Sang-Oh Yoon, PhD

Assistant Professor University of Illinois College of Medicine PeoriaCancer Biology and Pharmacology
Work Phone: 309-680-8639
Photo of Sang-Oh Yoon PhD

Biographical Info


In order for cells to survive environmental stresses and maintain homeostatic balance, a complex cellular signaling network integrates information about the external and internal environment. In cancer, deregulation of signaling disrupts the normal and well controlled physiological homeostasis and enables cancer cells to grow and metastasize during periods of environmental stress. Yoon lab’s interest is to biochemically and molecularly decode cancer cell signaling, specifically PI3K/Akt, mTOR, and Ras/ERK signaling networks, to form a strong basis for cancer therapeutics.


B.S. 1997, Yonsei University, South Korea, Major: Biochemistry
M.S. 1999, Yonsei University, South Korea, Major: Biochemistry
Ph.D. 2002, Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST), Major: Cancer & Cell Biology


Postdoctoral Fellow, 2003-2009, Harvard Medical School
Assistant Professor, 2009- 2013, Department of Cancer & Cell Biology, University of Cincinnati College of Medicine
Instructor, 2013-2014, Department of Cell Biology, Harvard Medical School
Research Assistant Professor, 2014- 2016, Department of Pharmacology, Weill Cornell Medical School
Assistant Professor, 2016- Present, Department of Cancer Biology & Pharmacology, University of Illinois at Chicago

Honors and Awards

Awards for Outstanding Scholar from Yonsei University, 1995-1996
Korea Ministry of Education Scholarship, 1997-1998
Korea Ministry of Science and Technology Scholarship, 1999-2002
Best thesis of Korea Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, 2002
Harvard Medical School fellowship, 2008-2009
University of Cincinnati faculty awards, 2009
Marlene Harris Breast Cancer Program awards 2012-2013


