft, N., Lee, T. W. (2022) C. elegans Gonad Dissection and Freeze Crack for Immunofluorescence and DAPI Staining. Journal of Visualized Experiments. doi: 10.3791/64204. 
    • * denotes equal contribution
  • Carpenter, B.S., Lee, T.W., Plott, C.F., Rodriguez, J.D., Brockett, J.S., Myrick, D.A., Katz D.J. (2021) Caenorhabditis elegans establishes germline versus soma by balancing inherited histone methylation. Development:148(3):dev196600. doi: 10.1242/dev.196600.
  • Lee, T.W., Katz, D.J. (2020). Hansel, Gretel, and the Consequences of Failing to Remove Histone Methylation Breadcrumbs. Trends in Genetics,36(3) 160--176.
  • Lee, T.W., David, H.S., Engstrom, A.K., Carpenter, B.S., Katz, D.J. (2019). Repressive H3K9me2 protects lifespan against the transgenerational burden of COMPASS activity in C. elegans. eLife,8 e48498.
  • Lee, T.W., Carpenter, B.S., Birol, O., Katz, D.J., Schmeichel, K.L. (2019). The Pipeline CURE: An Iterative Approach to Introduce All Students to Research Throughout a Biology Curriculum. CourseSource, (
  • Lee, T.W., Grogan, K.E., Liepkalns, J.S. (2017). Making evolution stick: using sticky notes to teach the mechanisms of evolutionary change. Evolution: Education and Outreach,10(1) 11.

Selected Contracts, Fellowships, Grants and Sponsored Research

  • Linking transgenerational epigenetic inheritance to gene expression and lifespan in C. elegans (2021) NIH R15, Principal Investigator
  • Chromatin-mediated maintenance of genomic integrity in germ cells (2021) NIH R15, Co-Investigator