Twenty years ago, Edward T.H. Yeh, MD, chair of the Department of Medicine at the University of Missouri, found that SUMO, a small ubiquitin-like protein found in cells, could glue itself to larger proteins to change their function or location inside the cell. SUMO’s activity in cells can affect cellular functions, leading to developments of cancer, heart disease, neuro-degenerative disorders and many other human illnesses. In celebration of his discovery 20 years ago, Yeh hosted the 8th international conference, “SUMO, Ubiquitin, UBL Proteins: Implications for Human Diseases” in Shanghai Oct. 21-23.
“The goal of the conference was to bring international leaders together to showcase the latest advances in SUMO and ubiquitin research,” Yeh said. “The conference attracted more than 250 participants from 10 countries, including two Nobel Prize winners who discovered ubiquitin, a cousin of SUMO that can also glue to other proteins to change the protein’s fate.”
In addition to his research on SUMO, Yeh also is known internationally as a leader in the field of onco-cardiology, which focuses on providing personalized cardiac care to cancer patients. Researchers in this field seek to identify, prevent and treat cardiovascular complications caused by cancer therapies. This is a rapidly emerging field that aims to bridge cardiology and oncology.
Yeh, who recently published “Oncocardiology — Past, Present, and Future” in the Journal of the American Medical Association Cardiology (JAMA Cardiology), joined the MU School of Medicine in September 2016. He previously served as professor and founding chair of the Department of Cardiology at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston.
The Department of Medicine at MU’s medical school includes the divisions of cardiovascular medicine; endocrinology, diabetes and metabolism; gastroenterology and hepatology; general internal medicine; hematology and oncology; hospital medicine; immunology and rheumatology; infectious diseases; nephrology; and pulmonary, critical care and environmental medicine.