Wai-Kwan Alfred Yung, MD, Oral History Interview, March 20, 2014

Title

Wai-Kwan Alfred Yung, MD, Oral History Interview, March 20, 2014

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Description

Major Topics Covered

  • Personal and educational background; faith; challenges of intercultural assimilation
  • Evolution of research on glioblastoma: from study of chromosomal patterns to investigation of genes and genetic/molecular mechanisms
  • Research design for difficult cancers
  • History of Neuro-Oncology services and research at MD Anderson
  • History of the Department of Neuro-Oncology
  • The Brain Tumor Center: collaborative relationships and shared resources with Neuro-Oncology, Neuro-Surgery, Neuro-Pathology, neuro-imaging and other support fields

Identifier

YungA_01_20140320

Publication Date

3-20-2014

Publisher

The Historical Resources Center, Research Medical Library, The University of Texas Cancer Center

City

Houston, Texas

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.

Topics Covered

University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, UT MD Anderson Cancer Center, University of Texas System. M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, M.D. Anderson Hospital and Tumor Institute at Houston, University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, M.D. Anderson Hospital and Tumor Institute

Disciplines

History of Science, Technology, and Medicine | Oncology | Oral History

About the Interview

About the Interview Subject:

Dr. Wai-Kwan Alfred Yung, M.D (b. 8 April 1948, Hong Kong) joined MD Anderson in 1981 as an Assistant Professor in the Neuro-Oncology Section. Dr. Yung established his reputation with work on chromosomal heterogeneity in tumors and its effect on drug sensitivity, shifting to translational studies looking at the role of epidermal growth factors in determining drug effectiveness.He has served as Chair of that Department since 1999. He also serves as Co-Director (of the Brain Tumor Center. He holds the Margaret & Ben Love Chair in Clinical Cancer in Honor of Dr. Charles A. LeMaistre.

Original Interview Profile #51: Wai-Kwan Alfred Yung, M.D.

Submitted by: Tacey A. Rosolowski, Ph.D.

Date: 29 July 2014

This interview with Dr. Wai-Kwan Alfred Yung, M.D (b. 8 April 1948, Hong Kong) takes place in four sessions during the spring of 2014 (approximate total duration six hours and five minutes). Dr. Yung joined MD Anderson in 1981 as an Assistant Professor in the Neuro-Oncology Section. He has served as Chair of that Department since 1999. He also serves as Co-Director (with Dr. Raymond Sawaya [Oral History Interview]) of the Brain Tumor Center. He holds the Margaret & Ben Love Chair in Clinical Cancer in Honor of Dr. Charles A. LeMaistre. This interview takes place in a conference room in the Neuro-Oncology Department on the seventh floor of the Faculty Center on the Main Campus of MD Anderson. Tacey A. Rosolowski, Ph.D. is the interviewer.

Dr. Yung was born and educated in Hong Kong, emigrating the United States for his undergraduate program in Biochemistry at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, Minnesota (BS conferred in 1971). Dr. Yung then attended the University of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois for medical school, receiving his MD in 1975. That same year he went to the University of California, San Diego for his residency in Neurology. From 1978−1979 he was Chief Resident in Neurology at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York, holding an overlapping research fellowship in Neuro-Oncology at the same institution (1978 – 1981). He then came to MD Anderson as an Assistant Professor and clinician in neuro-oncology. Dr. Yung established his reputation with work on chromosomal heterogeneity in tumors and its effect on drug sensitivity, shifting to translational studies looking at the role of epidermal growth factors in determining drug effectiveness.

In this interview, Dr. Yung talks about the development of neuro-oncology services at MD Anderson, beginning with neuro-consults, through the development of aggressive research on brain tumors and their treatments, to sophisticated team approaches to treatment and research orchestrated through the Brain Tumor Center, a collaborative set of relationships and shared resources with Neuro-Surgery, Neuro-Pathology, neuro-imaging services and other support fields. He traces the growth of his own research focus on glioblastoma. His career evolved as research was absorbing information about DNA and shifting from a study of chromosomal patterns to investigation of genes and genetic/molecular mechanisms. Dr. Yung is able to provide perspective on the complexity innovative research design for such difficult cancers. He speaks about his role in shaping translational brain tumor research at MD Anderson and nationally.

Dr. Yung also provides perspective on the growth of the Department of Neuro-Oncology and its evolving links with related services. He also offers perspectives on changes the institution has undergone in the last three decades. Dr. Yung also discusses his own experiences as a cancer patient, diagnosed with a rare bladder cancer in 1999. He also discusses the importance of religious faith in his life since adolescence. He also comments on the challenges of intercultural assimilation when he immigrated to the United States.

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Wai-Kwan Alfred Yung, MD, Oral History Interview, March 20, 2014

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