Research Communications

Shiyong Wu named director of Edison Biotechnology Institute 

ATHENS, Ohio (Aug. 27, 2012) – Biochemist Shiyong Wu has been named the new director of Ohio University’s Edison Biotechnology Institute (EBI), effective Sept. 1.

Wu, professor of chemistry and biochemistry, has served as a principal investigator at the institute since 2003. He is a longtime recipient of National Institutes of Health (NIH) funding for his research on skin cancer.

“Shiyong brings to the position a diverse intellectual background and strong record of accomplishment in research,” said Joseph Shields, the vice president for research and creative activity and dean of the Graduate College at Ohio University.

 Shiyong Wu
Shiyong Wu

The directorship is a half-time position with a three-year term. Wu will retain his appointment as a faculty member in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry.   

EBI was founded in 1984 to pursue interdisciplinary scientific research on topics such as growth hormone disorders, cancer, aging, diabetes, obesity, inflammation and autoimmune disease. The institute also is focused on developing new drugs and medical technologies that can benefit the public and create new companies and jobs in Ohio.

More than 95 percent of the university’s royalty income from research licenses stems from discoveries at the institute. The university and its inventors have received more than $73 million to date for revenue from a license to the Pfizer corporation for a growth hormone antagonist receptor discovered by scientist John Kopchick and former graduate student Wen Chen in 1987.

The institute is a partner in TechGROWTH Ohio, a state-funded program that provides funding and business coaching to startup companies in Southeast Ohio, including new biotechnology and medical device firms. EBI also works closely with Ohio University’s Innovation Center to support the launch of new technology companies.

“I am honored to have the opportunity to serve as the director of EBI. I would like to thank Dr. Shields for his trust and Drs. Wight and Kopchick for handing over a successful institute with a great team,” Wu said.  “I will work with my colleagues to further strengthen and expand research capacities in the institute, as well as to promote and better serve the commercialization of biotechnologies at Ohio University and in Southeast Ohio.”

In his research, Wu studies how ultraviolet light (UV) activates a complex chemical and biological signaling network in cells that can damage DNA and cause skin cancer. Understanding this network could help investigators identify new targets for future development of therapeutics for the treatment and prevention of UV-related skin cancers and aging.

Wu has a strong track record of securing federal funding for his research. He is currently the principal investigator on a NIH grant and a co-principal investigator on a National Science Foundation MRI grant that supported new scientific equipment for university researchers. He has served as either a lead or co-investigator on several previous grants from federal and private agencies, and currently serves as a regular member of the NIH’s Radiation Therapeutics and Biology study section.

Wu has published more than 50 manuscripts and book chapters. Earlier this year, Wu, Ohio University scientist Hao Chen and graduate student Zhixin Miao won the Ron A. Hites Award for Outstanding Research Publication in the Journal of the American Society for Mass Spectrometry.
In addition, Wu has a U.S. provisional patent filed on a new method to modulate the immune system through the administration of immunomodulatory peptides.

Wu received his doctoral and master’s degrees in chemistry from the University of Nebraska and his bachelor’s degree from the University of Science and Technology of China. He held postdoctoral positions at the University of Nebraska and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and served as an assistant research scientist at the University of Michigan Medical School before his arrival at Ohio University.