Dr Heather Lee

Heather completed her PhD at the Garvan Institute of Medical Research where she investigated hormonal control of mammary gland development and breast cancer. Her research focused on the transcription factor, Elf5, which plays key roles in breast development during pregnancy and acquisition of anti-oestrogen resistance in breast cancer. After discovering lineage-specific DNA methylation of the Elf5 promoter in the mammary epithelium, Heather decided to undertake post-doctoral research in the field of epigenetics.

In 2012, Heather relocated to Cambridge, UK, where she joined the laboratory of Professor Wolf Reik. Using mouse embryonic stem cells as an experimental model, Heather revealed unprecedented dynamic heterogeneity in DNA methylation. Heather also developed ground-breaking sequencing technologies for the parallel analysis of genome-wide DNA methylation and gene expression in the same single cell. This achievement has established Heather as a pioneer in the field of single-cell epigenomics.

Heather joined the University of Newcastle in February 2017, and is establishing a research group at the Hunter Medical Research Institute. Her goal is to make meaningful contributions to cancer research by revealing intra-tumoural epigenetic heterogeneity.