Taekjip Ha

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Taekjip Ha
Born (1968-02-20) February 20, 1968 (age 51)
Alma materUniversity of California, Berkeley, Seoul National University, Stanford University
AwardsBeckman Fellow, 2003-2004[1] National Academy of Sciences Member[2] (2015)
Ho-Am Prize in Science[3] (2011)
Searle Scholars Program[4]
Sloan Fellowship
Bárány Award [5] Cottrell Scholar[6]
Scientific career
FieldsPhysics, biophysics, computational biology
InstitutionsJohns Hopkins University (Since 2015)
University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign (2000-2015)
Academic advisorsRaymond Jeanloz, Daniel Chemla, Shimon Weiss, Steven Chu
WebsiteGroup Website
Johns Hopkins University Faculty Page

Taekjip Ha (born February 20, 1968, Seoul, South Korea) is a South Korean-born American biophysicist who is currently a Bloomberg Distinguished Professor of Biophysics and Biomedical Engineering at Johns Hopkins University. He was previously the Gutgsell Professor of Physics,[7] at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign where he was the principal investigator of Single Molecule Nanometry group. He is also a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator.[8][9]


He received a B.S. degree in physics at Seoul National University in 1990, and joined the physics department at University of California, Berkeley where he began to study atomic physics in the lab of Raymond Jeanloz in Berkeley's geophysics department.[10] He worked on a project to place nitrogen and carbon under very high pressures, with the goal to create a material harder than diamonds. During this time, he had to take a temporary leave of absence from Berkeley to South Korea for a year to fulfill South Korea's military service requirements. Upon his return, Ha changed his research interests and joined the lab of Daniel Chemla, a prominent scientist known for his studies of quantum optics of semiconductors. Soon after joining Chemla's group, Ha began working closely with scientist Shimon Weiss to build a near-field scanning optical microscope, a machine equipped with a small aperture and a short-pulse laser able to measure a material's properties with high time and spatial resolution.[11] He subsequently received both his M.A. and Ph.D. at Berkeley and completed postdoctoral research at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and Stanford University with advisor Steven Chu.[12] He was appointed to the faculty of the University of Illinois in 2000 as assistant professor in the Department of Physics and Center for Biophysics and Computational Biology.[13][14]

In July 2015, it was announced that Ha would move to Johns Hopkins University as a Bloomberg Distinguished Professor.[15] The Bloomberg Distinguished Professorship program was established in 2013, by a gift from Michael Bloomberg[16] to recruit faculty with considerable accomplishments as interdisciplinary researchers and in excellence in teaching.[17][18] Ha holds joint appointments in the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine's department of Biophysics and Biophysical Chemistry, the Zanvyl Krieger School of Arts and Sciences’s Department of Biophysics, the Whiting School of Engineering’s Department of Biomedical Engineering.[19] Through the Bloomberg Distinguished Professorship, Ha will be teaching a new undergraduate interdisciplinary biophysics course and will be engaged in the university's Individualized Health Initiative.[15]

Honors and Distinctions[edit]

Ha has been recognized internationally for his pioneering work in biophysics. In 2001, he was named a Searle Scholar, recognizing him as an "exceptional young scientist."[4] The following year, he received a National Science Foundation CAREER Award and a Fluorescence Young Investigator Award from the Biophysical Society. In 2003, he was named a Cottrell Scholar for his "high-quality research" and "dedication to the task of teaching undergraduates"[20] and a Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Fellow for "outstanding promise."[21][22] In 2005, Ha was elected to the American Physical Society and was named an Investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute in the scientific disciplines of Biophysics and Structural Biology, a position he continues to hold today.[23] He received the Michael and Kate Bárány Award of the Biophysical Society in 2007 for "his development and application of novel single molecule physical methods and techniques, and for his ground-breaking discoveries in the single molecule research field."[24] In 2011, Ha won the Ho-Am Prize in Science for his "pioneering application of fluorescence resonance energy transfer techniques to reveal the behavior and physical characteristics of single biomolecules"; this prize is "widely regarded as the Korean equivalent of the Nobel Prizes."[25] He was named the 2012 Scientist of the Year by the Korean-American Scientists and Engineers Association (KSEA) and Korean Federation of Science and Technology Societies (KOFST).[26]

In 2015, Taekjip Ha was elected to both the National Academy of Sciences and American Academy of Arts and Sciences.[2][27]


