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Celebrating Dr. Sang Hoon Han for National Postdoc Appreciation Week

Dr. Han, a researcher working to develop an improved oral antiviral drug that considers future variants for the treatment of COVID-19, wins second place - 2022 Postdoctoral Excellence Award.

09/15/2022




Sang Hoon Han, PhD, grew up with a deep love for science, recognizing its presence in everyday life. This love ultimately led him to leave his home in South Korea in March 2022 to join the lab of Shaun Stauffer, PhD, as a postdoctoral fellow with a degree in organic chemistry. Dr. Han’s focus in the lab is synthesizing target compounds and learning how to design drugs, evaluate synthesized molecules and run docking programs.  

“I’ve gained so much knowledge already, but I’m surprised by new things every day. It’s very exciting,” says Dr. Han. “So many people don’t know or understand what’s going on in the drug discover field, and that’s something I’d like to change.” 

His infectious love for and extensive knowledge of research was recognized earlier this month when he received the 2022 Postdoctoral Excellence Award at the Lerner Research Institute Research Education and Training Center’s Awards for Excellence ceremony, for his paper, Structure-Based Optimization of ML300-Derived, Noncovalent Inhibitors Targeting the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 3CL Protease (SARS-CoV-2 3CLpro). 

Dr. Han’s research specifically is dedicated to finding a novel compound for non-covalent 3CLpro inhibitors, which will help his team develop a best-in-class drug for the treatment of COVID-19. He and his team already have synthesized and screened more than 370 compounds.  

“Ultimately, we’d like to make a better oral antiviral drug for the treatment of COVID-19,” says Dr. Han. “There is one drug on the market today, but there are things that need to be improved. The data in this study is helping provide a better understanding so that we can create a better drug for more people that considers future variants of the virus.” 

In his free time, Dr. Han loves to watch Cleveland sports and explore local breweries. He also enjoys spending quality time with his wife, for whom he is immensely grateful, and their one-year-old daughter.  

“I feel so lucky and happy to be in this position,” Dr. Han says. “I couldn’t have done it without my amazing coworkers, who inspire and impress me every day. They are helping me become a better scientist.” 




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