Dr. Peter S. Kim is a leader in the study of protein folding and protein structure. His research is providing new insights that should be useful in future protein design efforts. Dr. Kim's recent studies have focused on three areas: the folding of bovine pancreatic trypsin inhibitor and -lactalbumin; the structure of the leucine zipper, which he found was actually not a zipper, but rather a coiled coil; and the structure of the influenza hemagglutinin protein, which revealed the previously unsuspected mechanism--involving a coiled coil--by which the virus infects human cells. Dr. Kim is now pursuing the possibility that a similar mechanism may be at work in other infections, including respiratory syncytial virus and HIV. Methods to interfere with the formation of coiled coils might offer a new way to fight these infections.
Dr. Kim is a professor of biology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a member of the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research. Since 1993, he has also been an associate investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. Dr. Kim joined the Whitehead Institute as a Whitehead Fellow in 1985; he became an MIT faculty member in 1988.
He is an associate editor of Cell and serves on the editorial boards of Protein Science, Current Opinion in Structural Biology, Structure, Molecules and Cells, and Protein Folding and Design. In addition, Dr. Kim is a member of the council of the Biophysical Society. His many honors and awards include the Excellence in Chemistry award from ICI Pharmaceuticals (1989), the Walter J. Johnson Prize in Molecular Biology from the Journal of Molecular Biology (1989), the NAS Award in Molecular Biology from the National Academy of Sciences (1993), the Eli Lilly Award in Biological Chemistry from the American Chemical Society (1994), and the DuPont Merck Young Investigator Award from the Protein Society (1994). From 1990 to 1994, he was a Pew Scholar in the Biomedical Sciences.
Dr. Kim received an A.B. in chemistry from Cornell University and a Ph.D. in biochemistry from Stanford University, where he worked in the laboratory of Dr. Robert Baldwin.
NIGMS has supported Dr. Kim's research since 1986.