Biology professor, students have seven papers published

Kim's students
From left to right: John Short, Pelin Makaraci, Uma Saimani, Dr. Kim, Mariel Delgado Cruz, Sara Woodman

The inside of your cells can be a bit of a mystery, but it’s an important one to solve. Dr. Kyoungtae Kim and several of his students have been working to research diverse cellular processes in the body.

“This research includes endocytic pathways and intracellular trafficking, or movement, of proteins and membranes, as well as membrane organization and nanomaterial-mediated effects in cells,” said Kim.

Studying pathways

The study of intracellular pathways is imperative because dysregulation is directly associated with multiple human disorders, including Alzheimer’s disease.

“The study of these pathways at a molecular level can shed light on the development of therapeutics for these diseases,” said Kim.

But what about his nanoparticle research? How does that tie in?

“Nanoparticles are commercially used everyday, but the effects on cells are poorly understood,” said Kim. “Addressing delicate changes in gene expression patterns upon treatment of nanoparticles are crucial for the responsible use of these materials.”

An effective and persistent focus

Since 2016, Kim and his students have had seven papers published in academic journals (three in 2016 and four in 2017 thus far).

The publishing of so many papers comes from what Kim called “an effective and persistent focus.” This focus has allowed him to publish on a variety of topics.

“Two recently published review articles focus on the molecular mechanisms of protein trafficking inside the cell, offering in-depth knowledge regarding molecular components that work for the trafficking,” said Kim.

Four other papers focus on uncovering the novel roles of the yeast dynamin-like protein Vps1 in the protein movement process. A final paper, published in the “Journal of Nanoscience and Nanotechnology,” revealed differently expressed genes upon treatment of carbon nanomaterials.

Students as researchers

Several students aid Kim in his research and are crucial to the success of his lab.

Most commonly, teams of undergraduate and graduate students in his lab design experiments and collect or analyze data. These students then write a scientific report and Kim provides feedback on their writing.

Several students work in Kim’s lab and have had a hand in his publications and projects:

  • Uma Saimani – MS in biology
  • Shiva Kumar Gadila – MS in biology
  • Michelle Williams – MS in biology; also did undergraduate research
  • Mariel Delgado Cruz – BS in biology
  • Pelin Makaraci – MS in biology
  • Hyoeun McDermott – MS in biology; also did undergraduate research
  • Bryan Banh – MS in biology
  • Sara Woodman – MS in biology; also did undergraduate research
  • Chris Trousdale – MS in biology;
  • John “Wes” Short – MS in biology; also did undergraduate research
  • Katelyn Bartlett – MS in biology
  • Katie Schmelzle – BS in biology; also did undergraduate research

“Students who are engaged in research understand easily the rationale underlying others’ research,” said Kim. “Furthermore, they can gain firsthand experience in teamwork, which cannot be taught in the classroom. Exposure to an area of research also enhances the students’ career choice in the future.”

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