Assistant Professor Dr. Kuan-Pin Su has been awarded the “Thomson Reuters Taiwan Research Front Award 2011”

Date: November 28, 2011

Doctor Kuan-Pin Su has been dedicated to studying the treatment of depression over the past decade. He has investigated the use of omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (n-3 PUFAs) as an “effective and safe treatment” for depression disorders. N-3 PUFAs are natural nutrients commonly known as deep-sea fish oil. He has applied his expertise in molecular biology and genetics to explore the role of fatty acids in inflammation and further studied the association of depression with other diseases to decode depression.

Doctor Su’s research is of great clinical importance from the applied therapies perspective. A double-blind clinical study published by Dr. Su and his research team in 2003 is one of the most advanced studies of the application of n-3 PUFAs in the treatment of depression. The paper has been cited over 200 times (Scopus, 2011 November 2004). Professor Belmaker, former president of Collegium Internationale Neuro-Psychopharmacologicum (CINP), has praised the paper as a high standard of scientific rigor and an important and representative study of  the treatment of depression. It has recently been cited as an important reference in treatment guidelines for depression disorders of several international organizations, such as the Maudsley Prescribing Guidelines and the Canadian Network for Mood and Anxiety Treatments (CANMAT). Doctor Su’s publication on the safety and use of n-3 PUFAs in pregnant patients has become an important guideline in the controversial treatment of pregnant women with mental disorders, and has attracted significant attention from the international media (e.g., Reuters UK).

Doctor Su emphasizes that studies on the mechanism of the disease cannot be ignored to achieve a breakthrough in treating depression. Therefore, basic research with practical clinical applications that demonstrates molecular mechanisms and further proposes an innovative aspect in the treatment of depression disorders is extremely valuable. Feeding rats n-3 PUFAs has been shown to have a beneficial effect in preventing the development of depression-like behaviors using the forced swimming test. Heme oxygenase-1 (HO-1) has also been shown to play an important role in the molecular mechanism of depression in an in vitro model using a BV-2 microglial cell culture. Doctor Su used an interferon (IFN)-α-induced depression model to show that n-3 PUFAs and two key enzymes of the n-PUFA metabolism, Phospholipase A2 (PLA2) and cyclo-oxygenase-2 (COX2), have important roles in depression (IFN-α is successfully used in the treatment of Chronic hepatitis C viral infection but may induce depressive and neuropsychiatric symptoms). The results of Dr. Su’s study have also indirectly proven that physical symptoms of depression (such as headache and fatigue) are associated with the illness behaviors caused by over-activation of the immune system.

Doctor Su has published a series of systematic and prospective studies on depression over the past decade, which have led him to be recognized internationally as a promising young scholar. The findings of his research have not only been published in high-impact journals, but have also led to him being awarded several prestigious domestic and international awards in the fields of psychiatry, neuroscience, and nutrition. Such awards include the “2008 Professor Robert Kerwin International Award from the British Association for Psychopharmacology (UK),” the “2008 & 2009 National Alliance for Research on Schizophrenia and Depression (NARSAD) Young Investigator Award (USA),” the “2010 International Society for the Study of Fatty Acids and Lipids (ISSFAL): New Investigator Award,” and the “2010 Ta-You Wu Memorial Award National Science Council (Taiwan).” Doctor Su was also awarded the “GlaxoSmithKline Depression and Anxiety Research Award (Taiwan)” and the “Thomson Reuters Research Front Award” this year.

(Chinese Version.)


Assistant Professor Dr. Kuan-Pin Su