Behavioral Genetics Laboratory C. elegans has also been one of the most studied organisms in the world because of its use as a genetic model organism. In our lab we take advantage of these mutants and tools developed over decades and try to understand the complex ecological interaction between C. elegans and its environment, particularly its relationship with bacteria "
our lab uses the genetic model organism C. elegans to study several questions: Ecology - How do nematodes interact with other organisms and the environment at the genetic and molecular level?
Behavior  -  How does an organism use their sense of smell to navigate their environment? We explore the genetics of odor adaptation – a simple model for memory in the nematode – and other sensory behaviors. Space - How does gravity affect development and behavior of an animal? Learn basics about C. elegans  here or at  Wiki. Learn more about our research here!!
C. ELEGANS ECOLOGY : With the onset of the genomic era, a new opportunity to study ecology at the genetic level is just dawning. In the Lee lab we use C. elegans genetics to study how the worm interacts with its environment and other organisms at the gene level. Our ultimate goal is to understand how nematodes use their genes to gain fitness advantages in nature. We are studying C. elegans ecology at several levels:
1. Interaction between C. elegans and bacteria
C. elegans lives with and eats bacteria of all kinds. Along with providing nutrition for the worm, chemicals produced by the bacteria can affect C. elegans development, behavior and physiology. In our lab we are studying a bacterial metabolite called violacein produced by many types of bacteria. Violacein affects C. elegans biology by altering development and decreasing lifespan. We are investigating how violacein affects nematode biology at the genetic and cell biology level. (picture) (paper)
2. C. elegans behavioral ecology
C. elegans performs various sensory behaviors that allow worms to find food and avoid dangers in nature. C. elegans is most often found in rotting fruit and vegetation. In our lab, we are studying rotten fruit environments in which nematodes like C. elegans are found. For instance, we found nematodes living amongst lactic acid bacteria in yuzu fruit, a citrus fruit found in Korea. Using a combination of genetics, microbiology, and biochemistry we showed that lactic acid bacteria produce the odor diacetyl when grown on yuzu fruit, an odor that worms are attracted to and can sense using the diacetyl odor receptor ODR-10. Thus, nematodes can track and follow odors produced by bacteria to find their next meal. 
3. Studying C. elegans in 3-D.
In the lab C. elegans is cultivated on an agar plate, whereas in nature C. elegans lives in soil or rotten fruits. Thus, the worms’ natural habitat is three dimensional rather than a flat 2D world as in the lab. We developed a system in our lab to cultivate worms in 3D called NGT-3D to study C. elegans development and behavior in three dimensions. By using behavioral analysis and video technology, we are assessing worm behavior in 3D, and trying to relate these behaviors to reproductive fitness and evolution. (pic) (paper)
C. ELEGANS IN SPACE
Our future may be beyond this planet. However, before we travel throughout the galaxy and colonize other planets, we must understand how environments outside our Earth’s atmosphere are affecting our biology.
How do changes in gravity affect our bodies and development? We are currently performing experiments to understand how high or low gravity can affect C. elegans neuronal development and axon guidance. Using molecular biology and microscopy, we are finding that high gravity conditions can alter neuronal development in worms. Our question now is how can gravity affect axon guidance. We are also beginning to assess how low gravity can affect neuron development, and eventually hope to conduct experiments in space. (pic) (abstracts)
C. ELEGANS ODOR MEMORY
Worms may seem like simple organisms, but they can remember many things such as cultivation temperature, toxic foods, and smells. C. elegans odor memory involves gene expression changes in olfactory sensory neurons that result from epigenetic and RNAi-mediated modifications. In our lab we are interested in identifying how epigenetics can regulate odor memory, memory extinction, and odor behaviors in general. (pic)
TITLE & DESCRIPTION WHO LINK
Cultivation of Caenorhabditis elegans in Three Dimensions in the Laboratory
JoVE, 2016 Dec 12;118: e55048, doi:10.3791/55048
Lee TY, Yoon KH, Lee JI http://www.jove.com/video/55048/cultivation-caenorhabditis-elegans-three-dimensions

Hypergravity hinders axonal development of motor neurons in Caenorhabditis elegans
PeerJ. 2016 Nov 3;4:e2666
Kalichamy SS, Lee TY, Yoon KH, Lee JI https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27833821

NGT-3D: a simple nematode cultivation system to study Caenorhabditis elegans biology in 3D.
Biol Open. 2016 Apr 15;5(4):529-34
Lee TY, Yoon KH, Lee JI https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26962047

A natural odor attraction between lactic acid bacteria and the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans
ISME J. 2015 Aug 4. doi: 10.1038/ismej.2015.134
Choi JI, Yoon KH, Kalichamy SS, Yoon SS, Lee JI www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26241504

