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  •    Assistant professor
  • Biochemistry
  • Ph.D. 2011, KAIST

Contact information

Tel: (office) +82-42-350-2831, (lab) +82-42-350-2871
Location: (office) Room 603 (E6-6), (lab) Room 619 (E6-6)
Fax: +82-42-350-2810


Ph.D. Department of Chemistry, KAIST (2006-2011), Supervisor: Jie-Oh Lee, Ph.D.
B.S. Department of Chemistry, KAIST (2000 – 2005)


2019 – Current Assistant Professor, Department of Chemistry, KAIST
2017 – 2019 Research Associate, The Rockefeller University, PI: Seth Darst, Ph.D.
2014 – 2017 Postdoctoral Associate, The Rockefeller University, PI: Seth Darst, Ph.D.
2012 – 2014 Postdoctoral Associate, The Rockefeller University, PI: Roderick MacKinnon, M.D.
2011 – 2012 Postdoctoral Associate, Department of Chemistry, KAIST, PI: Jie-Oh Lee, Ph.D.


Apr. 2018 NYKB Award (New York Korean Biologists 10th Annual Conference)
Jun. 2010 New Star Women Scientist Award (Womens Bioscience Forum)


Brief Introduction

We utilize cryo-electron microscopy (cryo-EM) to understand how biomolecules actually work. We are currently in a revolutionary era of structural biochemistry. Recent advances in cryo-EM, in particular in the improvement of electron direct detector coupled with the development of data analysis software, have revolutionized the field over the last a few years. As a result, the contributions of cryo-EM techniques to understand biological processes was recognized in the form of the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 2017, which was awarded to the scientists who developed and advanced cryo-EM techniques. Together with other biochemical approaches, we study (1) prokaryotic transcription to uncover the fundamental mechanism of RNA synthesis, (2) eukaryotic transcription to understand the principles of gene regulation during RNA synthesis, and (3) the microbiome to reveal the beneficial interaction between eukaryotes and prokaryotes. We hope that our efforts deepen our understanding of life and that they benefit humans in harmony with other species on earth.

Research topics

Cryo-electron microscopy
X-ray crystallography

Representative publications

1. JY Kang, RA Mooney, Y Nediakov, J Saba, TV Mishanina, I Artsimovitch, R Landick and SA Darst. Structural basis for transcript elongation control by NusG/RfaH universal regulators., Cell 173, 1650–1662 (2018).
2. JY Kang, TV Mishanina, MJ Bellecourt, RA Mooney, SA Darst and R Landick. RNA polymerase accommodates a pause RNA hairpin by global conformational rearrangements that prolong pausing. Mol. Cell 69, 802-815 (2018).
3. JY Kang, PDB Olinares, J Chen, EA Campbell, A Mustaev, BT Chait, ME Gottesman, and SA Darst. Structural basis of transcription arrest by coliphage HK022 Nun in an Escherichia coli RNA polymerase elongation complex. eLife 6, e25478 (2017). [F1000 Prime Recommended: F1000Prime.com/727423159]
4. JY Kang and J,-O Lee. Structural Biology of the Toll-Like Receptor Family. Annu. Rev. Biochem. 80, 917-941 (2011).
5. JY Kang, X Nan, MS Jin, S,-J Youn, YH Ryu, S Mah, SH Han, H Lee, S,-G Paik, and J,-O Lee. Recognition of Lipopeptide Patterns by Toll-like Receptor 2-Toll-like Receptor 6 Heterodimer. Immunity 31, 873-884 (2009).