Tara Sander Lee, PhD

Associate Professor of Pathology, Pediatric Pathology;
Scientific Director of Molecular Diagnostics, Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin


Tara Sander Lee, PhD

Tara Sander Lee, PhD

Dr. Sander is involved in the clinical and research aspects of molecular pathology and laboratory medicine.  As Scientific Director, Dr. Sander directs the development, operation, and expansion of the new Molecular Diagnostics Laboratory at Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin.  This involves the coordination, planning, management, and monitoring of all areas of non-infectious disease molecular diagnostic testing (50-100 tests/year) in the pediatric population.

Currently, the clinical laboratory offers pharmacogenetics testing for children evaluated in the Neurology Clinic as a way to better guide anticonvulsant medication therapy.  The laboratory is developing genetic tests for other diseases and conditions including mitochondrial disorders, Cystic Fibrosis, Fragile X, and vascular anomalies.  Dr. Sander also participates in translational research activities, bridging the areas of basic biology and clinical molecular diagnostics.  Her aim is to work with investigators to identify genetic variations that cause congenital disorders and translate these discoveries to the clinic for the development of diagnostic tests for the pediatric population.

Research Interests
  • Molecular basis of congenital and acquired vascular diseases including valvular heart disease, acute lung injury, and cancer
  • Endothelial cell function and vascular response to injury
  • Transcriptional regulation of the SCAN domain family of zinc finger proteins
Professional Background
  • Assistant Professor, Department of Surgery, Division of Pediatric Surgery, Medical College of Wisconsin  (2003 – present)
  • Investigator, Children’s Research Institute (2007 – present)
  • Assistant Professor, Department of Pathology, Division of Pediatric Pathology, Medical College of Wisconsin (2008 – present)
  • Scientific Director, Molecular Diagnostics Laboratory, Pathology & Laboratory Medicine, Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin (2008 – present)
  • Director, DNA Extraction Service for Clinical Research, Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin (2009 – present)
  • Chair, Committee for Career Development, Women and Minorities, American Society for Investigative Pathology (2009 – 2012)
  • Councilor, American Society for Investigative Pathology (2009 – 2012)
  • Chair, Women’s Faculty Council, Medical College of Wisconsin (2008 – 2009)
Educational Background
  • BS, Biochemistry, Beloit College, 1994
  • PhD, Biochemistry, Medical College of Wisconsin, 2000
  • Research Fellow, Harvard Medical School, Children’s Hospital Boston, 2000-2003



Contact Information

Office Address
Children’s Hospital
9000 W Wisconsin Ave.
Milwaukee, WI 53226