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Life at CNU

Professor Lee, Soo-kyung Honored by Two Endowed Professor Titles in USA

작성자대외협력과 작성일2019.05.31 20:16 조회105

A Korean scholar who graduated from CNU has been honored to be appointed to two endowed professor positions in the United States, which is unprecedented in the domestic scientific community.

Professor Lee Soo-kyung was appointed as “Empire Innovation Professor” of the Department of Biological Sciences at the University of Buffalo-SUNY (State University of New York), and also as the first “Om P. Bahl Endowed Chair,” which was established recently at the same university.

The “Empire Innovation Professor” position was established by funds from SUNY Headquarters to secure excellent scholars and internationally acclaimed professors to stay at SUNY’s 66 campuses and proceed with their research.

The “Om P. Bahl” Professorship in Biological Sciences was established by joint funding from the University at Buffalo-SUNY and the family of the late Professor Om Parkash Bahl, who passed away in 2004, to remember him by establishing a new endowed professorship position. The late Om P. Bahl was a distinguished professor at the University of Buffalo who was the first chair of the Department of Biological Sciences and whose scientific research led to the development of the home pregnancy test.

As a result, Professor Lee will be the Professor of Biological Sciences at the University of Buffalo-SUNY with two endowed professor positions of Empire Innovation Professor and the “Om P. Bahl Endowed Chair.”

The endowed professor position offers existing professors who are internationally renowned for their outstanding research accomplishments or contribution to society or newly appointed professors with research funds from donations by individuals or institutions. It is considered honorable to researchers while it is not common to benefit simultaneously from two endowed professor positions in the USA. 

Graduated CNU College of Pharmacy, Professor Lee gained both an MSc. in Pharmacy and Ph.D. in Biology from the CNU Graduate School of Natural Sciences. She completed the post-doctoral training in Salk Institute for Biological Studies in San Diego, which was founded by Jonas Salk, an American medical researcher who discovered and developed one of the first successful polio vaccines. At age 28, she was appointed assistant professor at Baylor College of Medicine located in Houston, Texas, as the youngest tenured professor in the history of the College and has been featured in local media.

In 2014, Lee was promoted to full-time tenured professor at the Oregon Health & Science University (located in Portland, Oregon) at age 38 in recognition of her excellent accomplishments in the field of neurogenesis.

As Lee learned that her daughter, who is nine years old, was suffering from FOXG1 Syndrome, a rare neurodevelopmental disorder due to a defect with specific gene, her research took on new meaning. Since then, Lee has dedicated herself to the research on FOXG1 Syndrome with peer researchers in the field. Last November, Lee had a pivotal role in holding the first FoxG1 Syndrome conference in San Diego with researchers from all over the world. Also, her interview with the New York Times in 2018 on the story of a mother-scientist studying her daughter's illness introduced FoxG1 Syndrome to the wider general public.

From 2016, overcome by the stresses of nursing, Lee collapsed and was bedridden for a while, but recovered after a 4-year struggle to come back to proceed with her research.