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Lab Members

Michael LeeMichael J. Lee, PhD

Associate Professor, Program in Systems Biology

Office: AS5.1047
Phone: 774-455-3870

Bio: Mike is a native of Seattle and a proud UW Husky alum. He obtained his PhD in Pharmacology from UNC at Chapel Hill in 2008 working with Henrik Dohlman, and completed a postdoctoral fellowship at MIT, working with Michael Yaffe. Mike joined the faculty at UMMS in late 2013. He enjoys playing basketball, drinking great bourbon, and is an avid (but mediocre) skier. 

Scientific Interests: breast cancer therapy; combinatorial drug responses; signaling network dynamics; non-canonical cell death; the DNA Damage Response.

Associate Professor - Department of Systems Biology (link)
Associate Professor - Program in Molecular Medicine (link)
Affiliated Faculty - Department of Molecular, Cell and Cancer Biology (link)

Member - Center for Cancer Systems Biology (CCSB) at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
For more information about CCSB see: (

  • Gavin Birdsall

    Gavin Birdsall

    Graduate Student (GSBS)

    Gavin is from Southbury, CT. He attended the University of Connecticut, where he graduated with a degree in Physiology and Neurobiology, with a minor in Math. Prior to graduate school, he worked in the LoTurco Lab, where he studied tumor heterogeneity in a mouse model of supratentorial ependymoma, a rare glial tumor. He joined the lab in 2022 and is using functional genomic strategies to understand different ways in which dysregulated gene expression causes cell death. When he’s not in the lab, Gavin might be found gaming, playing the guitar or piano, tending to his many plants, or woodworking. In fact, he made most of his furniture himself!

  • Rachel Fontana

    Rachel Fontana

    Graduate Student (GSBS, Bioinformatics)

    Rachel is from Downingtown, PA. She moved to Massachusetts as an undergraduate to attend Northeastern University, where she studied Biochemistry. Prior to starting grad school, Rachel worked at EMD Serono, exploring biomarkers for cancer immunotherapies. She joined the Lee Lab in 2020 and is focused on exploring cell non-autonomous regulation of cell death in the context of cancer therapies. Outside of the lab, Rachel enjoys running, baking, cooking, and defending all things Philadelphia (even the Eagles!).

  • Nick Harper

    Nick Harper

    Graduate Student (GSBS, IGP)

    Nick grew up in Wellesley, MA. He graduated from University of Vermont, where he studied Mathematics. After graduating, he worked in Kornelia Polyak’s lab at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute, where he gained valuable experience as a bioinformatician studying breast cancer. Nick joined the Lee Lab in 2020 and is exploring new strategies for characterizing the mechanisms of action for anti-cancer drugs. In his spare time, Nick enjoys mountain biking, and pretending that he thinks Hannah is funny.

  • Megan Honeywell

    Megan Honeywell

    Graduate Student (GSBS, IGP)

    Megan is from Dunstable, MA, by way of Lubbock, TX. She studied Biochemistry at U. of New Hampshire, then following graduation worked for a year at Affinivax, helping to develop a vaccine for bacterial nosocomial infections. Her research interests are in the area of cancer biology and cancer therapy. She joined the lab in 2018 and is using genetic screening approaches to understand mechanisms of non-apoptotic cell death. Megan is an artist at heart, and outside of the lab she might be found painting, sculpting, or finding other ways to explore her artistic side.

  • Ozen Leylek

    Ozen Leylek

    Visiting Graduate Student (Fulbright Scholar)

    Ozen is currently a fourth year student and PhD candidate at Koc University, in Istanbul, Turkey. She received a scholarship through the Fulbright Program to work towards the completion of her PhD studies in the Lee lab. Ozen is originally from Antalya, a city on the southern coast of Turkey. Her project involves developing new strategies to improve the efficacy of combination chemotherapies. Outside of the lab, Ozen is a committed mentor to undergraduate women who aim to pursue careers in science. She also loves playing volleyball and gardening.

  • Hannah Schwartz

    Hannah Schwartz

    Graduate Student (GSBS, IGP)

    Hannah hails from Ramsey, NJ and was an undergraduate at Tufts University. At Tufts she studied Biochemistry and was a member of the Kritzer Lab, where her research focused on SH2 domains. Hannah joined the Lee Lab in 2018. Her work is focused on developing drug combinations that maximize the benefit of cancer immunotherapies. Outside of the lab, Hannah is an avid runner and a horseback-riding enthusiast. She was also a member of the Tufts Equestrian Team that competed at IHSA nationals for the first time in 25 years. Go Jumbos!