Dr. Kim’s research focuses on developing biomimetic microsystems that reconstitute organ-level functions on chip and integrative control systems that allow large-scale production of therapeutic and diagnostic bio/nanomaterials. His lab develops experimental control systems and micro/millifluidic platforms, and employs computer-aided engineering to understand: (1) how cells coordinate responses to signaling cues in multicellular environments; (2) how bio/nanomaterials assemble and break in dynamically controlled fluid flows; and (3) how biological systems interact with nanomaterials with varied physicochemical properties.
Organs-on-chips that mimic the characteristics of human organs are enabling scientists to predict more accurately how effective therapeutic drug candidates would be in clinical studies without serious adverse effects and to address how multiple cells coordinate organizational decisions in response to complicated signaling cascades. Dr. Kim’s lab builds valid artificial organ-on-a-chip systems by manipulating 3D extracellular environments in time and space, utilizing the expertise in microfabrication, miniaturization, robotics, and control systems engineering, and understanding the human body’s fundamental physiological responses to mechanochemical cues. This research will help examine the behavior and interaction of multifunctional nanomaterials with biologically relevant microenvironments for rapid clinical translation of nanomedicine, thereby bringing drugs to market more quickly and perhaps even eliminate the need for animal testing.
Advanced treatment of diseases such as cancer and atherosclerosis needs controlled delivery of multifunctional nanocarriers that contain multiple drugs that can target tumors with anti-angiogenic and cytostatic agents and a diversity of imaging agents that monitor the transport in the body. Optimized integration of manufacturing nanomaterials will contribute to advanced health technology not only because of rapid clinical translation of drugs but also due to reduction of any release of harmful byproducts. Dr. Kim’s lab designs and fabricates diverse microfluidic modules for diverse syntheses of multifunctional nanomaterials and integrates the modules to establish large-scale implementation of manufacturing processes scaled to economically and industrially relevant production level. The integrative system will facilitate good manufacturing practice (GMP) production and clinical translation in pharmaceutical and biomedical industry and enable reproducible and controlled synthesis of nanoparticles at scales suitable for rapid clinical development and commercialization.