The anti-hypertensive drug reserpine induces neuronal cell death through inhibition of autophagic flux. Biochem Biophys Res Commun
2015 Jul 10;462(4):402-8
Lee KI, Kim MJ, Koh H, Lee JI, Namkoong S, Oh WK, Park J www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25976674
The integral membrane protein ITM2A, a transcriptional target of PKA-CREB, regulates autophagic flux via interaction with the vacuolar ATPase. Autophagy
2015;11(5):756-68
Namkoong S, Lee KI, Lee JI, Park R, Lee EJ, Jang IS, Park J www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25951193
Violacein: Properties and Production of a Versatile Bacterial Pigment Bio Med Res Intl.
2015 (2015), Article ID 465056, 8 pages
Seong Yeol Choi, Kyoung-hye Yoon, Jin Il Lee, and Robert J. Mitchell www.hindawi.com/journals/bmri/2015/465056/
A role for peroxidasin PXN-1 in aspects of C.elegans development. Mol Cells
2015 Jan 31;38(1):51-7
Lee J, Bandyopadhyay J, Lee JI, Cho I, Park D, Cho JH www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25475546
The multiple faces of calcineurin signaling in Caenorhabditis elegans: development, behaviour and aging. J Biosci.
2013 Jun;38(2):417-31
Lee JI, Mukherjee S, Yoon KH, Dwivedi M, Bandyopadhyay J www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23660677
Changes In cGMP levels affect the localization of EGL-4 in AWC neurons In Caenorhabditis elegans
2012 PLOS One 7(2):e31614
O’Halloran DM, Hamilton OS, Lee JI, Gallegos M, L’Etoile ND www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22319638
CNP-1(ARRD-17), a Novel Substrate of Calcineurin, Is Critical for Modulation of Egg-Laying and Locomotion in Response to Food and Lysine Sensation in Caenorhabditis elegans
2013 J Mol Biol 30;417(3):165-78
Jee C, Choi TW, Kalichamy K, Yee JZ, Song HO, Ji YJ, Lee J, Lee JI, L’etoile ND, Ahnn J, Lee SK www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22300764
Nuclear translocation of cGMP-dependent kinase EGL-4 switches transient into long-lasting olfactory adaptation in C. elegans
2010 Proc Natl Acad Sci 107(13):6016-21
Lee JI, O’Halloran DM, Eastham-Anderson JE, Juang B, Kaye JA, Hamilton OS, Goga A, L’Etoile ND www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20220099
Regulators of AWC-mediated olfactory plasticity in C. elegans
2009 PLoS Genet 5(12):e1000761
O’Halloran DM, Altshuler-Keylin S, Lee JI, L’Etoile ND www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20011101
Calcineurin in animal behaviors
2004 Mols Cells 30;17(3):390-396
Lee JI and Ahnn J www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15232211
Opposing functions of calcineurin and CaMKII regulate G-protein signaling in egg-laying behavior of C.elegans
2004 J Mol Biol. 2004 344:585-95
Lee J, Jee C, Song HO, Bandyopadhyay J, Lee JI, Yu JR, Lee J, Park BJ, Ahnn J www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15522306
SHN-1, a Shank homologue in C.elegans, affects defecation rhythm via the inositol-1,4,5-trisphosphate receptor
2004 FEBS Lett. 561:29-36
Jee C, Lee J, Lee JI, Lee WH, Park BJ, Yu JR, Park E, Kim E, Ahnn J www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15013747
The Caenorhabditis elegans homologue of Down syndrome critical region 1, RCN-1, inhibits multiple functions of the phosphatase calcineurin
2003 J Mol Biol 320:147-1566
Lee JI, Dhakal BK, Lee J, Bandyopadhyay J, Jeong SY, Eom SH, Kim DH, Ahnn J www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12684004
Calreticulin in C. elegans. In: Calreticulin, 2nd Edition, Eds: Eggleton P, Michalak Mn
2003 Kluwer Academic Publishers
Park BJ, Lee JI, Ahnn J link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007%2F978-1-4419-9258-1_22
Calcineurin, a calcium/calmodulin-dependent protein phosphatase, is involved in movement, fertility, egg-laying, and growth in Caenorhabditis elegans
2002 Mol Biol Cell 13:3281-3293
Bandyopadhyay J, Lee J, Lee J, Lee JI, Yu JR, Jee C, Cho JH, Jung S, Lee MH, Zannoni S, Singson A, Kim DH, Koo HS, Ahnn J www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12221132
A deubiquitinating enzyme, UCH/CeUBP130, has an essential role in the formation of a functional microtubule-organizing centre (MTOC) during early cleavage in C. elegans
2001 Genes Cells 6:899-911
Lee J, Jee C, Lee JI, Lee MH, Koo HS, Chung CH, Ahnn J www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12221132
Calreticulin, a calcium-binding molecular chaperone, is required for stress response and fertility in Caenorhabditis elegans
2001 Mol Biol Cell 12:2835-2845
Park BJ, Lee DG, Yu JR, Jung SK, Choi K, Lee J, Lee J, Kim YS, Lee JI, Kwon JY, Lee J, Singson A, Song WK, Eom SH, Park CS, Kim DH, Bandyopadhyay J, Ahnn J www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11553721
TITLE & DESCRIPTION WHO VENUE
Hypergravity affects GABAergic motor neuron axon outgrowth in C. elegans
Saraswathi Kalichamy 2016 CeNeuro, Nagoya, Poster presentation

