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Updates: The most complete version of this article is available at the following location

Copyrights: Copyright © 2015 by author(s) and International College of Human Nutrition and Functional Medicine

Citation: Lee HK, Vasquez A. Dr Hong Lee's Personal and Educational Path: Interview with endocrinologist and mitochondrial

toxicologist Dr Hong Kyu Lee by Dr Alex Vasquez.

Int J Hum Nutr Funct Med


International Journal of Human Nutrition and Functional Medicine

Panorama of the court in front of Geunjeongjeon at Gyeongbokgung Palace, Seoul, South Korea

Interview with endocrinologist and mitochondrial toxicologist Dr Hong Kyu Lee

by Dr Alex Vasquez

Dr Hong Lee's Personal and Educational

Path: The New Field of Mitochondrial

Toxicology and Its Clinical Relevance to

Endocrine Disruption and Meaningful

"Control" of the "Diabetes Epidemic"

Dr. Lee—first of all, thank you for your time, and also

thank you for your recent publication addressing the

World Health Organization's plans for "controlling the

diabetes epidemic" which we can discuss later in this

interview. I'd like to begin by asking about your

personal and educational backgrounds, specifically a

few details about your life and how that shaped your

interest in your current scientific research. What

influenced you as a child and student to pursue your

current path? How did that shape your fields of study

and research?

My mother was a doctor and supported our family after

my father died during the Korean War. My maternal

grandfather was also a doctor. I was the third son, and my

elder brothers did not choose Medicine and went into other

disciplines. This family environment might have played

some role in my choice of Medicine. I did not want to go

into private practice, as it seemed too demanding; I wanted

rather to work in a university environment. I first knocked

on the door in the Department of Biochemistry, and a

junior professor told me to go United States if I really

wanted to study Biochemistry because this would be very

difficult in Korea. I was not able to take that path for

several reasons.

What sparked your interest in endocrinology, your

specialty in medicine?

I worked in Internal Medicine and then added

Endocrinology as a subspeciality. It was most interesting,

and it offered a research opportunity. My mentors at that

time played a huge role in my pursuing this path. Professor

Mun-Ho Lee, my thesis supervisor, taught me then the

newly introduced radio-immunoassay, and Hun-Ki Min, a

US-trained endocrinologist, taught me general