2014 MCASTA Outstanding Scholars

Dr. Grace Y. Sun (孫張恩慈教授) 

Professor of Biochemistry

University of Missouri - Columbia

Grace Y. Sun, PhD, is professor of biochemistry at the University of Missouri with a joint appointment in the Department of Pathology and Anatomical Sciences. She also serves as the scientific director of the newly established MU Center for Translational Neuroscience (CTN) in School of Medicine. Born and raised in Hong Kong, she came to the United States for higher education; she received B.S. degree in chemistry from Seattle Pacific University and Ph.D. in biochemistry from Oregon State University. She started her postdoctoral research to investigate lipids in the brain with the late Dr. Lloyd Horrocks at Cleveland Psychiatric Institute in Ohio.

Dr. Sun initiated pioneering work in neurochemistry and maintains a research focus investigating brain lipids and cell signaling pathways in relation to aging and neurodegenerative diseases, including Alzheimer’s disease, alcoholism and stroke. Her research helped to unveil aberrant biochemical mechanisms underlying oxidative stress and inflammatory responses in brain cells. Throughout her nearly 40-year tenure in the MU biochemistry department, Dr. Sun’s research has been continuously funded. In the recent 12 years, Dr. Sun was the program director of the MU Alzheimer’s Disease Program which was funded by a multi-million dollar grant from National Institutes of Health (NIH). Currently, she is a project leader at MU’s NIH-funded Center for Botanical Interaction Studies (CBIS), one of five centers of its kind in the country.

Along with her late husband, Dr. Albert Sun, a graduate of the National Taiwan University, the Suns devoted much time and effort to advance neuroscience in Taiwan, e.g., in National Yang Ming University in the 80’s, and in the Institute of Biomedical Science (IBMS) in Academia Sinica in the 90’s. In 2010, the Suns were also keys to establishing the Center for Translational Neuroscience (CTN) in School of Medicine, University of Missouri. The pioneer research work of Drs. Sun contributed to recognizing the effects of botanical polyphenols, such as resveratrol from grapes, not only serve as antioxidants but also play a role in other metabolic pathways for maintaining brain health and against age-related neurodegenerative diseases.

Dr. Sun’s active research program has led to publication of close to 300 original peer-reviewed papers and book chapters. Besides training a large number of graduate students and postdocs, Dr. Sun also has substantial experience in organizing international symposiums, including the one entitled “Novel Strategies for Intervention in Neurodegenerative Diseases” in 2009 in Taiwan and the MU Translational Neuroscience Symposium in 2011 featuring the Nobel Laureate Roger Tsien. In June of this year, an International Symposium was held in MU campus to honor her life-long contributions to the University.

Dr. Sun has been a faithful member of the American Neurochemistry Society, the International Neurochemistry Society, the Society for Neuroscience, and the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. Over the years, she has participated in many grant review sessions, both by the university and by National Institutes of Health. She was a board member of the mid-Missouri chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association. Dr. Sun was the recipient of many awards, including the Seattle Pacific University’s distinguished alumni Medallion Award in 2001, MU’s William H. Byler Distinguished Professor Award in 2003, the Altrusa Award in Health in 2004, and in 2012, the University of Missouri System President’s Award for Sustained Excellence, the highest honor from the University.

The Suns have one daughter, Dr. Aggie Sun, who is married to Charles Lin from Taiwan. The family together with two grandsons, Joshua and Caleb Lin, are residing in New Jersey. Grace thanks the Lord for His care and guidance, and for providing her a happy family and loving friends and colleagues for a successful career.

Dr. Jeng-Jong Shieh (謝正忠博士) 

CV      Chinese Bio

Dr. Jeng-Jong (JJ) Shieh is a physical/analytical chemist. He obtained his Ph.D. from Rice University in x-ray crystallography (1974) and did postdoctoral research at Baylor College of Medicine afterward on GC/MS and mass spectrometry characterization of peptides and phospholipids.

