USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center

Amy S. Lee, PhD

Associate Director, Shared Resources

Amy S. Lee, Ph.D., is the Associate Director for Shared Resources at USC Norris. Dr. Lee earned her doctorate in Biology and Biophysics in 1975 from Caltech, with a major emphasis on fundamental knowledge of DNA, protein and cells. Lee, Professor of Biochemistry & Molecular Medicine and the Judy and Larry Freeman Cosmetics Chair in Basic Science in Cancer Research, is noted for her pioneering research towards understanding the molecular mechanisms that mammalian cells use to manage physiological and environmental stress – such as the stress of cancer. Her lab is the first to clone and study the regulation and function of the 78 kilodalton glucose regulated protein GRP78/BiP, which is a master molecular chaperone in the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) and a key regulator of ER homeostasis. 

Her laboratory combines biochemical and molecular approaches with mouse modeling studies to establish the critical role of GRP78 in cancer development, progression and therapeutic resistance. Through collaborations, she also established the importance of GRP78 in the development of other human diseases. Her lab is actively investigating therapeutics targeting GRP78 for applications in cancer. 

She has received an American Cancer Society Junior Faculty Research Award and Faculty Research Award, the USC University Scholar Award, and the National Cancer Institute’s MERIT Award. In recognition of her pioneering work on ER stress and its impact on cell and cancer biology, she was elected Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Sciences (AAAS) in 2006. She was the recipient of the Chinese American Faculty Association Achievement Award in 2008, the USC Mellon Mentor Award in 2012, the Phi Kappa Phi Faculty Recognition Award in 2015, the USC Associates Award for Creativity in Research and Scholarship in 2018,  the Mark Brothers Award, University of Indiana School of Medicine in 2019 and the Spirit of Budapest Pioneer Award, Cell Stress Society International in 2019.