BioHealth & Life Sciences / International Business
A coalition of Korean American life science leaders aims to save lives in Maryland
By Soo Koo /
March 05, 2020
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Guest feature: Soo Koo is the communications director for the Governor's Office of Community Initiatives. Follow along with GOCI on Facebook and Twitter.

When a group of prominent Korean American doctors in life sciences collaborated to establish a nonprofit in the United States, they chose Rockville, Maryland as their headquarters.

“Maryland is one of the most innovative states in the country, home for the National Institute of Health where many of our members work, and close to the nation’s capital where related laws and regulations are decided,” said Luke Oh, President of Korean-American Professionals in Life Sciences (KAPAL). “Maryland was a natural conclusion.”

Today, KAPAL runs a coalition of leading individuals and organizations in life sciences including hundreds of participants from government entities – National Institute of Health, Federal Drug Administration, U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, and Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, the private sector, and universities - and more than 30 other partners, such as the Maryland Department of Commerce and the Institute for Bioscience and Biotechnology Research at University of Maryland.

Through annual conferences and informational panels, KAPAL promotes knowledge and experience-sharing among professionals in life sciences, bio-health, biotech, biopharmaceutical, and biomedical areas, as well as health IT, medical device, and vaccine developments. Their work requires a solid grasp of both state and federal regulations in the life sciences and innovating new technologies or medicines. Their work has boosted the life sciences businesses in our state and aims to save the lives of Marylanders as innovations enter into new markets.

The focus of KAPAL is to build a network of partners who collaborate across Maryland, the United States, and Korea, for both research and development and commerce. This international collaboration adds a new perspective and advances Maryland’s life sciences industry.

KAPAL’s vision for Maryland is promising for the future generation of life science leaders given that the organization offers various opportunities to present their ideas to leadership and offers them awards and mentoring programs.

“We aim to change Maryland for the better and make Maryland stronger through international exchange regarding life sciences,” said Oh. “I firmly believe that our future depends on bio-innovation and we are proud to serve talented, enthusiastic Korean Americans in these fields who are also interested in the well-being of Marylanders.”

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