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NCI Scientist Lee Dies Suddenly

Dr. Young K. Lee, a visiting fellow in the National Cancer Institute's Laboratory of Medicinal Chemistry, died Apr. 29 of complications from stomach cancer. She was expecting her second child when she learned of her diagnosis.

Lee came to NIH in 1998 following the completion of her Ph.D. studies in medicinal chemistry under department chairman Dr. Wayne Anderson at the State University of New York at Buffalo. She earned her M.S. and B.S. degrees at the Seoul National University in Korea, her homeland.

During her tenure at NCI, Lee conducted research under the direction of Dr. Terry Burke on the development of new inhibitors of HIV integrase as potential new AIDS therapeutics. Lee was particularly interested in preparing inhibitors that would bind irreversibly to the integrase enzyme so that its X-ray crystallographic structure could be determined. She had recently developed a new synthetic approach to produce highly reactive integrase inhibitors in stable latent forms. These molecules could be unmasked in a final step to yield inhibitors that would irreversibly bind to the HIV integrase enzyme. Lee had successfully applied this technology to a series of HIV integrase inhibitors that are currently undergoing biological evaluation.

Lee's ashes have been returned to Korea by her family. To assist them, a memorial fund has been set up at the NIH Federal Credit Union in the name of her husband, Myungsik Yoo. Donations may be sent to the NIH Federal Credit Union at P. O. Box 6475, Rockville, MD 20849-6475.

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