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John K. Kim
I joined the faculty of the Life Sciences Institute and the Department of Human Genetics in the Fall of 2006 after completing a postdoctoral fellowship in the lab of Gary Ruvkun at Harvard Medical School and MGH. When I started my postdoctoral work, microRNAs were largely considered anomalies of C. elegans genetics as only two microRNAs, lin-4 and let-7, had been identified by the labs of Gary Ruvkun and Victor Ambros. Mutations in lin-4 and let-7 caused profound defects in the timing of developmental programs and presaged the importance of microRNAs as central regulators of gene expression across phylogeny, from plants to humans.
In a remarkable period of scientific discoveries, Andrew Fire and Craig Mello discovered that double-stranded RNAs could also elicit potent gene silencing by a process they termed "RNA interference," for which they were awarded the 2006 Nobel Prize in Medicine. And shortly thereafter, a number of labs made the molecular connection between the microRNA and RNA interference pathways by identifying the Dicer nuclease that processes both dsRNAs to ~22nt small interfering RNAs (siRNAs) and double-stranded hairpins of precursor microRNAs to ~22nt mature microRNAs. Since then, the field of small RNA biology has really blossomed with new and unexpected findings emerging rapidly. In addition to the biology of small RNAs, the technology of RNAi has revolutionized gene discovery and promises to be an important strategy for gene therapy.
In our lab, we are interested in deciphering the biological function of microRNAs and other small RNAs expressed in the genome. We take a multidisciplinary approach - from deep sequencing to identify novel microRNAs and small RNAs, to detailed analysis of a number of microRNAs that are conserved from worm to human. By understanding the biological context of small RNA function, we hope to use these insights to push our experimental systems and elucidate general small RNA mechanisms. In addition, we are interested in identifying and characterizing the molecular machinery that drives the activities of small RNA-mediated biological processes. We hope that these studies will shed light on new small RNA-mediated mechanisms as well as provide clues to how these mechanisms are integrated in the context of overall gene regulatory networks.
John K. Kim
6183A Life Sciences Institute
210 Washtenaw Avenue
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-2216
Office: (734) 615-9915
Fax: (734) 615-5493
Education and Research
- 2001 - 2006 Postdoctoral Fellowship, Harvard Medical School/MGH
- 1994 - 2000 Ph.D., Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, UC Davis
- 1990 - 1994 Research associate, UCSF
- 1986 - 1990 B.S., Molecular Biophysics and Biochem., Yale University
Honors and Awards
- 2009 - 2013 Pew Scholar in the Biomedical Sciences
- 2006 Biological Sciences Scholar, University of Michigan
- 2006 MGH Fund for Medical Discovery Fellowship
- 2003 - 2006 Helen Hay Whitney Postdoctoral Fellowship