HyeongJun Kim

Assistant ProfessorHyeongjun_Kim
Ph.D. The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2011
Office: ESCNE 3.619 (Edinburg campus)
Labs: ESCNE 3.509 (main) and ESCNE 3.516 (microscope room)
Phone: (956) 665-2171
Email: hyeongjun.kim@utrgv.edu
Visit my Research Group website

Description of Research

Dr. Kim is an experimental single-molecule biophysicist in the Department of Physics and Astronomy. He uses interdisciplinary approaches that integrates the cutting-edge force- and fluorescence-based single-molecule techniques, biochemistry, and microscopy technique developments. His efforts include investigating how DNA-binding proteins are initially recruited to DNA and elucidating their underlying working mechanisms of DNA condensation. Recently, he revealed that a bacterial Structural Maintenance of Chromosomes (SMC) protein has unique diffusional properties on a DNA, and compacts DNA by both bending and bridging it in a weakly ATP-dependent manner. Manuscript for a different DNA-binding protein is currently in preparation.

Why single-molecule biophysics researches at UTRGV?

Traditionally, biologists observed multiple (tens or even thousands of) molecules simultaneously and obtained "averaged" (ensemble) information. Although many useful information has been obtained from the ensemble measurements, oftentimes, they had limitation in revealing very detailed mechanisms due to the nature of averaging information. However, the advent of single-molecule biophysics techniques enabled scientists to observe "individual" biological molecules such as DNA or proteins one-by-one, extracting very insightful information that cannot be obtained by traditional methods. The Department of Physics and Astronomy at UTRGV has established intellectually provoking biophysics research environments that help students grow as independent researchers. Collaborations within the Department, with other departments and newly established School of Medicine, and with external institutions provide unique opportunities.


Dr. HyeongJun Kim is currently looking for dedicated graduate students who are interested in utilizing physics-inspired single-molecule techniques for answering outstanding biological questions. Interested students are encouraged to contact Dr. Kim for research opportunities.

Selected Publications

1. "Multistep assembly of DNA condensation clusters by SMC": HyeongJun Kim and Joseph J. Loparo. Nature Communications (2016) doi:10.1038/ncomms10200.

2. "Multicolor super-resolution DNA imaging for genetic analysis": Murat Baday, Aaron Cravens, Alex Hastie, HyeongJun Kim et al. Nano Letters (2012) vol. 12, pp. 3861-3866.

3. "Extension of a three-helix bundle domain of myosin VI and key role of calmodulins": Yanxin Liu, Jen Hsin, HyeongJun Kim, Paul R. Selvin, Klaus Schulten. Biophysical Journal (2011) vol. 100, pp. 2964-2973.

4. "Formation of salt bridges mediates internal dimerization of Myosin VI medial tail domain": HyeongJun Kim*, Jen Hsin*, Yanxin Liu*, Paul R. Selvin, Klaus Schulten. Structure (2010) vol. 18, pp. 1443-1449. (*: Equal contribution)

5. "Myosin VI dimerization triggers an unfolding of a 3-helix bundle in order to extend its reach": Monalisa Mukherjea*, Paola Llinas*, HyeongJun Kim*, Mirko Travaglia et al. Molecular Cell (2009) vol. 35, pp. 305-315. (*: Equal contribution)


University of Texas System's Rising STARs Award (2018-2020)