Researcher Profile

Researcher Profile

Jong Yun, PhD

Jong Yun, PhD

Associate Professor, Department of Pharmacology
Scientific Program:Next-Generation Therapies

Research Interests

Dr. Jong Yun's work focuses on the development of sphingosine kinase (SphK) inhibitors as anti-cancer therapeutic agents.

The Yun research group is currently pursuing three separate projects that are centered around the development of therapeutic agents that specifically target SphK.

The first project, target identification, combines biochemistry and cell and molecular biology techniques to determine the signaling mechanisms associated with the functional role of SphK in normal and cancerous cells.

The second project, target validation, is closely associated with the physiological and/or pathological functions of SphK. To validate SphK as a therapeutic target, the lab currently has ongoing studies in collaboration with other investigators including clinicians such as oncologists and pathologists.

The third project, proof-of-concept studies, centers around the development of novel disease-specific and effective therapeutic approaches by targeting SphK. In this regard, Dr. Yun's work has already identified and refined novel SphK inhibitors (SKIs) by screening libraries of synthetic compounds. Currently, the lab has several ongoing proof-of-concept studies in collaboration with other investigators who have expertise medicinal chemistry, computational chemistry and in vivo mouse model systems.

  • sphingosine kinase
  • Therapeutics
  • Apoptosis
  • Neoplasms
  • Ceramides
  • Growth
  • Proteins
  • Messenger RNA
  • stannin
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha
  • Cytokines
  • sphingosine 1-phosphate

Recent Publications


Hengst, JA, Dick, TE, Smith, CD & Yun, JK 2020, 'Analysis of selective target engagement by small-molecule sphingosine kinase inhibitors using the Cellular Thermal Shift Assay (CETSA)', Cancer Biology and Therapy, vol. 21, no. 9, pp. 841-852.
Hengst, JA, Hegde, S, Paulson, RF & Yun, JK 2020, 'Development of SKI-349, a dual-targeted inhibitor of sphingosine kinase and microtubule polymerization', Bioorganic and Medicinal Chemistry Letters, vol. 30, no. 20, 127453.


Bellon, A, Wegener, A, Lescallette, AR, Valente, M, Yang, SK, Gardette, R, Matricon, J, Mouaffak, F, Watts, P, Vimeux, L, Yun, JK, Kawasawa, YI, Clawson, GA, Blandin, E, Chaumette, B, Jay, TM, Krebs, MO, Feuillet, V & Hosmalin, A 2018, 'Transdifferentiation of Human Circulating Monocytes Into Neuronal-Like Cells in 20 Days and Without Reprograming', Frontiers in Molecular Neuroscience, vol. 11, 323.


Hengst, J, Dick, TE, Sharma, A, Doi, K, Hegde, S, Tan, SF, Geffert, L, Fox, TE, Sharma, AK, Desai, D, Amin, S, Kester, M, Loughran, TP, Paulson, R, Claxton, D, Wang, H-G & Yun, J 2017, 'SKI-178: A multitargeted inhibitor of sphingosine kinase and microtubule dynamics demonstrating therapeutic efficacy in acute myeloid leukemia models', Cancer Translational Medicine, vol. 3, no. 4, pp. 109-121. <;year=2017;volume=3;issue=4;spage=109;epage=121;aulast=Hengst;type=0>

Clinical Trials Search

Children (age < 18 years)
Adults (age >= 18 years)