Lee, Steven B

Lee, Steven B

Professor, Justice Studies
Director Forensic Science Justice Studies


Preferred: steven.lee@sjsu.edu

Alternate: sblee999@gmail.com


Preferred: (408) 924-2948 - Note best way to contact is via email

Office Hours

Spring 2019 Fridays 1330-1430 on line


  • Doctor of Philosophy, Univ Of Cal-Berkeley, 1990
  • Master of Science, Molecular Biology, New York Univ, United States, 1984
  • Bachelor of Science, Biological Sciences, Suny At Binghamton, United States, 1981


Professor Lee holds an a BS from SUNY Binghamton in Biology, MS from NYU and PhD from University of California, Berkeley in Molecular Biology.   Lee holds several concurrent positions including consulting positions for several biotech companies, Visiting Scholar at UC Berkeley, and an adjunct professor appointment in Chemistry at Florida International University and in Biological Sciences at San Francisco State University.  Lee is currently on 50% Professional Leaves for AY 2015-2016 and is teaching on line.  He was formerly the Director of R&D at CA Dept of Justice DNA Laboratory from 1994-2000 where he served as an expert witness in DNA, directed the development, validation and implementation of new technologies and, conducted DNA training courses.  He is a full member of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the California Association of Criminalists, a Fellow of the Criminalistics Division of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences, , and is an American Society of Crime Laboratory Directors Laboratory Accreditation Board certified inspector.  He also served on the FBI Technical Working Group on DNA Analysis Methods group from 1994-2000. He has taught courses in molecular biology at SFSU (1996-1998), Forensic genetics at UC Davis (1997), and most recently forensic DNA Typing of STRs at FIU (2003).


Research Description

Forensic Molecular Biology is the molecular analysis of biological evidence to provide objective information on legal matters or those that pertain to criminal and civil law. The different types of biological evidence may include human bodily fluids or tissues and/or non-human materials such as botanical, fungal, entomological, microbiological or zoological specimens. Comparison of DNA profiles generated from the biological evidence at the crime scene to known samples can serve to link suspects with crime scenes or victims or can exonerate the suspect. Forensic molecular biologists use a variety of tools and techniques to examine and characterize biological evidence. These include microscopy, presumptive chemical testing, immunological analyses, genotyping of autosomal and Y chromosome micro satellite multiplexes (or short tandem repeats -STR), sequencing of mitochondrial DNA hypervariable regions I and II and more recently the use of single nucleotide polymorphism for ethnic profiling and messenger RNA for tissue typing. Results of the STR tests can be compared to unknowns or to a national DNA database, CODIS (Combined DNA Index System) that currently contains over 7.7 million profiles. These comparisons can lead to “cold hits” that provide the ability to solve crimes in cases in which there are no known suspects.

Research in my laboratory has fallen into three general categories:

1. Overcoming PCR inhibition due to co-extracted (intrinsic) and introduced (extrinsic) inhibitors.

2) Optimizing DNA sample collection, including enhancing fluorescent semen detection, new strategies for sampling and room temperature archiving and DNA storage strategies 

2. Evaluation of new, advanced technologies for forensic DNA methods including assessment of new qPCR quant methods, new rapid DNA typing chemistries and next generation sequencing (NGS) technologies for forensic genomics, phenotype and ancestry estimation.

Relevant publications:

McCord, B.R., Quentin Gauthier, Sohee Cho, Meghan N. Roig, Georgiana C. Gibson-Daw, Brian Young, Fabiana Taglia, Sara C. Zapico, Roberta Fogliatto Mariot, Steven B. Lee, and George Duncan. 2019. Forensic DNA Analysis. Analytical Chemistry 2019 91 (1), 673-688. DOI: 10.1021/acs.analchem.8b05318.

White, TJ and SB Lee. 2019. Genetics, Ethics and Privacy. Chapter 15 in Erlich, H. Stover, E and White, T.eds. Silent Witness: Applying Forensic DNA Evidence in Criminal Investigations and Humanitarian Disasters. Oxford University Press (OUP). In Press.

Lee, SB, De Etta Mills, SA Morse, SE Schutzer, B Budowle and PS Keim. 2018. Training and Education in Microbial Forensics. Chapter 41 in Microbial Forensics. SA Morse, SE Schutzer, B Budowle eds. Elsevier Academic Press. Invited chapter submitted 12/14/2018. Under Review

McCord BR and SB Lee. 2018.  Novel Applications of Massively Parallel Sequencing (MPS) in forensic analysis. Editorial. Special Issue of Electrophoresis. McCord, BR and SB Lee. Eds. Nov;39(21):2639-2641. doi: 10.1002/elps.201870175.

