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Dr. Il-Jin Kim is a Principal Investigator and Director of Applied Genomics in the UCSF Thoracic Oncology Lab and Director of the Kim Lab. His work focuses on the identification of novel diagnostic and therapeutic markers in lung cancer and mesothelioma. Dr. Kim investigates human cancers using state-of-the-art technologies including next-generation sequencing (NGS) and system genetics, Dr. Kim has developed several innovative microarrays (RET, beta-catenin, K-ras, and BRAF) and pioneered new methods of high-throughput mutation screening for which he holds numerous patents.
Dr. Kim graduated the College of Veterinary Medicine , Seoul National University with a B.S. and D.V.M., and an M.S. and Ph.D. in Tumor Biology from the College of Medicine at Seoul National University. In 2008, Dr. Kim came to UCSF as a post-doctoral fellow and joined the UCSF faculty as an Assistant Adjunct Professor in the Department of Surgery.
Dr. Il-Jin Kim served as a group leader of the Korean Hereditary Tumor Registry from 2003-2006, an organization of which he has been a member since 1999. As group leader, he led a project that screened approximately 1,000 patients from 400 families, looking at 12 inherited cancer syndromes. He has three times received awards for development of genetic assays by the AACR (American Association for Cancer Research).
His research and paper for the 'Prediction of response to preoperative chemoradiotherapy in colorectal cancer patients' was named the best publication of 2007 by the journal "Dis Colon Rectum", the award given at the 2008 ASCRS (American Society of Colon and Rectal Surgeons) Annual Meeting. He is now a principal Investigator in the Thoracic Oncology Laboratory at UCSF.
Dr. Il-Jin Kim has focused his career on three important cancer-related areas:
Building on the work of "Lung Cancer System Genetics" Project, a 5-year research collaboration with the Thoracic Oncology Lab funded by The Bonnie J. Addario Lung Cancer Foundation, the Kim Lab employs sophisticated system genetics/genomics approaches in lung and other human cancers to develop predictive and prognostic molecular markers for diagnostic and therapeutic application.
The Kim lab studies genome-wide gene expression, DNA copy number, mutation, fusions, and any other genetic changes in lung cancer. His lab has identified several novel molecular targets in normal and matched adenocarcinoma tissue, and is now working on functional and biological validation of these markers. This research is being used to develop novel therapeutic drugs and diagnostic assays for lung adenocarcinoma.
In the journal Nature Communications, lead author Il-Jin Kim, Ph.D., (pictured left) Director of Applied Genomics in the UCSF Thoracic Oncology Lab, Thoracic Oncology Program Leader, David M. Jablons, M.D., (pictured right) and others, demonstrate the value of mining vast gene expression networks to expand the pool of therapeutic targets in lung cancer. This could lead to the discovery of novel druggable targets specific to lung adenocarcinoma, sparing normal lung tissue, and to anti-cancer drugs with minimal side toxicity yet with high tumor killing efficacy.
The Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation (MARF), a leading national funder of research for this disease, has awarded Il-Jin Kim, Ph.D., Assistant Professor and Director of Applied Genomics in the Thoracic Oncology Laboratory, a grant to study Novel fusion and tumor-specific isoform candidates in malignant pleural mesothelioma (MPM), an aggressive and highly lethal cancer, with the ultimate goal of identifying therapeutic targets. The research focuses on a class of patient who lack the three most common genetic deletions (CDKN2A, NF2, and BAP1). Studying the unique genetic profile of this so-called triple-negative (TN) MPM patient population may reveal unique genetic characteristics and oncogenic fusions contributing to MPM development. The goal would be to target the aberrant cancer-inducting activity in this small group of patients with novel therapies. This is a similar approach to the identification of the EML4-ALK fusion genes in non-small cell lung cancer patients, leading to the novel therapy crizotinib, an example of 21st century precision medicine.
Il-Jin Kim, Ph.D., Assistant Adjunct Professor and Director of Applied Genomics in the Thoracic Oncology Laboratory and Principal Investigator in the Kim Lab, has been named to Editorial Board of journal ISRN Biotechnology.