Sunkyung (Sunny) Kim, PhD

Sunkyung (Sunny) Kim, PhD

Instructor, Pathology & Immunology


  • Immunobiology

Lab Website


  • BS, Life and Food Science (Handong Global University)
  • PhD, Infection and Immunology (Seoul National University)
  • Postdoctoral Research Associate, Pathology and Immunology (Washington University in St. Louis)

Research Statement

Hematopoietic progenitor cells establish diversity of immune lineages by iterating fate choices mediated by dominance of a few transcription factors during critical stages of cell fate divergence. My work focused on understanding the transcriptional basis for conventional dendritic cell (cDC) development and gene expression. Although both cDC1 and cDC2 originate from the common DC progenitor (CDP), their gene expression believed to be distinctly controlled by different transcription factors. However, my research has shown that rather than the identity of the transcription factor, the specific gene expression of cDC1 and cDC2 relies on usage of specific cis-regulatory elements that can be redundantly controlled by different factors. This research has provided new insight into how enhancer affinity can result in phenotypic and functional differences between two developmentally similar cells. My current research focus on how transcription factors regulate the divergence of myeloid cells at critical stages of fate decisions, such as dendritic cell versus monocyte divergence. This work will provide novel understanding of transcription program driving lineage divergence during myeloid development.


Kim S, Chen J, Ou F, Ferris ST, Liu T, Ohara RA, Anderson DA 3rd, Wu R, Jo S, Chen MY, Gillanders WE, Gillanders WE, Murphy TL, Murphy KM. Ablation of cDC1 development by IL-6-induced C/EBPβ support in the -165 kb Zeb2 enhancer. J Exp Med 2023 Oct 2;220(10):e20221757. PMID: 37432392
Liu TT, Kim S, Desai P, Kim DH, Huang X, Ferris ST, Wu R, Ou F, Egawa T, Van Dyken SJ, Diamond MS, Johnson PF, Kubo M, Murphy TL, Murphy KM. Ablation of cDC2 development by triple mutations within the Zeb2 enhancer. Nature. 2022 Jul;607(7917):142-148. PMID: 35732734
Anderson DA, Ou F, Kim S, Murphy TL, Murphy KM. Transition from cMyc to L-Myc during dendritic cell development coordinated by rising levels of IRF8. J Exp Med. 2022 Feb 7;219(2). PMID: 34958351
Kim S, Bagadia P, Anderson DA 3rd, Liu TT, Huang X, Theisen DJ, O’Connor KW, Ohara RA, Iwata A, Murphy TL, Murphy KM. High Amount of Transcription Factor IRF8 Engages AP1-IRF Composite Elements in Enhancers to Direct Type 1 Conventional Dendritic Cell Identity. Immunity. 2020 Oct 13;53(4):759-774.e9. doi: 10.1016/j.immuni.2020.07.018. Epub 2020 Aug 13. Erratum in: Immunity. 2021 Jul 13;54(7):1622. PMID: 32795402

Kelly Antolik
Clinical Sciences Research Building, 7th Floor, Room 7739