McCord BR and SB Lee. Editors. 2018.  Novel Applications of Massively Parallel Sequencing (MPS) in forensic analysis. Special Issue of Electrophoresis. Electrophoresis. Volume 39, Issue 21 Pages: 2633-2833 

*Tang, Kevin; *Ramirez, Jesse; Bond, John; Weart, Jocelyn; *DeLaTorre, Yvette; Fitch, Ian; and Lee, Steven. 2017. Optimizing Collection of Trace Biological Samples from Vehicle Headrests, Themis. Volume 5 Article 7.  Available at: http://scholarworks.sjsu.edu/themis/vol5/iss1/7

Lee, SB and J. G. Shewale 2017. DNA Extraction Methods in Forensic Analysis. Chapter in the Encyclopedia of Analytical Chemistry, eds R.A. Meyers, John Wiley: Chichester. DOI: 10.1002/9780470027318.a1104m.pub2.  Published June 19 2017. Available at: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/9780470027318.a1104m.pub2/otherversions

Lee, SB, J Varlaro, C Holt. 2016. Stepping into the Future of Forensic Genomics:  Developmental Validation of a Next-Generation Sequencing Forensic DNA Sample-to-Answer System. Forensic Magazine. June 2016. Available at: https://www.forensicmag.com/article/2016/07/future-forensic-genomics-developmental-validation-ngs

Lee, SB, B McCord and E Buel. 2014. Advances in Forensic DNA Quantification: A Review. Electrophoresis Nov;35(21-22):3044-52.

Roda, N, SB Lee, B Barloeven and T. Mehmet. 2014. DNA Typing Compatibility With a Rapid, One Step Saliva Screening Test. Themis, Volume 2: 225-235.

Lee, SB, CA Crouse, MC Kline. 2013. In Assessment and preparation of biological specimens for DNA analysis.  Optimizing storage and handling of DNA extracts. Chapter in Forensic DNA Analysis: Current Practices and Emerging Technologies. Eds. Jaiprakash G. Shewale; Ray H. Liu, CRC Press. ISBN 9781466571266. Publication 08/22/13 

Harris, C, A Cardenas, SB Lee and B Barloewen. 2013 Comparing Wearer DNA Sample Collection Methods for the Recovery of Single Source Profiles. Themis. Volume 1:81-99

Lee, SB, Clabaugh, KC, Silva, B, Odigie, KO, Fourney, RM, Stevens, J, Carmody, GR, Coble, MD, Loreille, O, Scheible, M, Parsons, TJ, Pozder, A, Eisenberg, AJ,  Budowle,B, Taha Ahmad, Russell W. Miller, Amy B. McGuckian, Julie Conover-Sikorsky and Cecelia A. Crouse.   2012. Assessing a novel room temperature DNA storage medium for forensic biological samples. Forensic Science International: Genetics, Volume 6, Issue 1, January 2012, Pages 31-40.

Lee, SB, CA Crouse, MC Kline. 2010. Optimizing storage and handling of DNA extracts.Forensic Science Reviews 22:131-144

Lee SB and KA Roberts. 2008. Saving your Samples. Emerging Technologies in Forensic Science. 01/08 p 8-10.

Lee, SB. 2006. Forensic DNA testing. In McGraw-Hill 2006 Yearbook of Science and Technology . ISBN 0071462058. McGraw-Hill. 

Kingsley Odigie, Lynne Burley, Ian Fitch and Steven Lee. 2007. Repair of damaged DNA using commercially available enzymes. Poster presented at the 18th Annual International Symposium on Human Identification. held October, 2007. Hollywood, CA.

R. Muller, J. Muller-Cohn and SB Lee. 2007 Optimizing DNA Stabilization and Storage of Forensic DNA Samples using polymers. Poster presented at the 18th Annual International Symposium on Human Identification. Held October, 2007. Hollywood, CA. http://www.promega.com/geneticidproc/ussymp18proc/abstracts/Abstract16Lee.pdf

Hirofumi Fukushima, Steven B. Lee, Yoshiya Fukuma, Masamitsu Nakamura, Hiroaki Yoshida and Takahiko Kasuga. 2007. Overview of a lab support system for managing data from DNA. Poster presented at the 18th Annual International Symposium on Human Identification. Held October, 2007. Hollywood, CA http://www.promega.com/geneticidproc/ussymp18proc/abstracts/Abstract10Fukuma.pdf

Silva, B, C. Cook, S. Murillo and S.B. Lee. 2007. Evaluation of Zeolite as a substrate for Collection and Storage of DNA. Abstract accepted and poster at the 2007 American Academy of Forensic Sciences meeting held February 2007 San Antonio, TX, and a poster at the 2006: 17th Annual International Symposium on Human Identification. Held on October 9-12, 2006. Nashville TN

Villa, E, K. Ballinger, A. Carter and S.B. Lee. 2006. Development of a Y chromosome specific screening method for sexual assault evidence. Abstract and poster presentation at the Society for Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science National Conference. Held on October 26-29, 2006. Tampa Fl.and presented as a poster at 17th Annual International Symposium on Human Identification. Held on October 9-12, 2006. Nashville TN

Matsumoto, T, R. Nakashige1, and S. B. Lee. 2006. Expert System for Evaluating Automated Allele Called Data. Abstract and poster at the 17th Annual International Symposium on Human Identification. Held on October 9-12, 2006. Nashville TN.

