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Minjoung Kyoung

Minji_department web
Contact Information
Office: MEYR 475C
Phone: 410-455-3867

Assistant Professor

Post-Doctoral Stanford University & UC Berkeley 2012; Ph.D. Pennsylvania State University 2008; M.S Ewha Womans University 2000; B.A. Ewha Womans University 1998

Professional Interests

Our research focuses on developing and applying novel bioanalytical and biophysical tools to understand molecular underpinnings of how signaling pathways cross-talk with metabolic pathways in cancer cells.

Two current projects include:

1.) The development of an advanced versatile nano-reaction chamber designed to detect transient protein-protein interactions in confined dimensions

2.) The development of a novel super-resolution imaging technique to map critical biological networks in live cells.

Ultimately, we aim to determine how signaling pathways are spatially and temporally involved in cancer cell development and proliferation by employing unprecedented in vitro and live cell techniques. In our lab, students are trained in cross-disciplinary research at the chemistry-biology-physics interface by building cutting edge microscopy/spectroscopy systems, fabricating nano-reaction chambers and flow cells, and studying the interactions between biomolecules in real time in vivo and in vitro.

Selected Publications

J. Diao, J. Burré, S. Vivona, D.J. Cipriano, M. Sharma, M. Kyoung, T. C. Südhof, A. T. Brungerα-Synuclein Induces Synaptic Vesicle Clustering Via Binding To Phospholipids And Synaptobrevin-2/VAMP2” eLife; 2013; 2, e00592

J. Diao, M. Zhao, Y. Zhang, M. Kyoung, A. T. Brunger “Studying protein-reconstituted proteoliposome fusion with content indicators in vitro” BioEssays; 2013; 35, 658-665.

M. Kyoung, Y. Zhang, J. Diao, S. Chu, A. T. Brunger “Studying calcium-triggered vesicle fusion in a single vesicle-vesicle content and lipid-mixing system” Nature Protocols; 2013; 8, 1-16.

J. Diao, P. Grob, D. J. Cipriano, M. Kyoung, Y. hang, S. Shah, A. Nguyen, M. Padolina, A. Srivastava, M. Vrljic, A. Shah, E. Nogales, S. Chu, A. T. Brunger “Synaptic proteins promote calcium-triggered fusion from point contract to full fusion” eLife; 2012; 1, e00109.

F. Verrier, S. An, A. M. Ferrie, H. Sun, M. Kyoung, H. Deng, Y. Fang, S. J. Benkovic, “GPCR signaling regulates the assembly of a multienzyme complex for purine biosynthesis” Nature chemical biology, 2011; 7, 909-915.

M. Kyoung, A. Srivastava, Y. Zhang, M. Vrljic, P. Grob, E. Nogales, S. Chu, A. T. Brunger “Ca2+-triggered single vesicle content mixing: fast fusion kinetics reveals mechanistic insights into neurotransmitter release” Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2011; 108 (29): E304-13.

· 20 most-read papers online during the month of July 2011 (

· Commentary from PNAS: ”Inside insight to membrane fusion” by Geert van den Bogaart and Reinhard Jahn. PNAS 2011 vol. 108 11729-11730 ( )

· Research highlighted from Nature Methods : Nature Methods 2011 vol. 8, 708–709 (

· HHMI Bulletin :”When membranes merge ”Lab Book Soptlight November 2o11 p43 (

S. An, Y. Deng, J. W. Tomsho, M. Kyoung, and S. J. Benkovic “Microtubule-assisted mechanism for functional metabolic macromolecular complex formation” Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A., 2010, 285, 12871-12876.

S. An, M. Kyoung, J. J. Allen, K. M. Shokat, S. J. Benkovic “Dynamic regulation of a metabolic multi-enzyme complex by protein kinase CK2” Journal of Biological Chemistry, 2010, 285, 11093-11099.

M. Kyoung, E. D. Sheets “Vesicle diffusion close to a membrane: intermembrane interactions measured with fluorescence correlation spectroscopy” Biophysical Journal, 2008, 95, 5789-5797.

K. Vats, M. Kyoung, E. D. Sheets “Characterizing the chemical complexity of patterned biomimetic membranes” Biochimica et Biophysica Acta, 2008, 1778, 2461-2468.

M. Kyoung, K. Karunwi, E. D. Sheets “A versatile multi-mode microscope to probe and manipulate nanoparticles and biomolecules” Journal of Microscopy, 2007, 225, 137-146.

M. Kyoung, E. D. Sheets, “Manipulating and probing the spatio-temporal dynamics of nanoparticles near surfaces” Proceedings of SPIE, 2006, 6326, 63262L.

M. Kyoung, S. Y. Kim, H. Y. Seok, I. S. Park, M. Lee, “Probing the caspase-3 active site by fluorescence lifetime measurements” Biochimica et Biophysica Acta, 2002, 29, 74-79.

M. Kyoung, M. Lee, “ Z-scan studies on the third-order optical nonlinearity of Au nanoparticles embedded in TiO2.” Bulletin of the Korean Chemical Society, 2002, 21, 26-28.

M. Kyoung, M. Lee, “ Nonlinear absorption and refractive index measurements of silver nanorods by the Z-scan technique.” Optics Communications, 1999, 171, 145-148.



4/2007 The First place winner, 2007 Graduate Exhibition Award, The Pennsylvania State University

9/2006 Dan H. Waugh Teaching Award Honorable Mention, The Pennsylvania State University

7/2006 Dalalian Fellowship Award, Department of Chemistry, The Pennsylvania State University

6/2006 The Newport and Spectra-Physics Research Excellence Travel Award (SPIE)

11/2005 Graduate Student Travel Award, Department of Chemistry, The Pennsylvania State University

5/2004Analytical & Quantitative Light Microscopy, Marine Biological Laboratory, Woods Hole, MA

2003 Outstanding Student Honor Society, The Pennsylvania State University

2002 Roberts Fellowship, Department of Chemistry, The Pennsylvania State University

Professional Experiences

1/2010 Session Chair, Howard Hughes Medical Institute Meeting, Maryland

6/2007-12/2007 Research Assistant, Department of Chemistry, The Pennsylvania State University

8/2003-5/2007 Teaching Assistant, Department of Chemistry, The Pennsylvania State University, Physical Chemistry Lab

1/2003-6/2003 Teaching Assistant, Department of Chemistry, The Pennsylvania State University, Introductory Organic Chemistry

8/2002-12/2002 Teaching Assistant, Department of Chemistry, The Pennsylvania State University, Physical Chemistry- Quantum Chemistry

9/1999-12/1999 Teaching Assistant, Department of Chemistry, Ewha Womans University, Physical Chemistry Lab II, Seoul

3/1999-6/1999 Teaching Assistant, Department of Chemistry, Ewha Womans University, Physical Chemistry Lab I, Seoul

Professional Memberships

2003-Present: Biophysical Society

2004-2005: The International Society for Optical Engineering (SPIE)

2012-Present:  American Association for Cancer Research




Courses Taught

  • CHEM 490: Special Topics in Chemistry – Fall 2014.

Lab Website