Justine C. Lee, MD, PhD, FACS is the Bernard G. Sarnat Endowed Chair in Craniofacial Biology in the Division of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery at the UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine. Dr. Lee is a craniofacial and pediatric plastic surgeon who specializes in the reconstruction of complex congenital, post-traumatic, and post-oncologic deformities of the head and neck region. Her practice focuses on patients with microtia, prominent ear, traumatic ear deformities, cleft lip/cleft palate, craniosynostosis, rare craniofacial syndromes, craniofacial microsomia, Parry-Romberg disease, facial nerve palsy, malocclusion, and vascular malformations. Her primary philosophy in treating patients is to combine aesthetics with reconstruction. She believes the goal of surgery is to help patients function normally as well as look and feel their best.
Dr. Lee was born and raised in Los Angeles. She was valedictorian of her high school class and awarded multiple scholarships including the University of California Regent’s Scholarship, the UCLA Alumni Scholarship, and the National Merit Scholarship to attend UCLA. She graduated from UCLA summa cum laude with highest honors from the Department of Molecular, Cell, and Developmental Biology with a bachelor of science degree (1999). In addition to her interest in clinical medicine, her scientific work resulted in multiple research fellowships, publications, and admission to the prestigious National Institutes of Health Medical Scientist Training Program at the University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine. Her graduate work at the University of Chicago was additionally supported by a full academic fellowship from the Frank Family Foundation. She received both an MD and a Ph.D. from the University of Chicago (2006) and went on to complete a combined residency in General Surgery and Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery at the University of Chicago Medical Center. Her work during residency culminated in an Outstanding Paper award at the American Society for Plastic Surgeons meeting, the Best Microsurgery Paper at the American Society for Plastic Surgeons Senior Resident Conference, and First Prize at the Illinois Society for Plastic Surgery Chief Resident Competition. She completed her training at UCLA as the 34th Henry Kawamoto craniofacial fellow.
Dr. Lee joined the UCLA faculty following her fellowship. She is active in multiple professional societies including the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, the American College of Surgeons, the Plastic Surgery Research Council, the American Cleft Palate-Craniofacial Association, and the American Society for Bone and Mineral Research. In the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, she serves on the Women Plastic Surgeons Steering Committee, the Research Development Committee, and the Annual Meeting Program Committee. She is currently on the editorial board of three professional journals and serves as an ad hoc reviewer for 11 professional journals. Her research in clinical outcomes of craniofacial surgery and bone regeneration has been featured in over 65 international and national meetings and well recognized within each respective field. Since 2013, she has served as the curriculum director for the plastic surgery residency and received the 2016 Plastic Surgery Faculty Teaching Award. For her clinical, research, and teaching achievements, Dr. Lee was named the Bernard G. Sarnat Endowed Chair in Craniofacial Biology in 2016.