V. Narry Kim

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V. Narry Kim
V. Narry Kim
Vic Narry Kim

1969 (age 54–55)
NationalitySouth Korean
Alma materSeoul National University
University of Oxford
Known forMicroRNA
AwardsAsan Award in Medicine (2019)
Scientist of the Year Award (2016)
S-Oil Leading Scientist of the Year (2013)
Top Scientist and Technologist Award of Korea (2013)
Amore Pacific the Grand Prize (2010)
Ho-Am Prize in Medicine (2009)
L'Oreal-UNESCO Women in Science Award (2008)
Woman Scientist/Engineer of the Year Award (2007)
Thomson Scientific Citation Laureate Award (2007)
Scientific career
FieldsBiochemistry, molecular biology
InstitutionsInstitute for Basic Science, Seoul National University
Doctoral advisorAlan J. Kingsman
Korean name
Revised RomanizationGim Binnaeri
McCune–ReischauerKim Pinnaeri

V. Narry Kim is a South Korean biochemist and microbiologist, best known for her work on microRNA biogenesis. Her pioneering studies have laid the groundwork for the biology of microRNA and contributed to the improvement of RNA interference technologies.


Kim was born in South Korea in 1969. Kim first became interested in science as a high school student. When asked why she chose science as a lifelong career, she said, “I was charmed by the simplicity of the principles underlying the complexity of life.”[1]


Kim went on to pursue a BA degree in microbiology, then followed by a MS degree in microbiology in 1992 and 1994, respectively, both from Seoul National University (SNU). After completing her masters under adviser Kang Sa-Ouk, Kim went to the United Kingdom to further her studies at the University of Oxford, studying the functions of retroviral proteins under Alan J. Kingsman.[2][3] She graduated with a PhD in biochemistry in 1998.


Her academic journey then took her to the United States, where she took a position at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia as a research assistant. After completing her postdoctoral research on mRNA surveillance in the laboratory of Gideon Dreyfuss,[4] Kim finished her postdoctoral studies and returned to Korea in 2001. She then started working at Seoul National University as a research assistant professor. By the age of 35, Kim already had twenty-two of her papers published in well known and prestigious scientific publications, such as Science and Nature. In addition, Kim “holds four patents based on her research activities, including one on a novel HIV-based gene delivery vector.”[1]

In 2008, she became an associate professor, then a SNU Distinguished Fellow in 2010, and a full professor in 2013. Located in Seoul National University, she began working with the Institute for Basic Science (IBS) in 2012 as the founding director of the Center for RNA Research. her lab focuses on RNA-mediated gene regulation research, specifically investigating post-transcriptional gene regulation mediated by microRNAs (miRNAs).[5] The lab employs biochemistry, molecular biology, genetic, biophysical, and computational approaches. Research is focused on miRNAs, which are small non-coding RNAs involved in practically all working aspects of eukaryotic cells. Tight control of miRNA is vital to normal functioning cells. If dysregulated, miRNAs can often be linked to human diseases such as cancer. By focusing on the miRNA biogenesis, Dr. Kim's lab has made major contributions to the understanding of miRNAs are created and processed in animal cells. These studies can potentially open the doors to new forms of cancer treatment and stem cell engineering.[6]

In 2013, Kim, along with Professor Jin-Soo KIM of the SNU Department of Chemistry developed a new technology to eliminate specific microRNAs. This new technology has the promise of being potentially used to cure cancer and other illnesses in the future. In the research, TALENs (enzymes) were used to separate certain microRNA from a cell. TALENs had been used to create protein before, but this was the first time they have been used to separate microRNA. The team developed 540 different TALENs for this specific purpose. When this was applied to cancer cells, the proliferation rate of cancer cells dropped to one third of what it was.[7] This discovery was published in the November 11, 2013 edition of Nature Structural and Molecular Biology.[8]

Kim's first paper as PI was published in 2002 in the EMBO Journal.[9] In this highly cited work, she defined two separate processing steps (primary microRNA (pri-miRNA) processing in the nucleus and pre-miRNA processing in the cytoplasm), and proposed a model of the microRNA biogenesis pathway for the first time. Based on this model, her research group discovered that most microRNA genes are transcribed by RNA polymerase II and that pri-miRNA processing is carried out by Drosha-DGCR8 complexes in the nucleus.

