Lee Gehrke is the Hermann von Helmholtz Professor in the Institute for Medical Engineering and Science and Professor of Microbiology and Immunobiology at Harvard Medical School. Dr. Gehrke received his Ph.D. degree in anatomy and developmental genetics from the school of medicine at Case Western Reserve University and then did postdoctoral training in the Biology Department at The Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He has been a member of the MIT and Harvard faculties since 1982.
Professor Gehrke’s research interests center on the pathogenesis of RNA viruses and on RNA structure function. In an effort to understand the functional significance of RNA structure and RNA-protein interactions in messenger RNA translation, virus replication, and virus assembly, Professor Gehrke studies the replication and assembly of viruses that use RNA as their genetic material. His research has led to the molecular identification of amino acids and nucleotide sequences that are crucial for forming RNA-protein interactions. Moreover, his research also suggests the shape of conformation of the molecules changes upon binding.
Lee is a native Midwesterner, having been raised on a corn and soybeans farm in northern Illinois. He is married to Deb Gehrke, a watercolorist with whom he shares duties as Master of Quincy House at Harvard College. They have two adult children–Lindsay, who is an intensive special needs educator living in Newton MA, and Andrew, who is a graduate student at the University of Chicago.