DepartmentDepartment of Biological Sciences and Chemistry
Biola AffiliationsFaculty



  • Ph.D., Seoul National University, South Korea
  • M.S., Seoul National University, South Korea
  • B.S., Chungbuk National University, South Korea


Dr. Heeyeon Cho is teaching Biochemistry II, Principles of general, organic, and biochemistry lectures, and labs in the undergraduate B.S. programs. She enjoys integrating the Christian faith during the class lectures and has a passion to see God’s glory in transforming students’ lives who can lead many to righteousness and be the light and the salt of this world (Daniel 12:3). Prior to joining the faculty at Biola, Dr. Cho was a research professor at the University of Southern California leading the researches on finding novel therapeutic drugs for the treatment of brain tumors and other systemic tumors and their cellular targets and mechanisms. Dr. Cho also conducted post-doctoral research at UC Davis and UCLA. She published over 40 peer-reviewed journals in the fields of cancer therapeutic drugs, protein biochemistry, and biotechnology.

Dr. Cho’s current research interest is Autophagy. Autophagy is a genetically well-controlled cellular process in mammalian cells that degrades damaged or unnecessary organelles and proteins in a lysosome-dependent manner. Autophagy is a “double-edged sword” in tumors. It prevents tumor initiation in healthy tissues but favors cancer progression once the tumor is formed. She is interested in targeting the Autophagy pathway as a possible therapeutic strategy and a way to overcome drug resistance.


  • Society for Neuro-Oncology (SNO)
  • American Association for Cancer Research (AACR)
  • Invited reviewer of peer-reviewed, open-access journal Organoid (2021-)


  • Wright Foundation Research Grants: 2017-2019, University of Southern California


  • Mengting Ou*, Hee-Yeon Cho*, Jie Fu, Thu Zan Thein, Weijun Wang, Stephen D. Swenson, Radu O. Minea, Axel H. Schönthal, Florence M. Hofman, Liling Tang and Thomas C. Chen. 2022 Dec. NEO214 inhibits autophagy via mTORC1/TFEB signaling pathway and induces autophagic cell death in glioma cells. Autophagy (*Co-first author) (In press)
  • Weijun Wang, Haiping He, Nagore I. Marín-Ramos, Shan Zeng, Stephen D Swenson, Hee-Yeon Cho, Jie Fu, Paul M Beringer, Josh Neman, Ligang Chen, Axel H Schönthal and Thomas C. Chen. 2021. Enhanced brain delivery and therapeutic activity of trastuzumab after blood-brain barrier opening by NEO100 in mouse models of brain-metastatic breast cancer. Neuro-oncology 23:10 1656-1667
  • Axel H. Schönthal, Steve Swenson, Radu O. Minea, Hye Na Kim, Hee-Yeon Cho, Nazleen Mohseni, Yong-Mi Kim and Thomas C. Chen. 2021 Potentially curative therapeutic activity of NEO212, a perillyl alcohol-temozolomide conjugate, in preclinical cytarabine-resistant models of acute myeloid leukemia. Cancers (Special Issue New Therapeutic Developments in Hematological Malignancies)

  • Hee-Yeon Cho, Steve Swenson, Thu Zan Thein, Weijun Wang, Neloni R. Wijeratne, Nagore I. Marín-Ramos, Jonathan E. Katz, Florence M. Hofman, Axel H. Schönthal, and Thomas C. Chen. 2020 Pharmacokinetic Properties of the Temozolomide Perillyl Alcohol Conjugate (NEO212) in mice. Neuro-oncology Advances
  • Hee-Yeon Cho, Thu Zan Thein, Weijun Wang, Stephen D. Swensson, Rochelle Fayngor, Nagore I. Marin- Ramos, Axel Schonthal, Florence M. Hofman, Thomas C. Chen 2019 The rolipram and perillyl alcohol conjugate, NEO214, acts through the Death Receptor as the cytotoxic mechanism for the treatment of glioblastoma. Molecular Cancer Therapeutics 18(3): 517-530.


  • 2018 American Associations for Cancer Research (AACR) Conference, Poster presentation, NEO214-Induced ER stress results in glioblastoma DR5 neoantigen expression, resulting in suicide killing via astrocyte secreted TRAIL ligands within the glioma microenvironment
  • 2017 American Associations for Cancer Research (AACR) Conference, Poster presentation, Perillyl alcohol analogs as anticancer agents
  • 2016 2nd CNS Anticancer Drug Discovery and Development Conference, (Society for Neuro-Oncology), Oral presentation, NEO214, Rolipram conjugated to perillyl alcohol is a novel drug that crosses the blood-brain barrier and reduces brain tumor progression in vivo
  • 2015 Society for Neuro-Oncology (SNO), Poster presentation, NEO214, rolipram conjugated to perillyl alcohol, is a novel drug cytotoxic for gliomas by targeting the death receptor (DR)-mediated TRAIL pathway
  • 2015 American Associations for Cancer Research (AACR) Conference, Poster Presentation, Reduced migration and enhanced killing of glioblastoma multiforme by mefloquine via alteration of sphingolipid levels

Research Interests

  • Cancer Biology
  • Molecular Targets and Cancer Therapeutics
  • Protein Biochemistry


  • CHEM120 Principles of Organic and Biochemistry
  • CHEM120 Principles of Organic and Biochemistry-Lab
  • CHEM 311 & CHEM 312 Organic Chemistry Labs
  • CHEM 412 Biochemistry II
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