Dec 7, 2022 12:00:00 PM       by Kin Leung

The Ongoing Battle Against HIV and AIDS

December is a month of holidays and celebration, but it is also a time to raise awareness for a global epidemic that has lasted over four decades. During World HIV/AIDS Awareness Month, health organizations, including the United States Department of Veteran Affairs, serve to remind everyone about the importance of getting tested, to remember those who succumbed to the disease, and to improve access to advanced therapies.

Since its first identification and description in 1981, medical advances have offered effective therapies to keep the virus at bay, and in some cases even completely cure a patient of the human immunodeficiency virus, or HIV, and to prevent it from becoming the acquired immunodeficiency syndrome, or AIDS, which is often catastrophic to the patient. Unfortunately, as of 2021 per the World Health Organization (WHO), there are still over 38 million people living with HIV, with approximately 1.5 million new infections and 650,000 HIV-related deaths. Much of this has to do with lack of education or proper infrastructure and often obstacles to accessibility for treatment and prevention. I hope to explore HIV with you during this month of awareness so we can do our part to mitigate this persistent epidemic.

Jun 10, 2022 12:00:00 PM       by Kin Leung

ABclonal in Action: Autophagy as a Therapeutic Target


Every now and then when I get hungry, I joke that my stomach is about to digest itself. For the longest time, human science was unaware that our cells could literally eat itself (or more precisely, parts of itself) as well! First described in the 1960s by Christian de Duve (who won the Nobel Prize for discovering the lysosome), the term autophagy derives from Greek words combined to mean “self-eating” and describes a process by which the cell degrades large components and organelles in a distinct mechanism. 1-3 The phenomenon was not studied extensively until the 1990s, when Yoshinori Ohsumi performed a series of groundbreaking experiments to determine the underlying mechanisms of autophagy, an achievement for which he was awarded the 2016 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine. Ohsumi’s work has led to an explosion of research that has precipitated a greater understanding of the role played by cellular digestion, degradation, and recycling pathways in human health and disease.