Pioneer of the leap and renaissance of the natural substance industry
Designer who prepared the conservation and utilization foundation for native plant resources
Professor of the College of Pharmacy, Seoul National University (1946~)
- Academic background
College of Pharmacy, Seoul National Univ.
M.S. at the Graduate School of Indiana Univ., USA (biochemistry)
Ph.D. at the Graduate School of Univ. of Illinois, USA (nutritional science)
- Professional career
Professor, College of Pharmacy, Seoul National Univ.
President, Korea Pharmacy Society
Member of the Korean National Academy of Sciences
Main Award in Academy, Korea Pharmacy Society
Woman Scientist and Technologist of the Year, Main Award
Bichumi Woman Award, Byeolri Award
Order of Service Merit, Aquamarine Stripes
A pharmacognosist who developed research on natural substances and let the world know about the excellence of Korean medicinal plant resources
Professor Young Choong Kim is a global scientist who provided a new way of natural substance research as well as a pharmacognosist who spread out the excellence of Korean medicinal plant resources.
She graduated from the College of Pharmacy of Seoul National University in 1968 and went to the USA to receive a master’s degree in biochemistry at the College of Medicine, Indiana University and a Ph.D. in nutritional science at the University of Illinois. Then, she worked as a research fellow at the University of Florida and moved to Seoul National University in 1978, since which she focused on the study of natural substances for over 40 years.
Established a research method for new medicine from natural substances by introducing a natural substance separation method dependent on biologically active matters
Today, natural substances are attracting attention as an alternative to overcome the side effects and restrictions of synthetic medicine. However, when she began research in this area, there was little interest and the research methods, too, were repeating the existing chemical analysis only. To find out the activation and functioning mechanism of natural substances, she established a method to search for the bio-activation of natural materials at the level of a cell, utilizing the bioengineering technique. Through the method, in a relatively short time, it was possible to search for activation even with a tiny amount of a natural substance sample, making it easier to secure reproducibility and consistency compared to animal experiments. This establishment of the activation search method led to the increase in efficiency of chemical analysis of natural substances and the verification of activation in the level of biology and chemistry. And, using this search method, it was possible to separate various structured potential substances and find out the chemical structures and functional mechanisms so that they can be developed into a cure for liver disease or degenerative cranial nerve disease from domestic native plants.
The research was recognized internationally and supported with expenses for two million dollars for five years from the US National Institute of Health in 1998, for the topic of “Neuroprotective compounds from Oriental Medicine”. Through the study, she was able to establish the basis of the research on Korean and overseas natural substance-related areas and contributed to the establishment of the research project on the development of new medicines from natural substances led by the government in 2000. Also, she established a natural substances bank and a natural compound library, which were the starting points of natural substances research. She established a system so that researchers could share them, making efforts to encourage their utilization.
Contributed to the conservation and development of domestic native plant and rare natural plant resources
She also continued to make efforts in the conservation of domestic native and rare natural substance resources. She took a leading role in establishing herb parks and arboretums for domestic natural substances amounting to over 280,000m2 in the area of Ilsan, Siheung, and Paju, in Gyeonggi-province for the conservation of Korean native and rare natural substances and sustainable research and development. Those herb parks and arboretums have established their profile as core fundamental facilities for searching for materials of new medicine development from natural substances as well as conserving domestic medicinal plants under threat of extinction due to changes in climate and industrial environments, and functioning as education and research facilities to enhance the utilization of them.
She published over 250 papers based on them and registered 30 patents as well as making two technical transfers, via which she led the research on domestic natural substances and industrialization thereof. Along with this, she also contributed to the development of healthcare administration and the pharmacy industry, working actively as the Director of the Korea Health Industry Development Institute, and the Central Pharmacy Deliberation Committee member and New Medicine R&D Policy Deliberation Committee member of the Ministry of Health and Welfare. In addition, she made efforts to foster junior scholars as well and taught 21 Ph.Ds and 55 masters, providing the important basis for the rapid development of research on Korean natural substances and new medicines.
Recognized for her achievements, Professor Kim was appointed to many positions, such as the President of the Korea Pharmacy Society, President of the Korea Pharmacognosy Society, and Vice President of the Korea Association of Science and Technology Organizations, and is currently working as a member of the Korean Academy of Science and is a life member of the Korean Academy of Science and Technology. Especially, as the first woman professor of the College of Pharmacy, SNU and woman President of the Korea Pharmacy Society, she led activities to support women scientists. As a result, she was awarded the Main Award of the Woman Scientist and Technologist of the Year by the Korea Science and Technology Foundation, the first Amore-Pacific Woman Scientist and Technologist Award and the Bichumi Woman Award, as well as being appointed as the global leader of Korea-UK Woman Scientist. All these make her the representative woman scientist of Korea and global natural substances researcher, both in name and reality.