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Recognition for the Ennoblement of the Human Sprit in Academics, The Arts, and Human Welfare

2018 Laureates

Introduction Video

  • Medicine
  • Gou Young Koh
    Distinguished Professor, KAIST /
    Director, Center for Vascular Research, IBS, Korea
  • Education & Work Experience
    1957 Born in Jeonju, Jeollabuk-do, Korea 1983 M.D., Chonbuk National University Medical School 1991 Ph.D., Chonbuk National University Medical School 1995~2001 Professor, Chonbuk National University Medical School 2001~2003 Professor, POSTECH 2003~ Professor, KAIST 2015~ Director, Center for Vascular Research, IBS


Dr. Gou Young Koh is an internationally renowned vascular biologist with a particular longstanding interest in discovering and understanding the angiogenic growth factors that regulate capillary beds in each organ, including tumor vasculature. He discovered and generated several novel and potent modulators of angiogenesis-three angiopoietin-like proteins, COMP-Ang1, DAAP, and ABTAA-based on his keen observations and creative ideas.

Dr. Koh has been working on the unique features of tumor vessels, including regulation of tumor vessel normalization and the relevant changes in tumor microenvironment and immunity. Lately, he demonstrated that Tie2 activation using ABTAA induces strong tumor vessel normalization, leading to enhanced chemotherapeutic drug delivery, favorable changes in tumor microenvironment including beneficial immune cell infiltration, and eventually reduced tumor growth and metastasis.

He has also made several paradigm-shifting achievements in the understanding and treatment of microvascular diseases, particularly in the eye with creative ideas and challenging trials. He established that Tie2 activation can rescue ischemic vascular retinopathies by simultaneously promoting healthy vascular network formation and inhibiting abnormal angiogenesis and vascular leakage. He found that the Angpt-Tie2 system is essential for the integrity of Schlemm’s canal and demonstrated that Tie2 activation is a potential target to cure glaucoma. Dr. Koh validated that Tie2 activation ameliorates sepsis progression by protecting capillary damage in the lungs and kidneys. Lately his work has extended to the field of organ-specific capillaries and lymphatic vessels, and he has found that specific functions of the microvasculature in different organs are executed by organ-specific differentiated endothelial cells. Moreover, his current interests and efforts have uncovered the roles of key regulators for lymphangiogenesis and lymphatic integrity during development and inflammation.