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Brittany Jennings
November 3, 2021

Dr. Kuo-Hsiung Lee, Ph.D.

UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy Distinguished Professor Kuo-Hsiung Lee, Ph.D., passed away Oct. 24, at the age of 81. Funeral services will be held on Saturday, November 6, at 2 p.m. in the Mausoleum Chapel at Raleigh Memorial Park.

Dr. Lee was a world-renowned natural product chemist in the School’s Division of Chemical Biology & Medicinal Chemistry (and served as Division Chair from ’98-‘99). He recently retired from the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy in June, after more than 50 years of service to our state and School.

Since 1971, his efforts have led to the discovery of several thousand compounds, providing leads for new generation drug design to develop future pharmaceutical agents to treat cancers, infections, and other diseases.

“The world lost a truly remarkable scientist who spent each day working toward finding solutions to the most challenging health issues. Dr. Lee will be deeply missed,” said Angela Kashuba, dean of the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy.

In his career, Dr. Lee authored close to 1,000 publications, contributed more than 120 patents, and delivered an impressive 450+ presentations.

Dr. Lee also earned many accolades worldwide. To name just a few, in 1996, he was elected an Academician of Academia Sinica in Taiwan, where he also served as a member of the Tang Prize in Biopharmaceutical Science Selection Committee. He was elected Fellow of the American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists (1986), Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (1994), and Fellow of the American Society of Pharmacognosy (2010). He had been awarded the Lifu Academic Award for Chinese Medicine, Outstanding Achievement Award, University of Minnesota (1999), Kitasato Microbial Chemistry Medal, Japan (2005), American Society of Pharmacognosy Norman R. Farnsworth Research Achievement Award (2009), Order of the Rising Sun, Gold Rays with Neck Ribbons from the government of Japan (2011), the Ernest H. Volwiler Research Achievement Award from American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy (2015), and the Third Cheung On Tak International Award for Outstanding Contribution to Chinese Medicine from Hong Kong Baptist University (2016). Dr. Lee is also remembered for his love of Chinese calligraphy and passion for Tai Chi that he developed later in life.

Longtime colleague and K.H. Lee Distinguished Professor Alex Tropsha has known Dr. Lee since 1991. Tropsha says, “As we mourn Prof. Kuo-Hsiung Lee’s passing, we should remain inspired to work toward achieving and maintaining the same level of dedication to research and professionalism as was embodied by KH.”

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