Charles Lee receives honorary degree from University of Alberta

A portrait of the Jackson Laboratory's Charles Lee next to a picture of the University of Alberta logo.

Renowned geneticist and inaugural scientific director of The Jackson Laboratory for Genomic Medicine recognized for significant contributions to his field.

Insights from fully sequencing 43 human Y chromosomes

New research presents the complete sequences of multiple human Y chromosomes from lineages from around the globe for the first time. This provides an essential step forward in understanding the roles of the Y chromosome in human evolution…

Read more

Charles Lee, Ph.D., FACMG, a renowned geneticist and a leader in translational science, will be awarded a University of Alberta honorary doctor of science degree and deliver the convocation address to the new graduates from the university’s Faculty of Science on June 13.

The University of Alberta considers this honor among its most prestigious; it is reserved for individuals who both inspire their students and who have made significant contributions to their personal and global communities.

“I am grateful to the University of Alberta for the educational foundation it has given me to pursue my calling in science,” said Lee. “It also prepared me for all of the extraordinary changes that have come about in science and in society over the last 20 years. I am so proud to receive this honor and to stand before the newest graduating class as they prepare to embark on their own scientific odysseys.”

Lee leads a research laboratory at The Jackson Laboratory for Genomic Medicine (JAX-GM) which focuses on genomic structural variation – or large differences – within DNA that cause birth defects and on how these differences shape the evolution of mammalian genomes. The lab is also interested in development and application of new technology for genomic medicine, especially at a time of rapid advances within the field.

Lee’s roots run deep at the University of Alberta, where he earned his bachelor’s in genetics, master’s in experimental pathology, and doctorate in medical sciences. In 2013, Lee was recruited from Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women’s Hospital to become the inaugural scientific director of JAX-GM in Farmington, Connecticut to help build a world-class research institution and attract top research faculty across the globe. JAX-GM researchers – from undergraduates and doctoral students completing their PhDs, to faculty and staff – focus on human genomics, complementing JAX’s long history of mammalian genetics expertise.

Throughout his career, Lee has received numerous accolades and awards for his research into the human genome, which has continued at JAX, including a recent induction as a fellow of The Korean Academy of Science and Technology  in 2024, an award from the American Association for Cancer Research in 2007, the 2008 Ho-Am Prize in Medicine, and the 2012 Chen Global Investigator award from the Human Genome Organization (HUGO). He is also an elected fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, a Thomson Reuters Citation Laureate and was previously president of HUGO from 2017 to 2023.

Lee’s convocation speech will take place at 10:00 a.m. ET on June 13 and can be viewed online.