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Husband-Wife Science Teams Make Impact

Posted November. 12, 2005 08:44,   


Korean husband-and-wife scientist teams studying abroad have published a series of papers to which the world is paying close attention this year.

A Korean couple, both scientists, has been granted hundreds of thousands of dollars in research grants from NASA.

These couples dedicate themselves to carrying out experiments. Sometimes their discussions are so intense that they evolve into a quarrel between husband and wife, but they say, in hindsight, even the quarrels are beneficial to their research.

Couples’ Power in the Science World-

Professor Ryu Hun (40) and Professor Lee Jeon-hee (35) at Boston University School of Medicine published a paper in the world’s leading science magazine PNAS in September after they identified the mechanism of brain cells’ self-protection against stress.

Professor Ryu explained that if the research on the self-protection mechanism of brain cells is completed, new drugs that are able to prevent a progress in brain diseases such as Alzheimer`s disease, cerebral palsy, or Parkinson’s disease could be developed.

Dr. Hong Jeong-ho (39) at the MIT Center for Cancer Research and Professor Hwang Eun-sook (34) of Molecular Life Science at Ewha Womans University, who served as a researcher at Harvard University released their paper in Science, one of the world’s top major science journals, in August by discovering the mechanism by which adult stem cells differentiate into specific cells in human bodies.

The couple completed another great achievement when they published a paper in the Journal of Experimental Medicine, a world’s prestigious journal on immunology, on November 7, after identifying the mechanism of a gene which controls arthritis and asthma.

Another couple, Dr. Lee Sang-hun (37) and Dr. Yim Eun-ok (32), at Harvard Medical School discovered that a material called flagellin in a microbe activates a specific protein of TLR5 to induce enteritis.

Dr. Lee said, “It was the first time to confirm the mechanism of the induction of enteritis, whose cause has not been sufficiently revealed, by conducting experiments. If we block flagellin and a specific protein, enteritis could be cured.”

Dr. Seo Ki-won (34) at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory and Dr. Lee Jeong-eun (33) at the University of California - Los Angeles (UCLA) are earth scientists who have been awarded annual research grants that combine to total $150,000 combined from NASA.