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The Best of the AACR Journals Collection: Author Profiles

photo of Wungki Park

Wungki Park

Title & Affiliation:
Assistant Attending Physician, Hepatopancreaticobiliary Section, Gastrointestinal Oncology Service, Department of Medicine, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, New York, NY.
Member, David M. Rubenstein Center for Pancreatic Cancer Research.
Member, Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy

Most-cited Article:
Genomic Methods Identify Homologous Recombination Deficiency in Pancreas Adenocarcinoma and Optimize Treatment Selection

Q: What is your primary area of study/research?
A: Translational research and early therapeutics focused on tumor immune microenvironment associated with DNA damage repair and KRAS in pancreatic and biliary cancer.

Q: What influenced your decision to embark on a research career?
A: I have always loved science, but my epiphany moment came much later at my first mentor’s lab, well-known for translational research. After a long experiment, I was looking down at my first immunofluorescent slide in a dark room alone. Quietly yet intensely, at each angle I was viewing the slide, I was further captured by the unexplainable, pure joy of realization. The vivid rays in magenta, golden, blue, and green emitting from tiny specimen was so magical to me. I finally found some answers to my long-due question. What great things can I do in life? As I witnessed our preclinical result led to early human clinical trial, I saw a clear vision that translational research is what I want to do. It can potentially transform future medicine and people’s lives.

Q; What excites you most about your research area?
A: The continuous bidirectional learning process involved in translating laboratory science and clinical science is the essential element required to develop novel treatments through clinical trials. Being the bridge between these two and witnessing the change in the field first at the forefront keeps me most excited and wage hope for a brighter future for our patients.

Q: What do you do for fun outside of work? What are your passions and hobbies?
A: There are lots of similarities between my favorite team sports and cancer research. I am a huge soccer fan. I love distance running, biking, tennis, and snowboarding. I’m doing my first NYC marathon in 2022. Wish me good luck, support, and join me in this long battle that requires strength, resilience, and endurance~


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