Jayoung Kim, Ph.D.
Education & Experience:
I received a BS degree in Bioengineering from the University of California, Berkeley. Then, I received both Master’s in Science and Engineering (MSE) and PhD degrees in Biomedical Engineering from Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland under Professor Jordan J. Green, for developing polymeric nano- and microparticles to deliver peptides and nucleic acids and treat ocular disease (wet age-related macular degeneration) as well as cancer (breast, lung, and brain). I completed postdoctoral training at Harvard University under Professor Samir Mitragotri, where I investigated a variety of drug delivery tools, including ionic liquid formulations and red blood cell hitchhiking. Prior to my current position, I have worked as a principal investigator on red blood cell-hitchhiked viral gene therapy project sponsored by a spin-off start-up company.
Teaching Areas & Interests:
I am experienced in undergraduate and graduate education in pharmaceutics, pharmacokinetics, drug delivery, and biomaterials. I am very interested in teaching courses / materials on the emerging concepts of precision and personalized medicine as they relate to gene therapy. I would also be interested in organizing a discussion forum series that invite biologists, engineers, product developers, practitioners, patients, and caregivers as panelists to actively engage in a broad exchange about their own contribution to a common healthcare problem and identify gaps of awareness. For research mentoring, I have trained undergraduate and graduate students towards successful theses, co-author publications, and awards.
Professional Activities & Awards:
I am a member of several professional societies, including the Society for Biomaterials (SFB), Biomedical Engineering Society (BMES), Controlled Release Society (CRS), and American Society of Gene and Cell Therapy (ASGCT). In particular, I served as a student representative member of the International Affairs Committee at the BMES. I was the recipient of the Baxter Young Investigator Awards in 2021 as well as the Samsung Scholarship Award in 2011 and 2013. I have served as reviewer for various pharmaceutics and drug delivery journals.
Major limitations of gene therapy are safety and precision. Off-target transgene expression not only reduces on-target efficacy hence therapeutic function, but also increases the possibility of severe toxicity due to chromosomal integration or prolonged expression. Despite decades of effort on developing efficient gene delivery vectors, design and synthesis of novel vectors alone have fallen short of claiming clinical success. To achieve precision and personalization, my research aims to optimize formulation of existing vectors through 1) application-specific modular functionalization, 2) hierarchical targeting (physical, chemical, and biological modifications), and 3) deep learning-assisted prediction of target-specific transgene expression.