Dr. Sung-Kun Kim

October 2008

Faculty Feature

Dr. Sung-Kun Kim

Dr. Sung-Kun Kim

Research and teaching are the two things Assistant Professor Dr. Sung-Kun Kim focuses on in the biochemistry and chemistry departments at Baylor. Dr. Kim was born and raised in Korea where he earned his bachelor's and master's in science at Hanyang University.

Dr. Kim has been teaching at Baylor since August 2007, but has previously worked as an adjunct professor at Wayland Baptist University, a research assistant and postdoctoral research associate at Texas Tech University, and a research and teaching assistant at Hanyang University in Seoul, Korea.

Classes Dr. Kim teaches include biochemistry, special research problems, undergraduate seminar, and biomedical research where he sponsors nine undergraduate students and three graduate students in their research studies.

In addition to teaching, Dr. Kim works with the Institute of Biomedical Studies, an interdisciplinary program in biomedically-related areas of science such as virology, immunology and neuroscience.

Though he has only been here a year, Dr. Kim says that the faculty has supported him immensely in starting up his research and lab at Baylor.

Dr. Kim's current research projects include a biomedical study and redux protein mechanism study. "We are trying to find new antibiotics to kill bacteria by studying the makeup of proteins," Dr. Kim said.

Understanding the mechanism of a protein or enzyme is fundamental to biochemistry, he added.

But another important project Dr. Kim is working on with his biomedical research class is a transgenic plant that absorbs contamination such as arsenic. "We are working on this transgenic plant because of the arsenic contamination in India which has poisoned many thousands of people. Students are testing to find the best plant that can absorb contaminates in the air and soil," Dr. Kim said.

Besides simply researching, Dr. Kim feels that writing and getting published are important parts of the experimentation process. "Writing and publishing takes a lot of help," Dr. Kim said.

Each student has his own project in the lab, but is able to compare research to fellow classmates and Dr. Kim, who helps in the writing process as well.

"It is difficult to write at a high level because you have to prove your hypothesis with high quality data. It's all about how much evidence you can come up with to prove your argument," he said.

Dr. Kim said that his professors at Hanyang University were his mentors as well. His professors were the ones that got him interested in science and research.

One thing to keep in mind, Dr. Kim said, is to be passionate about what you do and to take advantage of the resources you have available. "If you want success, you have to be passionate," he said, "and that's what we want to see. There are lots of open labs and we want to accept the students who want to be there."