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Last Updated: Monday, 8 August 2005, 00:12 GMT 01:12 UK
Experts Examined - Dr Hwang Woo-suk
Image of Dr Hwang
"I want my work to help people"
In a series on leading health experts, the BBC News website meets Dr Hwang Woo-suk - the man who last week reported he had cloned a dog called Snuppy.

Dr Hwang and his team from Seoul National University first shot to fame last year when they announced that they had cloned 30 human embryos.

Since then they have cloned more and successfully extracted stem cells from them that are genetically matched to specific people with various diseases.

At school, what did you want to be when you grew up?

When I was very small, I was very poor.

Patients who motivate my work
I do not have an idol. But I have one picture on my desk of a spinal injury patient. It reminds me of the real-life people I want to help
I was born in 1953 during the Korean war. My father passed away when I was five years old, so my childhood was very difficult. But I had a dream.

My dream when I was at school was the same as it is now. I had the same dream to become a scientist. So I trained as a vet. My first major was cow research.

Then I trained in Theriogenology - the science and practice of animal reproduction.

What first got you interested in what you do now?

I produced several cloned cows and also transgenic cloned pigs.

Scene from Gone With The Wind
Gone With The Wind
I just really enjoyed it. I can't say why

At the time I thought that if our technology could be married with medical technology this could be a good way to develop treatment for people with diseases such as diabetes, spinal cord injury or Parkinson's.

So we talked with medical colleagues. Last year we published our human cloning work and this year we made stem cells for individual patients.

We are doing more studies. I want to find out safety and efficacy using our stem cell lines into animal models.

What are the major issues or challenges in your field of interest at the moment?

It is proving that these treatments are safe and work. First we will have to prove it in animals. Then we will be able to prove it in humans.

My work and family

Some people do not agree with stem cell research. But our research has to be controlled under strict guidelines and regulations.

I hope our research will ultimately help people.

What worries keep you awake at night?

There is much opposition to stem cell research in Korea, as well as in other countries.

But it does not worry me. It does not keep me awake at night.

What do you regret?

I have no regrets. If I was born again I would want to follow the same way of life. I would want to do it all again and become the same person I am now.

I work all of my waking day. It is my habit and hobby

I am very proud of my scientific work not only for myself, but also for all of the people that it could help. All of mankind.

I am also very proud of my family - my wife and my two sons.

What would you have done if you hadn't gone in to this?

I would have been a monk - a Buddhist monk.

I really respect their way of life.

I visit the temple to pray to Buddha.

Born 1953 in Bu-yeo, Chungnam province, Korea
1977: Graduated as a vet at the Seoul National University
1979: MSc in Theriogenology - the science and practice of animal reproduction
1982: PhD in Theriogenology
1999: Cloned a cow
2002: Cloned a pig
2004: Cloned 30 human embryos
2005: Developed stem cells tailored to match individual patients

S Korea unveils first dog clone
03 Aug 05 |  Science/Nature
Head-to-head: Human Cloning
20 May 05 |  Health
Stem cells tailored to patients
20 May 05 |  Health


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