Seung Joong Kim, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor, Department of Physics

Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST), Daejeon, Korea

In 2018 summer, I was recently appointed as an assistant professor in the Department of Physics, at Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST). I have been trained as a highly versatile scientist, capable of doing various computational and experimental researches that I integrate with my advanced background. My research topic involves Biophysics and Integrative Structural Biology for Macromolecular Complexes. I am actively recruiting highly motivated individuals at all stages including undergraduate, graduate and post-doctoral levels. Please contact directly to [at]

My research has always been balanced between computational and experimental work, at the interdisciplinary interface involving physics, chemistry, and biology. I received my Ph.D. in Physics from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2008, working in the field of biophysics with Dr. Martin Gruebele. In my graduate work, I studied the protein-protein interaction potential, protein aggregation, protein folding kinetics, and the dynamics of hydration shells around proteins. In particular, I developed Kinetic terahertz absorption (KITA) for the first time to monitor direct changes in solvent dynamics during the folding of ubiquitin, combined with small-angle X-ray scattering (SAXS), fluorescence, and circular dichroism spectroscopy data.

In 2008-2018, I had been a postdoctoral scholar and staff associate specialist in the laboratory of Dr. Andrej Sali in the Department of Bioengineering and Therapeutic Sciences and California Institute for Quantitative Biomedical Research (qb3), at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF).  At UCSF, I have determined structures and dynamics of proteins and macromolecular assemblies, using computational methods based on integrative modeling approaches that combine an extensive experimental dataset coming from diverse sources at different levels of resolution. My major accomplishments are the integrative structure determinations of the nuclear pore complex (NPC) components and the SEA complex. I have also performed SAXS and electron microscopy (EM) experiments for numerous systems. Moreover, I have contributed to the development of computational methods for the integration of SAXS and FRET data into the Integrative Modeling Platform (IMP).

The long-term goals of my research are to integrate into one comprehensive picture the structure, dynamics and function of biomolecules ranging in size and complexity from small peptides to large macromolecular assemblies, and to provide key insights into development of new diagnostic and therapeutic tools. The integrative modeling approach will be used to maximize efficiency, accuracy, resolution, and completeness of the structural models, which are consistent with all available data and information from experimental methods, physical theories, and statistical preferences extracted from biological databases. Accordingly, I will perform suitable structurally-informative experiments (such as SAXS, EM, and chemical cross-linking) and further develop computational methods to integrate diverse emerging sources of experimental data ranging from biophysical to genomic.

updated on Sep 26th, 2018