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Remembering Dr. Jinah Choi

The SNS community was deeply saddened when former faculty member, Jinah Choi, passed away on August 28th. Here she is remembered by Founding Faculty members, Rudy Ortiz and Henry Jay Forman.


Remembering Dr. Jinah Choi

Unfortunately, our dear friend and colleague, Dr. Jinah Choi, lost her battle with cancer on August 28, 2018. While those who knew her will remember her in their own way, and for their own special interactions with Jinah, we’ll always remember her as a brilliant and warm person with a welcoming smile and unique laugh. We had the honor of sharing a lab with Jinah from the time the campus opened. For Rudy’s initial PhD students especially, Jinah was a significant contributor to their development as a member of their dissertation committee. But most of all, she was a wealth of information and a great peer. Rudy can recall discussing some of our Nox4 data with her to get her perspective on the interpretation, and she provided some unique insights that were not readily available in the literature. It was comforting to know we had such a great and knowledgeable colleague just a few doors down that we could always stop-in on to discuss science, life, and all-things UC Merced.


Jinah graduated summa cum laude from the University of California, Los Angeles in Biochemistry and enrolled in the Pharm.D. program at USC. In her first year, she switched to the Ph.D. track because she wanted to make a bigger contribution to helping people than by dealing with them one at a time. She earned her degree in molecular pharmacology and toxicology in Henry’s lab and then did a postdoc in virology with James Ou at USC. Although she had little experience in laboratory research when she first joined Henry’s lab, she grasped the technology, and also an understanding of how to approach a scientific question with remarkable speed. At the same time, Jinah contributed significant ideas and support to everyone else’s projects. In her own work, Jinah made significant contributions to understanding the role of redox signaling in the progression of hepatitis C. We will miss her as a kind, gentle and helpful person, but also for her brilliance and professional contributions.


Jinah was briefly at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. She came to the University of California, Merced as a founding faculty member and rose to tenured Associate Professor. She was an excellent teacher of biology and biochemistry and researcher in the fields of hepatitis and redox biology.


We were truly fortunate to have had the opportunity to have known Jinah, to have worked with Jinah, and to have shared the early experiences of helping to shape UC Merced with Jinah. Please join us in remembering Dr. Choi’s achievements and contributions to UC Merced. Jinah will undoubtedly remain a fixed memory for us.


Rudy M. Ortiz, Chair, Molecular and Cell Biology and founding faculty, UC Merced

Henry Jay Forman, Distinguished Professor Emeritus and founding faculty, UC Merced