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The one hundred honoree: Lee Zou, PhD

Innovation Story

The one hundred honoree: Lee Zou, PhD

Mass General Giving

An assistant professor of Pathology at Harvard Medical School, Dr. Lee Zou is the principal investigator in the Center for Cancer Research at Mass General. Dr. Zou and his team are studying the mechanisms of DNA repair following injury, such as that caused by radiation or chemotherapy. He has made major breakthroughs in the understanding of how a cell senses lesions in its DNA and initiates a repair pathway — findings that have the potential to advance the effectiveness of both radiation and medical oncology.

The genome is a dynamic and fragile structure that is constantly challenged by DNA damage, DNA replication problems and other forms of cellular stress. Maintenance of genomic integrity is essential for the survival of all organisms. In humans, loss of genomic integrity is closely linked to cancer, developmental defects and aging. The goal of the research by Dr. Lee Zou and his team is to elucidate the fundamental mechanisms by which cells inspect and protect the genome.