JJ spent about 37 years working in industry starting with Monsanto in Texas on characterization of catalysts used in styrene and acrylonitrile (AN) production and AN catalyst development which was commercialized successfully. JJ then moved to Monsanto headquarters in St. Louis (1985) and worked on the successful commercialization of bovine growth hormone (BST). After that he joined the Physical Science Center (PSC/ASC) of Monsanto Corporate Research assisting the Director of PSC/ASC in managing the core analytical facilities to support R&D activities over all of Monsanto. While supervising several analytical functions, JJ championed the establishment of electrospray mass spectrometry technology (ESMS) for characterization of biological macromolecules as well as surface plasmon resonance technology (BIA by SPR) for studying the biospecific molecular interactions to support the early stage discovery and development of new products within Monsanto.

JJ retired from Pfizer (2003) and joined Tyco Healthcare in St. Louis working on contrast agents for human disease diagnosis as well as nano medicines for cancer therapeutics. JJ developed and established analytical methods for real time kidney function monitoring which is currently in development at MediBeacon. He also developed and established chromatography methods to aid in successful GMP production of nano medicine key ingredients at Mallinckrodt.

JJ concluded his career in 2014. Throughout the years, JJ received achievement awards from Monsanto (1987), Mallinckrodt (2013), and a poster award at the BIA symposium (1999). JJ authored and coauthored articles (27) in technical journals and presented works at technical meetings. He is now doing part time consulting with MediBeacon on commercialization of real time kidney function monitoring technology.

Dr. Bih-Ru Lea (李璧如教授) 

Dr. Lea earned a bachelor's degree in accounting from Tamkang University in Taiwan, a Master of Professional Accountancy from Clemson University, and a Ph.D. in Industrial Management from Clemson University. Dr. Lea is presently the Director of the Center for Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) at the Missouri S&T and previously severed as the Assistant Research Director of UPS Center for Worldwide Supply Chain Management for Logistics and Distribution Institute at the University of Louisville.

Dr. Lea devotes her research efforts to interdisciplinary research projects aimed at addressing integration issues and providing insights to improve business performance in the areas of enterprise resource planning (ERP), supply chain management (SCM), accounting information systems, manufacturing information systems, information technology, and business strategy. Her current research aims at leveraging Big Data for better decision making through visualization, Self-Service Business Intelligence (BI), and in-memory computing. Dr. Lea has authored nearly 70 refereed research papers, book chapters, and conference proceedings in addition to invited workshops and presentations. Dr. Lea has received research funding from organizations such as the National Science Foundation (NSF), British Telecom, Monsanto Company, Peabody Energy, and University of Missouri System Research Board. Dr. Lea directed student research projects with major companies including Peabody, Union Pacific, UPS, GE, Humana, CNET Networks, Inc., Yum! Brands, and Kindred Healthcare as well as non-profit organizations such as Metro United Way, the Jefferson County Public Schools, and the Louisville/Jefferson County Metro Revenue Commission.

Dr. Lea is highly regarded as an educator who has had significant impact on her students not only in the classroom but also in their professional and personal life. She received the Outstanding Teacher award from the Department of Business & Information Technology in 2009, the Outstanding Teaching Commendation award from Global Learning of Missouri S&T in 2010, and the Inspirational Women Award from the Leadership and Cultural Programs in 2014. Students recalled their experience with Dr. Lea such as “… all the business concepts we discussed in classes, I got to see them in action …;” “… your teaching during … helped a lot. I was able to grasp the concepts much faster. Thanks to your teaching, which I now understand was so closely related to a real-time setting…;” “… I used to wonder why we had to be so very meticulous about all those details in your classes and today when I am writing a professional document, my colleagues are appreciating it because of how meticulously I put in all the details and citations…;” “…thank you for coaching me this semester. I have learnt a lot and I know to approach problem from different perspectives rather than simply using 0 and 1…;” “… the most important lessons that I have learned from you is hard work, integrity and ethical work and I hope that I can carry this with me for the rest of my life….”

Dr. Lea is an enthusiastic and creative leader who leads through engagement. By engaging university administrators and community leaders, she led her faculty and student team to transform a newly established program with no company partner in 2003 to become one of the most comprehensive ERP programs in the nation with more than 60 active corporate partners in 2014. Through creative engagement plans, Dr. Lea led an executive team to revitalize Midwest Chinese American Science & Technology Association (MCASTA) and gradually bring the prosperity back to the organization from 2011 to 2013.