  1. Li J, Shin S, Sun Y, Yoon SO, Li C, Zhang E, Yu J, Zhang J, Blenis J. (2016) mTORC1-driven tumor cells are highly sensitive to therapeutic targeting by antagonists of oxidative stress. Cancer Research, In Press.
  2. Shin S, Buel GR, Wolgamott L, Plas DR, Asara JM, Blenis J, Yoon SO (2015). ERK2 mediates metabolic stress response to regulate cell fate. Mol Cell, 59, 382-398.
  3. Csibi A, Lee G, Yoon SO, Tong H, Ilter D, Elia I, Fendt S, Hurov J, Roberts T, and Blenis J (2014). Regulation of glutamine metabolism by mTORC1/S6K1/eIF4B-dependent control of c-Myc translation and glutaminase expression. Current Biol, 24, 2274-80
  4. Shin S, Wolgamott L, Roux PP, and Yoon SO (2014). Casein Kinase 1ε promotes cell proliferation by regulating mRNA translation. Cancer Research, 74, 201-211.
  5. Shin S, Wolgamott L, Tcherkezian J, Yu Y, Roux PP, Yoon SO (2014). Glycogen synthase kinase-3β positively regulates protein synthesis and cell proliferation through the regulation of eukaryotic translation initiation factor 4E-binding protein 1. Oncogene, 33(13):1690-9
  6. Yoon SO and Roux PP (2013). Rapamycin resistance: mTORC1 substrates hold some of the answers. Current Biology, 23, R880-883
  7. Potluri V, Noothi SK, Vallabhapurapu SD, Yoon SO, Driscoll JJ, Lawrie CH, Vallabhapurapu S (2013) Transcriptional repression of Bim by a novel YY1-RelA complex is essential for the survival and growth of Multiple Myeloma. PLoS One, 8, e66121
  8. Shin S, Wolgamott L, and Yoon SO (2012) Regulation of endothelial cell morphogenesis by the protein kinase D (PKD)/glycogen synthase kinase 3(GSK3)β pathway. American Journal of Physiology- Cell physiology. 303, C743-56
  9. Shin S, Wolgamott L, Yoon SO (2012). Glycogen synthase kinase (GSK)-3 and mammalian target of rapamycin complex 1 (mTORC1) cooperate to regulate protein S6 kinase 1(S6K1). Cell cycle, 11, 1053-1054
  10. Shin S, Wolgamott L, Yoon SO (2012). Integrin trafficking and tumor progression. Int J Cell Biol., 2012:516789
  11. Shin S, Wolgamott L, Yu Y, Blenis J, Yoon SO (2011). Glycogen synthase kinase (GSK)-3 promotes p70 ribosomal protein S6 kinase (p70S6K) activity and cell proliferation. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA. 108, E1204–E1213
  12. Yu Y, Yoon SO, Poulogiannis G, Yang Q, Ma XM, Villen J, Kubica N, Hoffman Gr, Cantley LC, Gygi SP, and Blenis J. (2011) Phosphoproteomic analysis identifies Grb10 as an mTORC1 substrate that negatively regulates insulin signaling. Science, 332, 1322-6
  13. Shin S, Dimitri CA, Yoon SO, Dowdle W, and Blenis J. (2010) ERK2, but not ERK1, induces epithelial to mesenchymal transformation via DEF motif dependent signaling events. Mol Cell, 38, 114-127
  14. Choo AY, Kim SG, Heiden MGV, Mahoney SJ, Vu H, Yoon SO, Cantley LC, and Blenis J. (2010) Glucose addiction of TSC-null cells is caused by failed mTORC1-dependent balancing of metabolic demand with supply. Mol Cell, 38, 487-499
  15. Abe Y, Yoon SO, Kubota K, Mendoza MC, Gygi SP, and Blenis J. (2009). RSK and S6K link phosphorylation of the eukaryotic chaperonin containing TCP-1 to growth factor, insulin and nutrient signaling. J Biol Chem. 284, 14939-48
  16. Yoon SO, Shin S, Liu Y, Ballif BA, Woo MS, Gygi SP, and Blenis J. (2008). Ran-binding protein 3 phosphorylation links the Ras and PI3-kinase pathways to nucleocytoplasmic transport. Mol Cell 29, 362-375
  17. Ma XM, Yoon SO, Richardson CJ, Julich K, and Blenis J. (2008). SKAR links pre-mRNA splicing to mTOR/S6K1-mediated enhanced translation efficiency of spliced mRNAs. Cell 133, 303-13
  18. Choo AY, Yoon SO, Kim SG, Roux PP, and Blenis J. (2008). Rapamycin differentially inhibits S6Ks and 4E-BP1 to mediate cell-type specific repression of mRNA translation. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 105, 17414-9
  19. Kim KH, Cho YS, Park JM, Yoon SO, Kim KW, and Chung AS (2007). Pro-MMP-2 activation by PPARgamma agonist, ciglitazone, induces cell invasion through the generation of ROS and the activation of ERK. FEBS Lett. 581:3303-3310
  20. Yoon SO, Shin S, and Lipscomb EA. (2006) A novel mechanism for integrin-mediated ras activation in breast carcinoma cells: the alpha6beta4 integrin regulates ErbB2 translation and transactivates epidermal growth factor receptor/ErbB2 signaling. Cancer Res. 66, 2732-2739
  21. Yoon SO, Shin S, and Mercurio AM. (2006) Ras stimulation of E2F activity and a consequent E2F regulation of integrin alpha6beta4 promote the invasion of breast carcinoma cells. Cancer Res. 66, 6288-6295
  22. Yoon SO, Shin S, Lee HJ, Chun HK and Chung AS. (2006). Isoginkgetin inhibits tumor cell invasion by regulating phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase/Akt-dependent matrix metalloproteinase-9 expression. Mol.Cancer Ther. 5, 2666-75
  23. Yoon SO, Shin S, and Mercurio AM. (2005) Hypoxia stimulates carcinoma invasion by stabilizing microtubules and promoting the Rab11 trafficking of the a6b4 integrin. Cancer Res. 65, 2761-2769
  24. Bachelder RE, Yoon SO, Franci C, Herreros AG, and Mercurio AM. (2005) GSK-3 is an endogenous inhibitor of Snail transcription: Implications for the epithelial-mesenchymal transition. J. Cell Biol. 168, 29-33
  25. Chung J, Yoon S, Datta K, Bachelder RE, Mercurio AM. (2004) Hypoxia- induced vascular endothelial growth factor transcription and protection from apoptosis are dependent on α6β1 integrin in breast carcinoma cells. Cancer Res. 64, 4711- 4716
  26. Chung J, Yoon SO, Lipscomb EA, Mercurio AM. (2004) The Met receptor and alpha 6 beta 4 integrin can function independently to promote carcinoma invasion. J. Biol. Chem. 279:32287-32293
  27. Kim MM, Yoon SO, Cho YS, Chung AS. (2004) Histone deacetylases, HDAC1 and HSIR2, act as a negative regulator of ageing through p53 in human gingival fibroblast. Mech Ageing Dev. 125:351-357
  28. Han MJ, Kim BY, Yoon SO, Chung AS. (2003) Cell proliferation induced by reactive oxygen species is mediated via mitogen-activated protein kinase in Chinese hamster lung fibroblast (V79) cells. Mol Cells 15: 94-101
  29. Yoon SO, Park SJ, Yun CH, Chung AS. (2003) Roles of matrix metalloproteinases in tumor metastasis and angiogenesis. J. Biochem. Mol. Biol. 36:128-137
  30. Yoon SO, Yun CH and Chung AS. (2002) Dose effect of oxidative stress on signal transduction in aging. Mech. Ageing Dev. 123: 1597-1604
  31. Yoon SO, Kim MM, Park SJ, Kim D, Chung J, and Chung AS. (2002) Selenite suppresses hydrogen peroxide-induced cell apoptosis through inhibition of ASK1/JNK and activation of PI3-K/Akt pathways. FASEB J. 16, 111-113
  32. Yoon SO, Park SJ, Yoon SY, Yun CH and Chung AS. (2002) Sustained production of H2O2 activates pro-MMP-2 through receptor tyrosine kinases/PI3-K/NF-kB pathway. J. Biol. Chem. 277, 30271-30282
  33. Yoon SO, Park SJ and Chung AS. (2002) Selenite inhibits apoptosis via activation of PI3-K /Akt pathway. Ann. N. Y. Acad. Sci. 973: 221-223
  34. Yoon SO, Kim MM and Chung AS. (2001) Inhibitory effect of selenite on invasion of HT1080 tumor cells. J. Biol. Chem. 276, 20085-20092
  35. Kim D, Kim S, Koh H, Yoon SO, Chung AS, Cho KS, and Chung J. (2001) Akt/PKB promotes cancer cell invasion via increased motility and metalloproteinase production. FASEB J. 15, 1953-1962
  36. Jung U, Zheng X, Yoon SO, and Chung AS. (2001) Se-methylselenocysteine induces apoptosis mediated by ROS in HL-60 cells. Free Radic. Biol. Med. 31, 479-489
  37. Yoon SO, Lee YS, Lee SH, and Cho YD. (2000) Polyamine synthesis in plants: isolation and characterization of spermidine synthase from soybean (Glycine max) axes. Biochim. Biophys. Acta. 1475, 17-26
Categories: Cancer Biology and Pharmacology, UICOMP