Examining novel C. elegans behaviors in 3D cultivation condtions
Tong Young Lee 2016 CeNeuro, Nagoya, Poster presentation

A bacterial metabolite alters fat metabolism and delays nematode growth and development
Jin Lee 7th Asia-Pacific C. elegans Meeting, Oral presentation

A nematode, fruit, probiotic bacteria, and the fragrance of diacetyl: A story of natural attraction
Jin Lee 2016 Seoul National University, Invited Speaker

Hypergravity induces axon outgrowth defects in GABAergic motor neurons
Jin Lee 2016 Korean Microgravity Society Symposium, Inha University, Invited Speaker

Olfaction: From Nature to the Nose and to Behavior
Jin Lee 2016 26th Yonsei Rhinology Symposium, Yonsei University, Seoul, Invited Speaker

A bacterial metabolite alters fat metabolism and delays nematode growth and development
Kyoung-hye Yoon 2016 European Worm Meeting, Berlin, Germany, Poster presentation

The bacterial metabolite violacein affects C. elegans growth and behavior
Tong Young Lee 2016 22nd Korean C. elegans Meeting, Daemyung Vivaldi Park, Korea, Oral Presentation

A simple 3D cultivation system to measure C. elegans fitness in a semi-natural simulated environment
Jin Lee 2015 8th Korean Model Organism Symposium, KRIBB, Daejeon, Invited Speaker

A nematode, fruit, probiotic bacteria, and the fragrance of diacetyl
: A story of natural attraction
Jin Lee 2015 Yonsei University Biocamp, Interburgo Hotel, Wonju, Invited Speaker

C. elegans in Fruit and Outer Space: Studying a Soil Nematode At The Fringes of Biology
Jin Lee 2015 International Conference on the Integration of Science, Technology and Society, KAIST, Daejeon, Invited Speaker

The diacetyl receptor ODR-10 mediates a natural odor attraction between
C. elegans and lactic acid bacteria grown on citrus fruit
Jin Lee 2015 20th International C. elegans Meeting, Ecology and Evolution parallel session, UCLA, LA

Effects of hypergravity on motor neuron development in C. elegans
Jin Lee 2015 Dong-A University, Busan, Invited Speaker

The bacterial metabolite violacein affects C. elegans growth and behavior
Kyoung-hye Yoon 2015 22nd Korean C. elegans Meeting, Daemyung Vivaldi Park, Korea, Oral Presentation

The bacterial secondary metabolite violacein affects C. elegans development, fecundity and behavior
Kyoung-hye Yoon 2015 20th International C. elegans Meeting, UCLA, Los Angeles, Poster Presentation

A simple 3D cultivation system to measure C. elegans fitness in a semi-natural simulated environment
Tong Young Lee 2015 20th International C. elegans Meeting, UCLA, Los Angeles, Poster Presentation

Hypergravity affects motor neuron development in C. elegans
Saraswathi Kalichamy 2015 20th International C. elegans Meeting, UCLA, Los Angeles, Poster Presentation

A natural odor attraction between C. elegans and Lactobacillus strains
Jae Im Choi 2015 22nd Korean C. elegans Meeting, Daemyung Vivaldi Park, Korea, Oral Presentation

A soil nematode, citrus fruit, probiotic bacteria, and the odor diacetyl: A story of natural attraction
Jin Lee 2014 Ewha Womens University, Seoul, Invited Speaker

C. elegans ecology and behavior: bringing nature into the laboratory
Jin Lee 2014 Hallym University, Chuncheon, Invited Speaker

Mechanisms of gravity perception and gravitaxis behavior using the nematode C. elegans
Jin Lee 2014 Korean Space Biology Research Conference, Chungnam University, Daejeon Invited Speaker

C. elegans ecology and behavior: bringing nature into the laboratory
Jin Lee 2014 Yonsei University, Department of Systems Biology, Seoul, Invited Speaker

C. elegans ecology and behavior: bringing nature into the laboratory
Jin Lee 2014 Yonsei University Medical School, Wonju, Invited Speaker

The bacterial metabolite violacein affects C. elegans development, fertility and behavior
Kyoung-hye Yoon 2014 July 17th, 6th Asia-Pacific C. elegans Meeting, Nara, Japan, Poster Presentation

Gravity perception and gravitaxis behavior in C. elegans
Tong Young Lee 2014 July 17th, 6th Asia-Pacific C. elegans Meeting, Nara, Japan, Poster Presentation

Gravity perception and gravitaxis behavior in C. elegans
Tong Young Lee 2014 Oct 29th, 10th Asian Microgravity Symposium, Seoul, Korea, Poster Presentation

Want to join our lab?We are always looking for excellent scientists who are interested in joining our team. 
Yonsei University, Wonju campus is located in Wonju, the largest city in the Gangwon province located 1.5 hours east of Seoul. 
Full scholarship and housing programs are available for foreign masters and doctorate students at Yonsei University.Please contact us at  jinillee@yonsei.ac.kr