The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston
McGovern Medical School
Department of Neurology
The Kim Lab’s current research area is exploring novel mechanisms controlling microglial function such as microglial phagocytosis and reactive oxygen species (ROS) generation in the aged, Alzheimer’s disease (AD), and other diseased brains, regulating blood brain barrier integrity and white matter injury. These studies evolved from our recent identification of novel gene expression signatures in a scRNAseq dataset of young and aged mice after stroke. Recently, we found an interferon-related gene that was highly upregulated in activated microglia and other cells in aged brains following stroke. We hypothesize that this gene (or gene product) has a significant potential to initiate neurodegeneration and neuroinflammation by modifying microglial functions in stroke and AD. We are currently exploring how interferon-related genes regulate blood brain barrier integrity, immune cell infiltration to brains, and subsequent gliosis leading to cerebral white and gray matter injury in the cortex as well as the thalamus following stroke. We believe the gene identified in our lab could contribute to the evolution of neuroinflammation in post-stroke brains, enlarging infarction. We also utilize scRNAseq/RNAseq datasets to identify novel genes and elucidate differentially expressed genes in various cell clusters in aged and post-ischemic brains. We are very interested in studies that interrogate sex differences in cell-to-cell communication utilizing scRNAseq data sets. Our ultimate goal is to find interventions to reduce brain injury, improve functional outcome and to halt progressive amyloid pathology by targeting microglial-originated molecules in the acute or sub-acute stroke phases or AD/CAA.
Education & Training
Ph.D. - Seoul National University - 2011