New Tabor Young Investigator Award winner

Yeongseok Chung won the Tabor award in late October at the International Cytokine and Interferon Meeting in Melbourne, Australia. Charles Samuel, a JBC associate editor, issued the award. Also in attendance were associate editors Luke O’Neill  (left) and Xiao-Fan Wang.

Yeonseok Chung, an assistant professor at Seoul National University, is the recipient of the Journal of Biological Chemistry/Herb Tabor Young Investigator Award for his ongoing work on immune responses.

Chung began his work on the immune response while completing his master’s and doctoral research in the laboratory of Chang-Yuil Kang at Seoul National University. His studies focused on the mucosal immune system and its crosstalk with the gut immune system. Chung also worked on potential therapeutics for cancer while completing his doctorate.

During his postdoctoral work in the laboratory of Chen Dong at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Chung further diversified his studies by investigating the differentiation of naive T cells into the specific Th17 cell lineage. Chung discovered that interleukin-1 signaling is crucial for this commitment. He also discovered the follicular regulatory T cell as a novel subset of regulatory T cells specialized for controlling germinal center reactions.

Chung then established his own laboratory, first at UT and then at Seoul National University. He has continued to delve deeper into research involving the immune response. Currently, Chung and his lab are studying the interplay of lipids in the immune response and related diseases. He also is focusing on immune response in the lung, asking why the lung preferentially triggers only specific helper T cell responses. While his work uncovers the fundamental pathways and players in the immune response, Chung said that he is hopeful that his work will lead to new therapies for treating immune disorders in humans.

Caitlin Hanlon Caitlin Hanlon earned a B.S. from Ursinus College and is pursuing a Ph.D. in the cell biology department at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine.