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Research Highlights

A Scientist, A Scholar, A Mother

  • March 24, 2008
  • Hit 14684
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picture of Professor Kim"Overwhelmed by the endless stacks of books, I was awed by the sheer amount of knowledge that had preceded me," recollects Professor V. Narry Kim. During her undergraduate years, she would sit in her favorite spot in the main library browsing through books, longing to absorb all the accumulated knowledge.

Professor Kim, the recipient of the"Young Scientist Award" from KOSEF (Korea Science and Engineering Foundation), is best known for her RNA research. When asked about her university days, she paints a picture of a young undergraduate with less than stellar grades but an unquenchable drive to achieve in academic research that has propelled her through the difficult patches of her career. Kim emphasizes that today's students need to have greater confidence when expressing their own opinions and today's professors should let go of their traditional hierarchal arrogance. Then, she predicts, a truly lively and respectful culture of discussion can take root on campus. This freedom and give-and-take of ideas is the groundwork for nurturing global leaders, Professor Kim emphasizes."The only thing hindering Seoul National University from achieving the next step is the passivity of students who aren't being challenged to develop their own perspectives."

Professor Kim ended the interview by frankly sharing the moment of despair when she believed she might have to abandon her research."Giving birth and raising children are blessings, and at the same time, obstacles for most career women. I was no exception," she stated. Only the support from her academic adviser and her family, in addition to her passion for research, sustained her through these difficulties.

Lamenting the current lack of social support in Korea, Professor Kim encourages SNU to become a pioneer in providing systematic family and child care support for the women who constitute half the graduate and post-graduate population."I envision SNU as a supportive nest where women as well as men can develop their passion for research to their fullest potential, and everyone can celebrate the fruits together."

[ Brief Profile ]

Research interests:
RNA-mediated gene regulation

B.A. and M.S., Seoul National University (1988?- 1994)
D.Phil., Oxford University (1994 -1998)

Professional Experience:
- Postdoctoral fellow, University of Pennsylvania (1999 - 2001)
- Assistant Professor, Seoul National University (2001- )

Young Scientist Awards (2007),
Thomson Scientific Citation Laureate Awards (2007)
L'Oreal-UNESCO Award for women in science (2007)

- MicroRNA maturation: stepwise processing and subcellular localization. EMBO Journal (2002) 21: 4663-4670
- The Nuclear RNase III Drosha Initiates MicroRNA Processing. Nature (2003) 425:415-419
- Molecular Basis for Primary MicroRNA Processing by the Drosha-DGCR8 complex. Cell (2006) 125:887
List of postings
5 A Treasure Chest on Campus: The Legacy of a Royal Library in a Modern University Mar. 24, 2008 14849
4 Large Expectations at the Nano Systems Institute Mar. 24, 2008 11693
3 A Scientist, A Scholar, A Mother Mar. 24, 2008 14684
2 The Rewards of Compassion Mar. 24, 2008 14548
1 NGO Researcher Mar. 13, 2008 16714