Esak Lee

Esak (Isaac) Lee

Assistant Professor, Nancy and Peter Meinig Family Investigator in the Life Sciences
Meinig School of Biomedical Engineering
Weill Hall, Room 302


Dr. (Esak) Isaac Lee joined the Meinig School as an Assistant Professor in July 2019. He is a Nancy and Peter Meinig Family Investigator in the Life Sciences and an Assistant Professor of Biomedical Engineering. Dr. Lee comes from the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University and Department of Biomedical Engineering at Boston University, where he worked with Professor Christopher S. Chen as a postdoctoral fellow in bioengineering, tissue engineering, and organs-on-chip technology. Dr. Lee’s postdoctoral study focused on developing three-dimensional (3D) tissue-engineered organ-on-chip models to better study lymphatic biology and cancer biology. He obtained his Ph.D. in Bioengineering from Johns Hopkins University, where he studied the roles of lymphatic and blood vessels in breast tumor growth and metastasis using both cell biology/biochemistry methods and mouse models, under the mentorship of Professor Aleksander S. Popel.

At Cornell, the Lee laboratory aims to create a nurturing community of diverse minds, all unified with the dedication to discovery, scholarship, and leadership. The lab seeks to combine the principles from engineering, biology, and medicine to develop novel, interdisciplinary ways to improve human health and wellness. To achieve this mission, Dr. Lee’s research program focuses on:

  1. understanding the morphogenesis, homeostasis and disease pathogenesis of lymphatic vessels, blood vessels and their microenvironments, and
  2. identifying new strategies for regenerative medicine and treatment of cancer, immune diseases, and edema. The laboratory is currently focused on further advancing the novel 3D organ-on-chip systems, as well as developing both cellular and molecular tools and in vivo models, to better understand the mechanisms through which cells regulate their response to biological and mechanical cues

A Virtual Tour of the Lee Lab

Research Interests

Teaching Interests

Biomedical Engineering core/elective topics including:

  • Introduction to Biomedical Engineering (ENGRI/BME 1310)
  • Cancer and Immuno-Engineering (BME 6230)
  • Biomaterials and Tissue Engineering
  • Biomedical Microdevices and Biomimetics
  • Principle and Engineering in Microcirculation.

Selected Publications

Selected Awards and Honors

  • NSF Career Award, 2024
  • James and Mary Tien Excellence in Teaching Award, Cornell Engineering, Cornell University, 2023  
  • Cellular & Molecular Bioengineering (CMBE) Young Innovator, Biomedical Engineering Society, 2023
  • Microcirculatory Society (MCS) Award for Excellence in Lymphatic Research, 2021
  • Adam Rachel Broder Fund for Cancer Research, Cornell University, 2021
  • Multi-Investigator Seed Grant, Cornell University, 2020
  • Nancy and Peter Meinig Family Investigatorship by Provost, Cornell University, 2019
  • Young Investigator Award, Gordon Research Conference (GRC) on Lymphatics, Lymphatic Education & Research Network (LE&RN), 2018



  • B.S. (summa cum laude, Chemical Engineering), Seoul National University, 2006
  • M.S. (Pharmacy), Seoul National University, 2008
  • Ph.D. (Bioengineering), Johns Hopkins University, 2014
  • Postdoc (Bioengineering, Tissue engineering, Organs-on-chip), Wyss Institute at Harvard University & Boston University, 2019

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