4 Ph.Ds? Researcher says it’s not enough

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4 Ph.Ds? Researcher says it’s not enough

If there’s such a thing as a “grand slam” in the medical field, it would be to have doctoral degrees in four different fields.
Korea now has its first medical grand slam: a person with doctorates in Western, Oriental and Chinese medicine, as well as pharmaceutics.
On Aug. 22, Choi Won-cheol, 44, received his Ph.D. in Oriental medicine, with research on the safety of natural materials and their effectiveness against cancer. Dr. Choi is the director of the cancer center at Kyung Hee University’s East-West Neo Medical Center.
“I hope to lay down a steppingstone in the fight against cancer by bringing Oriental and Western medicine together,” Dr. Choi said.
Dr. Choi was a visiting professor at Liaoning University of Traditional Chinese Medicine and is a member of the Russian Academy of Sciences. Mr. Choi obtained an honorable doctoral degree in Chinese medicine from Liaoning University in 1995, and a doctor of medicine degree in 1997 at Moscow State University. He received his Ph.D. in pharmaceuticals at Moscow State University in 2003 for research on the effectiveness of natural materials against the spread of cancer cells.
In the beginning, he studied Oriental medicine at Wonkwang University and Kyung Hee University. But in 1994, he saw his wife’s sister die from a bone tumor, and two years later he lost his father-in-law to liver cancer.
“After I lost 10 relatives to cancer, I became skeptical about my studies. I went to China and Russia in 1990 because I wanted to study something different,” he said.
Dr. Choi’s idea about integrating medical sciences solidified when he conducted research in China and Russia. He learned that doctors in those countries used nuclear medicine in addition to Western and Oriental medicines to treat cancer. Since then, he has worked tirelessly to study Western medicine and pharmaceutics.
“I didn’t spend much time with my two adolescent sons when I was getting my Ph.D. I’m sorriest about that,” he said.
Dr. Choi said, however, there is still a long way to go before a cure can be found. “When I met physicists at the Russian Academy of Sciences, I thought that by applying physics to Oriental medicine, a more scientific form of treatment could emerge,” he said.
Dr. Choi said he has done some research on integrating different sciences with the Seoul National University professor Soh Kwang-sup and Cho Zang-hee, the director of a brain science research center at the Gachon University of Medicine and Science in Gyeonggi province. Dr. Soh has studied ways to merge physics and Oriental medicine, while Dr. Cho has conducted research on incorporating Oriental medicine into brain science.
Dr. Choi added that he is interested in obtaining a doctorate in physics, as well.


by Lee Jae-hoon

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