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Research Highlights

The Rewards of Compassion

  • March 24, 2008
  • Hit 14547
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[Professor Young-Joon Surh]


Talent is meaningless without virtue. This ancient Asian proverb has found its perfect embodiment in the research team of Professor Young-Joon Surh at SNU's College of Pharmacy.


Professor Surh's research team has swept the Scholar in Training Grant from the American Association for Cancer Research for the past nine years. At the lab conducting research day and night, his team has a well-deserved reputation as workaholics.


But the pursuit of knowledge alone is insufficient. Professor Surh exhorts his fellow SNU graduates to exercise compassion and generosity in their positions of influence and authority."Do not try to dominate others through intellectual power. As the leaders of this society, we must have compassion for the less fortunate, even if demonstrating such compassion may lessen our own wealth or power."


Research team member and five-year consecutive winner of the Scholar in Training Grant, Dr. Hye Kyung Na shares Professor Surh's vision.  "Though I have been researching in cancer prevention over the last ten years, I have received numerous lucrative offers to pursue research in other fields. But thinking of the faces of cancer patients and their families is what keeps me committed and makes it easy for me to turn down even the most financially tempting of offers." Compassion for their suffering is what motivates the research team to devote endless hours at the laboratory.


Both scholars urge SNU students to cultivate compassion in addition to academic excellence. The joy of successfully helping others is a reward that cannot be matched.


[ Brief Profile ]


Education & Academic Training/Appointment:

- PhD (1990): University of Wisconsin-Madison

                       (major: Oncology/ Toxicology)

- Postdoc (1990-1992): Massachusetts Institute of Technology

- Assistant Professor (1992-1995): Yale University School of Medicine


Honors & Awards:

- Listed in Marquis “Who’s Who in America” and

  “Who’s Who in the World”

- Worldnutra Merit Award (2006)

- Ochi Young Scholar’s Award (1995)

- American Cancer Society Special Research Interest Award (1992)


Professional/Editorial Appointments:

- Associate Editor/Editorial Board member for 12 SCI International Journals

- Co-editor of two biomedical books published through CRC Press and Springer-Verlag



About 150 publications in peer-reviewed international journals and 50 review articles/ book chapters (the first Korean scientist who published an article in Nature Reviews)

March 10, 2008
SNU PR Office

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3 A Scientist, A Scholar, A Mother Mar. 24, 2008 14684
2 The Rewards of Compassion Mar. 24, 2008 14547
1 NGO Researcher Mar. 13, 2008 16714