Lee Gehrke

Core Faculty
Phone: (617) 253-7608
Website: Gehrke Lab
Lab Phone: (617) 253-7699
room: E25-406B
MIT address: 77 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02139
Administrative Assistant: Michelle Antunes
assistant phone: (617) 258-0866
assistant email: mantunes@mit.edu

Lee Gehrke

Core Faculty


  • Hermann von Helmholtz Professor of Health Sciences and Technology, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • Professor of Microbiology and Immunobiology, Harvard Medical School


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 PhD 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.

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.


  • PhD in Anatomy and Biochemistry, Case Western Reserve University, 1980
  • BS in Zoology, Eastern Illinois University

selected awards/societies

  • American Society for Virology
  • American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology


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. Gehrke’s lab is also heading a multidisciplinary group that is building rapid point-of-care diagnostic devices to detect dangerous viruses.

selected publications

  • C. W. Yen, H. de Puig, J. O. Tam, J. Gomez-Marquez, I. Bosch,
    K. Hamad-Schifferli, and L. Gehrke. “Multicolored silver nanoparticles for multiplexed disease diagnostics: distinguishing dengue, yellow fever, and Ebola viruses.” Lab on a Chip 15 (2015): 1638-41.
  • C. Odendall, E. Dixit, F. Stavru, H. Bierne, K. M. Franz, A. F. Durbin, S. Boulant, L. Gehrke, P. Cossart, and J. C. Kagan. “Diverse intracellular pathogens activate type III interferon expression from peroxisomes.” Nature Immunology 15 (2014): 717-26.
  • D. Uzri and L. Gehrke. “Nucleotide sequences and modifications that determine RIG-I/RNA binding and signaling activities.” J Virol 83.9 (2009): 4174-84.

A full list of Professor Gehrke’s publications can be found on NCBI.

courses taught

  • HST 010 – Med. Sci. 250 a, b – Human Functional Anatomy (Harvard Medical School)
  • HST 426 – Medical Maker Lab (MIT)