Sunghee Chai

Sunghee Chai, PhD
Senior Research Associate
Consortium: CTAR









Where are you from originally, and where did you go to school?

From South Korea. I graduated from Kyonghee university in Seoul Korea and then Freie Universtät Berlin Germany

►What is your current position?

Senior Research Associate

►Why did you decide to become a researcher?

Fascinated by molecular biology

►What is the “Big Picture” of what you study?

To understand the complexity of type 1 diabetes (T1D) at the basic genetic and cellular level. This would mean how various genetic defects affect beta cells and, possibly, other types of cells in pancreatic islets to give rise to T1D pathology. To accomplish this goal, developing tools to target with cell type-specificity will be the first step.

►What is your favorite aspect of your research?

Adeno Associated Virus (AAV) has emerged as a useful gene delivery tool in clinical applications. I am enthusiastic about (1) developing AAV tools with cell type-specificity and (2) testing these AAVs in human islet cells. Development of AAV tools are useful not only for our laboratory to study the next level of our islet biology studies, but also for other islet research groups for their potential applications such as clinical, physiological and biological studies.

► What do you hope to achieve with your research?

Develop AAV vectors that are tightly regulated in cell type-specific manner in human islets and non-human primates in vivo. Study in non-human primates will provide a big step forward toward in AAV-mediated gene therapy field .

►What groups are you involved with?

Professional Groups: Dr. Hiroyuki Nakai lab (OHSU), Dr. Mark Kay Lab (Stanford University), Dr. Matthias Hebrok lab (UCSF)

►When not in the lab what are your favorite hobbies/activities?

Visiting art museums, cooking, reading mystery novels, listening to classical music, and hiking when it is not raining too hard in Portland Oregon.



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