LOEWE Center for
Insect Biotechnology
& Bioresources

Kwang-Zin Lee

Dr. rer. nat.

Group leader

Phone: +49 641 972-19150

Email: kwang-zin.lee@ime.fraunhofer.de

Room: A 219

Building: Fraunhofer IME - Neubau


since 02/2016 Group leader, Insect Pathogens at the Fraunhofer Institute for Molecular Biology and Applied Ecology (IME)
01/2016–02/2016 Research scientist at the Fraunhofer Institute for Molecular Biology and Applied Ecology (IME), Giessen, Germany
12/2015 Advanced training in Research / clinical monitoring at mibeg-Institut Medizin, Cologne, Germany
02/2010–12/2014 Senior scientist at the Institut de Biologie Moléculaire et Cellulaire (IBMC), Strasbourg, France
10/2006–09/2009 Postdoctoral fellow at the Centre d’Immunologie de Marseille-Luminy (CIML), Marseille, France
09/2004–07/2006 Postdoctoral fellow at the University of Western Ontario (UWO), London, Canada
09/1999–08/2004 PhD at the Max-Planck-Institut for Developmental Biology, Tübingen, Germany
09/1993–08/1999 Diploma in Biology at the Eberhard Karls University Tübingen, Germany

Research Interests

The research in Kwang-Zin Lee’s group focus on the analysis of host-pathogen interactions, especially insect-virus interactions and the development of natural pesticides.

Insect specific viruses have the advantage to display a narrow host specificity and are generally safe for humans and wildlife. They serve as an excellent alternative to chemical insecticides, the latter implicated to have negative effects on humans and environment.

Beside the optimization and the use of natural viruses against insects, another research interest of the group is the development of genetic engineered viruses as biological pest control.


Hiebert N, Carrau T, Bartling M, Vilcinskas A, Lee KZ (2020) Identification of entomopathogenic bacteria associated with the invasive pest Drosophila suzukii in infested areas of Germany. Journal of invertebrate pathology, 173 https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jip.2020.107389
Hiebert, N, Kessel T, Skaljac M, Spohn M, Vilcinskas, A, Lee KZ (2020) The Gram-Positive Bacterium Leuconostoc pseudomesenteroides Shows Insecticidal Activity against Drosophilid and Aphid Pests. Insects, 11 (8)
Carrau T, Hiebert N, Vilcinskas A, Lee KZ (2018) Identification and characterization of natural viruses associated with the invasive insect pest Drosophila suzukii. Journal of Invertebrate Pathology , 154 (2018) , 74-78.
Gegner T, Carrau T, Vilcinskas A, Lee KZ (2018) The infection of Harmonia axyridis by a parasitic nematode is mediated by entomopathogenic bacteria and triggers sex-specific host immune responses. Scientific reports , 8 https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-018-34278-x
Schetelig MF, Lee KZ, Otto S, Talmann L, Stökl J, Degenkolb T, Vilcinskas A, Halitschke R (2018) Environmentally sustainable pest control options for Drosophila suzukii. Journal of Applied Entomology, 142 (1-2) , 3-17.
Lee KZ, Vilcinskas A (2017) Analysis of virus susceptibility in the invasive insect pest Drosophila suzukii. Journal of Insect Pathology, 148 , 138-141.
Lee KZ, Lestradet M, Socha C, et al (2016) Enterocyte Purge and Rapid Recovery Is a Resilience Reaction of the Gut Epithelium to Pore-Forming Toxin Attack Cell Host & Microbe, 20 (6) , 693-694.
Chtarbanova S, Lamiable O, Lee KZ, Galiana D, Troxler L, Meignin C, Hetru C, Hoffmann JA, Daeffler L, Imler JL (2014) Drosophila C virus systemic infection leads to intestinal obstruction. Journal of Virology, 88 (24) , 14057–14069 .
Lestradet M, Lee KZ, Ferrandon D (2014) Drosophila as a model for intestinal infections. Methods in Molecular Biology, 1197 , 11-40.
Lee KZ, Ferrandon D (2011) Negative regulation of immune responses on the fly. The EMBO Journal, 30 (6) , 988–990.
Lee KZ, Kniazeva M, Han M, Pujol N, Ewbank JJ (2010) The fatty acid synthase fasn-1 acts upstream of WNK and Ste20/GCK-VI kinases to modulate antimicrobial peptide expression in C. elegans epidermis. Virulence, 1 (3) , 113–122.
Grbic M, Khila A, Lee KZ, Bjelica A, Grbic V, Whistlecraft J, Verdon L, Navajas M, Nagy L (2007) Mity model: Tetranychus urticae, a candidate for chelicerate model organism. Bioessays, 29 (5) , 489–496.
Lee KZ, Eizinger A, Nandakumar R, Schuster SC, Sommer RJ (2003) Limited microsynteny between the genomes of Pristionchus pacificus and Caenorhabditis elegans. Nucleic Acids Research, 31 (10) , 2553–2560.
Lee KZ, Sommer RJ (2003) Operon Structure and Trans-Splicing in the Nematode Pristionchus pacificus. Molecular Biology and Evolution, 20 (12) , 2097–2103.
Sommer RJ, Carmi I, Eizinger A, Grandien K, Jungblut B, Lee KZ, Nguyen H, Pires-Da Silva A, Schlak I, Sigrist CB, Srinivasan J (2000) Pristionchus pacificus: a satellite organism in evolutionary developmental biology. Nematology, 2 (1) , 81–88.
Sommer RJ, Eizinger A, Lee KZ, Jungblut B, Bubeck A, Schlak I (1998) The Pristionchus HOX gene Ppa-lin-39 inhibits programmed cell death to specify the vulva equivalence group and is not required during vulval induction. Development, 125 (19) , 3865–3873.