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WIMR Conference Room Dedication Honors Longtime DHO Scientist


The Department of Human Oncology and the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health formally dedicated WIMR Conference Room 3170 to honor Dr. Shyhmin Huang, DHO senior scientist who died in 2015.

The Department of Human Oncology and the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health formally dedicated WIMR Conference Room 3170 to honor Dr. Shyhmin Huang, DHO senior scientist who died in 2015 at age 55.

Huang worked in the Harari Lab for nearly 20 years. He first came to the department in 1996 as a patient with advanced cancer of the nasopharynx. He was finishing his PhD in biomolecular chemistry at UW under the direction of Dr. Paul J. Bertics and talked about his career plans with Dr. Paul Harari, DHO chairman.

“I asked him, ‘How would you like to do a postdoc here at the cancer center?’” Harari recalled. “Long story short, he spent 20 productive years in my laboratory. He was a remarkably talented postdoc and then assistant scientist and senior scientist—really the day-to-day scientific leader in the Harari Laboratory. We were so lucky to have him.”

During his time with the Harari Lab, Huang published more than 100 abstracts, papers and book chapters with Harari and made a significant impact on the field of radiation oncology and molecular targeting.

He also served as mentor and teacher to many. Among those Huang mentored was Lauryn Werner, associate research specialist in the Harari Lab.

Huang’s daughter Leslie Huang, nephew Albert Wang and daughter Alice Huang attend the dedication ceremony.
“As a mentor, he was very kind and patient,” Werner said. “When I was an undergraduate, he treated me like I was his partner on all the projects, and this was the case for everyone he worked with in the lab. He made everybody feel that their contributions were just as valuable as his. He helped me and many other people throughout the years to become strong scientists.”

Huang’s two daughters, Alice and Leslie, shared in the tribute to their father. Leslie, a junior at UW majoring in genetics, fondly recalled her father’s cooking ability despite his inability to sample his own food due to complications from his cancer.

“He was always experimenting in the kitchen,” Leslie said. “It was his lab away from the lab. He made due with whatever was in the fridge and never used recipes. He based his dishes on those he missed from Taiwan or on things he wished he could have eaten.”

Alice, who is currently in her first year at Mayo Medical School, talked about her father’s love of photography.

“We used to joke that his camera was like third child,” Alice said. “We’d come home and he would be on the couch with special brushes and a cloth dusting off lenses. We thought it was very cute and endearing, but he definitely did have a growing interest in the technology and the professionalism of it all as the years went by. He admired natural beauty and he derived a lot of joy from being able to capture subtle details of things going on around him that maybe other people weren’t seeing.”

Several of Huang’s photos now hang in the conference room that bears his name. “It’s so special to have his photos in this room,” Alice said. “They’re like little piece of him.”