Her research group further identified uridylation-meditated pre-miRNA degradation pathway by LIN28[10] and TUT4,[11] contributing to a better understanding of how microRNA-mediated gene expression regulation is involved in embryonic stem cell maintenance and cancer cell development. She also discovered the molecular basis for pri-miRNA recognition and cleavage by the Drosha-DGCR8 complexes,[12] and pre-miRNA processing by Dicer.[13] These findings suggested several critical points to be considered for designing more efficient short hairpin RNA (shRNA) vectors and also contributed to the improvement of RNA interference technologies.

The research team led by Narry Kim and Chang Hyeshik confirmed the predicted subgenomic RNAs of SARS-CoV-2 along with new RNA and dozens of unknown subgenomic RNAs.[14][15] The interdisciplinary team was composed of virologists, microbiologists and computational scientists.[16]

Kim received L'Oreal-UNESCO Award for Women in Science (2008),[17] Ho-Am Prize in Medicine (2009)[18] and Top Scientist and Technologist Award of Korea (2013). She is an active member of the RNA Society and the International Society of Stem Cell Research (ISSCR). In addition she has been recognized as one of the top Asian scientists to watch by Asian Scientist[19] and among the "science stars of East Asia" by Nature.[20] She was a Clarivate Analytics Highly Cited Researcher in the field of molecular biology and genetics in 2014.[21][22][23]

Work summary[edit]

Professional experience:

Professional service:

  • 2015–present: Board of Reviewing Editors, Science
  • 2014–present: Foreign Associate, National Academy of Sciences (NAS)
  • 2014–present: Editorial Board, Molecular Cell
  • 2012–present: Member, The Korean Academy of Science Technology[4]
  • 2014: Organizer, Keystone Symposia
  • 2013–2014: Council Member, Presidential Advisory Council on Science and Technology
  • 2013–2014: Meetings Committee, The RNA Society
  • 2013–present: Foreign Associate, European Molecular Biology Organization (EMBO)[3]
  • 2012–present: Editorial Board, Genes & Development
  • 2011-2012: Director, The RNA Society
  • 2011: Co-organizer, ISSCR-Cold Spring Harbor Asia Joint Meeting, Suzhou, China
  • 2011–present: Editorial Board, The EMBO Journal
  • 2011: Co-organizer, Keystone Symposia (RNA Silencing), Monterey, United States
  • 2010–present: Editorial Board, Cell
  • 2010–present: Member, Human Frontier Science Program Fellowship Review Committee
  • 2010–2011: Director, The RNA Society
  • 2009–present: Editorial Board, Cell Research
  • 2009: Organizer, The 14th Annual Meeting of the RNA Society Meeting, Madison, United States
  • 2008: Organizer, Seoul RNA Symposium, Seoul, South Korea
  • 2007: Session Organizer and Publication Committee Member, FAOMB, Seoul, South Korea
  • 2006–2008: Council Member, Presidential Advisory Council on Science and Technology, South Korea



  1. ^ a b "Interview" (PDF). www.narrykim.org.
  2. ^ "V. Narry Kim: Embracing the Challenge of Science" (PDF). Quest. Thermo Fisher Scientific. March 2005. p. 31. Retrieved 24 January 2019. I have long been interested in noncoding RNAs since my graduate days in Alan Kingsman's lab at Oxford University, even though my doctoral thesis was on retroviruses.
  3. ^ a b c "Conference Speakers - Cell Symposium_ Regulatory RNAs". Cell Symposia. 12–14 May 2019. Retrieved 24 January 2019.
  4. ^ a b c "V Narry Kim - iBiology". iBiology. Retrieved 24 January 2019.
  5. ^ "Center for RNA Research - Life Sciences - Research Centers". Institute for Basic Science. Retrieved 24 January 2019. Our research center is currently conducting research on microRNAs and other ncRNAs using cancer and stem cells as model systems. In addition, our center is running a long-term project to systematically identify novel ncRNAs and proteins that bind to them. These studies will advance our understanding of cellular regulatory mechanisms and provide a conceptual basis for the development of new therapies and diagnostic techniques.
  6. ^ "RNA Biology: Narry Kim Lab". www.narrykim.org.
  7. ^ UNIVERSITY, SEOUL NATIONAL. "Professor V. Narry KIM Develops Selective RNA Elimination - Media Coverage - SNU Media - News & Forum - SNU". en.snu.ac.kr.
  8. ^ Kim, Young-Kook; Wee, Gabbine; Park, Joha; Kim, Jongkyu; Baek, Daehyun; Kim, Jin-Soo; Kim, V Narry (10 November 2013). "TALEN-based knockout library for human microRNAs". Nature Structural & Molecular Biology. 20 (12): 1458–1464. doi:10.1038/nsmb.2701. PMID 24213537. S2CID 10448024. Retrieved 24 January 2019.
  9. ^ Lee Y, Jeon K, Lee JT, Kim S, Kim VN (September 2002). "MicroRNA maturation: stepwise processing and subcellular localization". EMBO J. 21 (17): 4663–4670. doi:10.1093/emboj/cdf476. PMC 126204. PMID 12198168.
  10. ^ Heo I, Joo C, Cho J, Ha M, Han J, Kim VN (October 2008). "Lin28 mediates the terminal uridylation of let-7 precursor MicroRNA". Mol. Cell. 32 (2): 276–284. doi:10.1016/j.molcel.2008.09.014. PMID 18951094.
  11. ^ Heo I, Joo C, Kim YK, Ha M, Yoon MJ, Cho J, Yeom KH, Han J, Kim VN (August 2009). "TUT4 in concert with Lin28 suppresses microRNA biogenesis through pre-microRNA uridylation". Cell. 138 (4): 696–708. doi:10.1016/j.cell.2009.08.002. PMID 19703396. S2CID 15469064.
  12. ^ Han J, Lee Y, Yeom KH, Nam JW, Heo I, Rhee JK, Sohn SY, Cho Y, Zhang BT, Kim VN (June 2006). "Molecular basis for the recognition of primary microRNAs by the Drosha-DGCR8 complex". Cell. 125 (5): 887–901. doi:10.1016/j.cell.2006.03.043. PMID 16751099. S2CID 453021.
  13. ^ Park JE, Heo I, Tian Y, Simanshu DK, Chang H, Jee D, Patel DJ, Kim VN (July 2011). "Dicer recognizes the 5' end of RNA for efficient and accurate processing". Nature. 475 (7355): 201–205. doi:10.1038/nature10198. PMC 4693635. PMID 21753850.
  14. ^ Kim, Dongwan; Lee, Joo-Yeon; Yang, Jeong-Sun; Kim, Jun Won; Kim, Kim V. Narry; Chang, Hyeshik (14 May 2020). "The Architecture of SARS-CoV-2 Transcriptome". Cell. 181 (4): 914–921.e10. doi:10.1016/j.cell.2020.04.011. PMC 7179501. PMID 32330414.
  15. ^ "New Coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) Mapped Out: A high resolution gene map reveals many viral RNAs with unknown functions and modifications". Institute for Basic Science. Retrieved 10 June 2020.
  16. ^ Mark Zastrow (27 May 2020). "South Korea's Institute for Basic Science faces review: Decisions about the country's research flagship will signpost national priorities". Nature Research. 581 (7809): S53. doi:10.1038/d41586-020-01465-8. S2CID 218898089. Retrieved 10 June 2020.
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  18. ^ "The Ho-Am Prize Laureates". Ho-Am Foundation. Retrieved 2012-01-14.
  19. ^ Chan, Juliana (15 May 2011). "The Ultimate List Of 15 Asian Scientists To Watch – V Narry Kim". Asian Scientist. Retrieved 24 January 2019.
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  21. ^ "IBS Places First Among Korean Institutions by Featuring 9 Scientists in List of Highly Cited Researchers". Institute for Basic Science. 4 December 2018. Retrieved 12 February 2019.
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