Dr. Suk-Ki Hong was born in Kyonggi Do, South Korea in 1928. He received his medical degree from Severance Union Medical College (now Yonsei University College of Medicine) in 1948 and his doctorate in physiology from the University of Rochester in 1956 under the guidance of Dr. Edward Adolph. Dr. Hong moved to the University of Buffalo in 1956 to join Dr. Hermann Rahn’s department and returned to Yonsei University in 1959. From 1959 to 1968, he rose from Assistant Professor to Professor and Chair of the Physiology Department at Yonsei. In 1968 he accepted a professorship at the University of Hawaii’s Department of Physiology. He subsequently chaired that department from 1971to 1975. Dr. Hong returned to Buffalo in 1975 as a Professor of Physiology in the SUNY School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, and spent the rest of his academic career at Buffalo. In 1995, he was named SUNY Distinguished Professor, the highest academic honor which the SUNY Board of Trustees bestows on its faculty members.
Dr. Hong’s principal scientific contributions were made in two areas: renal function and the physiology of diving. His work made him a major figure in both disciplines for nearly 40 years. His studies in diving physiology encompassed both human breath-hold diving and saturation diving, and were performed with colleagues in Korea, Japan, Europe and the U.S. His publications concerning breath-hold diving in the Ama, the diving women of Korea & Japan, extend over a period of 35 years, and constitute perhaps the most thorough record in the literature to date of all aspects of breath-hold diving, from thermoregulation to cardiovascular adjustments, gas exchange, nutrition, hormonal effects, and energy requirements. In the area of high pressure physiology, Dr. Hong described and characterized the phenomenon of hyperbaric diuresis in human divers. He also studied its cellular aspects, in particular the effects of hyperbaria on sodium transport in isolated epithelial cells and tissues.
In recognition of his scientific accomplishments, in 1963 Dr. Hong received the Samil Cultural Prize in Natural Sciences, the highest civilian award given by the Korean Government, and an honorary Doctor of Science degree from Kyongpook National University in 1983. Again in 1983, he was the recipient of the Stover-Link Award from the Undersea Medical Society. In 1987, UB’s School of Medicine & Biomedical Sciences awarded Dr. Hong the Stockton Kimball Prize, its premier honor for a faculty member who has excelled in research, education and service. In view of his international standing in the area of diving research, he was invited to edit a section entitled "Adaptation to the Hyperbaric Environment" in the prestigious Handbook of Physiology published by the American Physiological Society. He received a special citation for Distinguished Service from the panel on Diving Physiology and Technology of the U.S.-Japan Cooperative Program in Natural Resources. In 1995 the Environmental/Exercise Physiology Section of the American Physiological Society presented him with its Senior Investigator Honor Award.
Dr. Hong’s scientific contributions were highly regarded by his peers, and they continued without interruption for 35 years. He was tireless in his efforts to train his students and fellows and he inspired their sincere respect and true affection. An entire generation of physiologists has profited not only from his knowledge and high intellectual standards, but also from his honesty, enthusiasm, generous nature, and personal warmth. The many students and fellows who trained with him have gone on to productive and important scientific careers in many parts of the world, most particularly in his native land and here in the U.S.
Dr. Hong’s generosity with his ideas and his comprehensive knowledge, his open-mindedness and unselfish good nature earned him the enduring respect and genuine affection of all who had the good fortune to know him. Even though he was a famously hard worker who set high standards for himself and his associates, he was consistently constructive and truly interested in bringing out the best in people. His desire to excel was always informed and tempered by his humanity, his innate fairness and a lively sense of humor. His family, friends and colleagues still sorely miss him.
Mark Knepper, MD, PhD
Chief, Laboratory of Kidney and Electrolyte Metabolism, National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, National Institute of Health
Systems Biology and Physiology & Vasopressin Signaling in the Renal Collecting Duct
P. Darwin Bell, PhD
Endowed Professor of Medicine; Vice Chairman of Research Medical University of South Carolina
Control of Renal Hemodynamics & Mechanisms that Regulate Cystogenesis in Polycystic Kidney Disease
Alicia McDonough, PhD
Professor of Cell and Neurobiology, Director Systems Biology and Disease Graduate Program, USC Keck School of Medicine
Regulation of Intrarenal/Intratubular Renin Angiotensin System in Hypertension & Regulation of Distal Convoluted Tubule Sodium Chloride Co-Transporte
L. Gabriel Navar, PhD
Professor and Chair of Physiology, Tulane University Health Sciences Center
Regulation of Intrarenal/Intratubular Renin Angiotensin System in Hypertension & Renal Hemodynamic and Transport Alteration in Angiotensin II Dependent Hypertension
Dennis Brown, PhD
Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School
Were water channels really discovered on Mars? A history of vasopressin-induced water flow in transporting epithelia & Regulation of aquaporin 2 trafficking in the kidney: new pathways, new players
Seth L. Alper, MD, PhD
Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School
Therapeutic Manipulation of Cell Volume Pathways in Sickle Disease & Molecular Physiology of Anion Exchangers
Walter F. Boron, MD, PhD
Professor and Former Chair, Department of Cellular and Molecular Physiology, Yale School of Medicine
Bicarbonate Metabolons: Does Carbonic Anhydrase II Really Bind to and Stimulate HCO3 Transporters? & Sniffing CO2: How the Renal Proximal Tubule Responds to Acute Respiratory Acidosis?