Myung Hee Park, PhD

Senior Investigator

Molecular & Cellular Biochemistry Section


Building 30 Room 3A300
30 Convent Dr MSC 4340
Bethesda MD 20892-4340


Research Topics

Dr. Myung Hee Park studies the role of a polyamine-modified cellular protein—eukaryotic translation factor 5A (eIF5A) -- in the regulation of eukaryotic protein synthesis, cell proliferation, and tumorigenesis. 5A(eIF5A) contains an amino acid known as hypusine. Hypusine modification is vital for protein synthesis and cell proliferation and offers a novel target for intervention in aberrant cell growth, such as cancer. Dr. Park’s group established the enzymatic steps of hypusine synthesis involving the polyamine spermidine, and cloned and characterized the mechanisms and structural properties of the two enzymes, deoxyhypusine synthase (DHS) and deoxyhypusine hydroxylase (DOHH). The group is developing inhibitors of DHS and DOHH through rational design and high throughput screening for use in treatments for diseases in which eIF5A has been implicated. Dr. Park also investigates the function and the mechanism of action of polycationic polyamines in the regulation of cellular proliferation, differentiation, and transformation.


Dr. Park received her BS from Seoul National University, Korea, and her PhD in chemistry from Brown University. Dr. Park completed her postdoctoral work in cell biology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. In 1979, she joined the Laboratory of Biochemistry at NIDCR as a visiting fellow and discovered a novel posttranslational modification pathway that converts a specific lysine of the eukaryotic translation factor, eIF5A, to hypusine by the polyamine spermidine. Dr. Park was appointed chief of the Molecular and Cellular Biochemistry in NIDCR in 1998. Dr. Park is recognized for her pioneering research on the hypusine modification of eIF5A and on the functions of polyamines and eIF5A as key regulators in mammalian cells

This page was last updated on February 18th, 2018