Gertrude H. Sergievsky Center
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Faculty and Administrative Staff

Joseph H. Lee, DrPH

Joseph H. Lee, DrPH

Columbia University, College of Physicians and Surgeons
630 West 168th Street
New York, New York 10032

Phone: 212-305-6022

Joseph Lee is an Professor of Epidemiology (in the Gertrude H. Sergievsky Center) at the Columbia University Medical Center.

Biographical Sketch

I received my doctorate in genetic epidemiology from Columbia University. I then spent the next three years at the University of Pennsylvania as a postdoctoral scientist in genetics. Subsequently, I returned to Columbia University as an Assistant Professor.

Research Summary

I spend much of my time working on the genetics of Alzheimer disease (AD) and related aging traits. My group applies statistical genetics approaches to identify and characterize genes that may influence Alzheimer disease and cognition. I am closely involved in four AD genetics studies. First, we study Caribbean Hispanic families with multiple affected family members. Recently, we identified the Sortilin-related receptor SORL1 gene that increases the risk of AD. Second, we are looking at the genetics of neuroncognitive traits as endophenotypes to better understand the genetics of AD. This approach may allow us to examine how genetic factors influence sub-components of AD. Third, we have identified a handful of large families that have consanguineous marriages. With this study, we may have a better chance of finding a putative gene because affected offspring may be sharing the same genetic variant transmitted from a common ancestor. Lastly, we are involved in a multi-center AD family study. For this project, we have completed a genome wide search.

To better understand gene-environment interaction, we are studying ethnic Koreans living in different parts of the world. These ethnic Koreans share the common genetic make-up with Koreans elsewhere, but have been living in radically different environment. Further, these ethnic Koreans have been displaced involuntarily. Therefore, this is a rare natural experiment that will allow us to examine how genetic and environmental factors interact to affect common diseases.

Lastly, we work on a multi-center family study of exceptional survival. This study examines families in which more than one person survive to old (>90 years) age. From this study, we will be able to understand how and why these family members live long and healthy.


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Last updated: November 30, 2018
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