Murrillo, S and S. Lee 2006. Recovery of DNA from unique substrates. Poster presented at the 2006 American Academy of Forensic Sciences meeting. Seattle, WA, Feb. 20-25, 2006. Forensic Science Foundation Ribbon Award.

Lee, S and S. Murillo. 2006. Evaluation of Zeolite and Chitosan as Substrates for Collection and Storage of DNA. Spring CAC Conference oral presentation. Abstract. CACNEWS. Third Quarter 2006 p. 28. http://www.cacnews.org/pdfs/3rdq06.pdf– Awarded the 2006 A.Biasotti Most Outstanding Research Presentation.

Lee, SB. 2006. Forensic DNA Research and Teaching at San Jose State University: Establishing Partnerships in Academia, Biotechnology, and Government. Oral presentation at the 2006 American Academy of Forensic Sciences meeting. Seattle, WA, Feb. 24, 2006.

Lee, SB. 2005. Forensic Biology. In McGraw-Hill 2006 Yearbook of Science and Technology ISBN 0071462058. McGraw-Hill. 448pp, DOI: 10.1036/0071462058

Lee, SB. 2005. Teaching Strategies in Undergraduate Forensic Science and DNA: New Approaches to Content, Assessment and Practice. Canadian Journal of Police and Security Services. 3(2):27-36.

Lee, SB, A.T. Minn, T. Nagai, T Shimizu, F. Ogura and M. Kuji. 2005. Integrated acquisition and analysis of multiplexed immuno- and SNP assays using the Masterplex software suite. Poster presented at the Luminex X Map symposium. Held April 25-27, 2005. Austin, TX. http://www.luminexcorp.com/planetxmap/Minn.pdf

Larsen, K and S. Lee. 2005. Optimization Strategies for DNA storage. Abstract accepted for the 16th Annual International Symposium on Human Identification. 26-29 September 2005. Grapevine, TX

Smith, K and S Lee. 2004. Comparison of DNA storage methods. Poster presentation at the 15th International Symposium on Human Identification. October 4-7, 2004. Scottsdale, AZ. http://www.promega.com/geneticidproc/ussymp15proc/posterpresentations/56Smith.pdf

Lee, SB. 2002. Biodefense: Science Steps Up to Protect the Public from Bioterror. Drug Discovery and Development. Dec. 2002. p 12. Invited Editorial.

Budowle, B, *W. Hudlow, S Lee, and L Klevan. 2001. Using a CCD Camera Imaging System as a recording device to Quantify Human DNA by Slot Blot Hybridization. Biotechniques. 30:680-685.

Worley, J. W., S.B. Lee, *M. Ma, A. Eisenberg, and E.S. Mansfield. 1997. Fluorescent Imaging in Human Identity Testing. Biotechniques. 23:148-153

Butler, JM, Jia Li, Joseph Monforte, Christopher Becker, and Steven Lee. 1997. Rapid and Automated Analysis of Short Tandem Repeat Loci Using Time-of-Flight Mass Spectrometry. . Proceedings of the Seventh International Symposium on Human Identification. ISBN1-882274058-X http://www.promega.com/geneticidproc/ussymp8proc/28.html

Post, S, S. Lee, T. Moretti, J. Robertson, and B. Budowle. 1997. Comparison of Fluorescence Detection of the Geneprint Powerplex STR System by Optical Scanners and DNA Sequencers. Proceedings of the Seventh International Symposium on Human Identification. ISBN1-882274058-X. pp. 107-115. http://www.promega.com/geneticidproc/ussymp7proc/0716.html

Lee, SB, M. Buoncristiani, J. W. Schumm, and D. Wingeleth. 1996. Comparison of Short Tandem Repeat (STR) detection using silver, fluorescence and matrix assisted laser desorption/ionization time-of-flight mass spectrophotometry (MALDI-TOF-MS). Proceedings of the Sixth International Symposium on Human Identification. ISBN 1-882274-55-5 p104-111. http://www.promega.com/geneticidproc/ussymp6proc/lee.htm

Micka, K.A., C.J. Sprecher, A.M. Lins, C.T. Comey, B.W. Koons, C Crouse, D. Endean, K. Zold, S.B. Lee, N. Duda, *M Ma and J.W. Schumm. 1996. Validation of Multiplex Polymorphic STR Amplification Sets Developed for Personal Identification Applications. Journal of Forensic Sciences. 41: 582-590.