Taekjip Ha uses sophisticated physical techniques to manipulate and visualize the movements of single molecules[28][29][30] to understand basic biological processes involving DNA[31] and other molecules.[29][32] He applies the use of single-molecule techniques[33][34] and has pioneered several techniques[35][36][37] in studying biological systems usually supported by nano-mechanical tools such as optical tweezers.[38][39] He has been cited more than 18000 times and his current H index is 64.[40]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "CAS Fellows Archive". Center for Advanced Study, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Retrieved 2 August 2018.
  2. ^ a b "National Academy of Sciences Members and Foreign Associates Elected". National Academy of Sciences. Archived from the original on 2015-11-20. Retrieved 2015-05-08.
  3. ^ "Ha Awarded 2011 Ho-Am Prize in Science | Department of Physics at the U of I". physics.illinois.edu. Retrieved 2015-03-22.
  4. ^ a b "Searle Scholars Program : Taekjip Ha (2001)". searlescholars.net. Retrieved 2015-03-22.
  5. ^ "Michael and Kate Bárány Award". biophysics.org. Retrieved 2015-03-22.
  6. ^ "Cottrell Scholars - Research Corporation for Science Advancement". rescorp.org. Retrieved 2015-03-22.
  7. ^ "Gutgsell Endowed Professor: Harris Lewin, Office of the Provost, University of Illinois". provost.illinois.edu. Retrieved 2015-03-22.
  8. ^ "Single Molecule Biophysics at the University of Illinois". Bio.physics.illinois.edu. Retrieved 2012-08-07.
  9. ^ "New PCCP Advisory Board member – Taekjip Ha « PCCP Blog". blogs.rsc.org. Retrieved 2015-03-22.
  10. ^ "Taekjip Ha Brief Bio". Retrieved 29 July 2015.
  11. ^ "Physics Faculty-Taekjip Ha". Retrieved 29 July 2015.
  12. ^ "Brief Biography, Taekjip Ha". University of Kentucky Department of Chemistry. 6 March 2015. Retrieved 2015-05-08.
  13. ^ Brownlee, Christen (2006). "Ready for Their Close-Ups: Investigating Single Molecules - ACS Chemical Biology (ACS Publications)". ACS Chemical Biology. 1 (12): 741–743. doi:10.1021/cb6004799. PMID 17240969.
  14. ^ "Single Molecule Approaches to Deciphering Molecular Interactions in Biology: Bios". University of Illinois. Retrieved 2015-07-29.
  15. ^ a b "Four new Bloomberg Distinguished Professors named at Johns Hopkins". 2015-07-08. Retrieved 29 July 2015.
  16. ^ Anderson, Nick. "Bloomberg pledges $350 million to Johns Hopkins University", The Washington Post, Washington, D.C., 23 January 2013. Retrieved on 12 March 2015.
  17. ^ Barbaro, Michael. "$1.1 Billion in Thanks From Bloomberg to Johns Hopkins", The New York Times, New York, 26 January 2013. Retrieved on 1 March 2015.
  18. ^ "Michael R. Bloomberg Commits $350 Million to Johns Hopkins for Transformational Academic Initiative 2013".
  19. ^ "Faculty: Taekjip Ha, Bloomberg Distinguished Professor". Archived from the original on 13 September 2015. Retrieved 29 July 2015.
  20. ^ "Past Cottrell Scholars". Research Corporation. Retrieved 29 July 2015.
  21. ^ "Sloan Research Fellowships". Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. Retrieved 29 July 2015.
  22. ^ "Past Fellows: Taekjip Ha". Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. Retrieved 29 July 2015.
  23. ^ "Our Scientists". Howard Hughes Medical Institute. Retrieved 2015-05-08.
  24. ^ "Michael and Kate Bárány Award Past Awardees" (PDF). Biophysical Society. 22 August 2006. Retrieved 20 July 2015.
  25. ^ "Ha Wins 2011 Ho-Am Prize in Science". 8 April 2011. Retrieved 29 July 2015.
  26. ^ "2012 KSEA Award Winner". 11 August 2012. Retrieved 29 July 2015.
  27. ^ "American Academy of Arts and Sciences Newly Elected Members, April 2015" (PDF). American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Retrieved 2015-05-08.
  28. ^ "ACS Network: Unsupported Browser". communities.acs.org. Retrieved 2015-03-22.
  29. ^ a b Baker, Monya (2012). "Taekjip Ha". Nature Methods. 9 (5): 421. doi:10.1038/nmeth.1980. PMID 22803196.
  30. ^ "articles/90/i11/New-Sensor-Cell-Metabolites". cen.acs.org. Retrieved 2015-03-22.
  31. ^ "Page Not Found - University of Illinois". Archived from the original on 2007-12-29. Retrieved 2015-03-22.
  32. ^ "DNA repair mystery solved by Professor Taekjip Ha's team | New Science". newscience.com.au. Retrieved 2015-03-22.
  33. ^ "Frontiers in Laser Cooling, Single-Molecule Biophysics and Energy Science: Taekjip Ha and Xiaowei Zhuang - YouTube". youtube.com. Retrieved 2015-03-22.
  34. ^ "Taekjip Ha, PhD Research Abstract | HHMI.org". hhmi.org. Retrieved 2015-03-22.
  35. ^ "Nanotechnology Today: New force-fluorescence device measures motion previously undetectable". nanotechnologytoday.blogspot.com. Retrieved 2015-03-22.
  36. ^ Selvin, P.R.; Ha, T. (2008). Single-molecule Techniques: A Laboratory Manual. Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press. ISBN 9780879697754. Retrieved 2015-03-22.
  37. ^ "Hepatitis C helicase unwinds DNA in a spring-loaded, 3-step process | EurekAlert! Science News". eurekalert.org. 26 July 2007. Retrieved 2015-03-22.
  38. ^ "HHMI Scientist Abstract: Taekjip Ha, Ph.D". Hhmi.org. 2012-05-30. Retrieved 2012-08-07.
  39. ^ "Taekjip Ha | Department of Physics at the U of I". Physics.illinois.edu. Retrieved 2012-08-07.
  40. ^ "author:taekjip author:ha - Google Scholar". Retrieved 2012-08-07.