#FacultyFriday: Meet Backil Sung

For this week’s #FacultyFriday feature, meet Dr. Backil Sung, a professor of biology who has taught at the college since 2012. Previously, he worked as an associate professor in the department of natural sciences at Atlantic Union College; as an instructor in the department of anesthesia and critical care at Harvard Medical School; and as an instructor in the department of rehabilitation and physical therapy at Sahmyook University in Seoul, South Korea. Dr. Sung has also worked as a research fellow for many years at Harvard Medical School and at the school of medicine at the University of Minnesota.

Dr. Sung has conducted extensive research in Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease, often including PUC students in his research projects. He has received numerous grants, including PUC’s own Herber Family faculty development grant. Dr. Sung has authored or co-authored 41 scientific papers in neuroscience, mainly in the area of pain mechanisms. He has also authored two book chapters, and authored or co-authored many abstracts.

Name: Backil Sung, M.D., Ph.D.
Title: Professor of biology
Email: bsung@puc.edu
Faculty since: 2012

Classes taught: Neuroscience, General/Medical Microbiology, Biological Foundations 111/113L, Biotechnology labs* (*starting Winter 2018)

Education: M.D. from the School of Medicine at Korea University, 1995; Ph.D. in medical biotechnology from the Graduate School of Biotechnology at Korea University, 1999

Professional activities:

Editor’s note: Since Dr. Sung’s professional activities are so extensive, we have listed only a few of his most recent accomplishments.


Wang, Y. Tian, Y. Ma, G. Lim, J. Mao, B. Sung, J. Mao, Role of central melatoninergic function in comorbidity of pain and depression, Society for Neuroscience 41th Annual Meeting, San Diego, 2010

Book Chapters

Hyangin Kim, Backil Sung, and Jianren Mao, Animal Models of Acute Surgical Pain, Analgesia: Methods and Protocols, vol. 617, p.31-39, Humana Press, 2010


Sujung Yeo, Backil Sung, Yeon-Mi Hong, Maurits van den Noort, Peggy Bosch, Sook-Hyun Lee, Jongbeom Song, Sang-Kyun Park, Sabina Lim, Decreased expression of Serum- and Glucocorticoid-Inducible Kinase 1 (SGK1) promotes alpha-synuclein increase related with dopaminergic cell death in the Substantia Nigra of chronic MPTP-induced Parkinsonism mouse and in SH-SY5Y cells, Gene (Submitted October 23, 2017)

What made you decide to be a teacher?
I wanted to be a research scientist rather than a clinician after graduating from med school. I chose a teaching job that was a good choice to continue to my research. I have an idea or inspiration about research while I interact with students and instructing them.

What are some of your hobbies?
I like to walk/climb mountains, plant trees, and listen to violin music.

What’s something people might be surprised to know about you?
I’ve gone on a medical mission trip to the third world every summer for the past ten years. I have seen patients in remote regions within developing countries such as Cambodia, Tanzania, China, Bangladesh, the Philippines, Dominican Republic, Haiti, Kenya, and Ethiopia. Often the patients are visiting a physician for the first time. I welcome any volunteers to come to work together too.

What’s your favorite thing about PUC?
PUC’s mountain hills where I love to walk along the trails.

What’s your favorite spot on campus?
The microbiology prep room, which is where I conduct my Alzheimer’s disease research.

What’s your favorite book?
The Bible that leads me the right way.

What advice would you give to an incoming freshman?
PUC is a gateway to your future professionally and spiritually.

Interested in learning more about PUC’s biology program? Visit puc.edu/admissions!

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