Kim was recognized for his “landmark discovery of the structures of t-RNA, H-Ras and B-Raf, and for the mapping of the protein structure and genome sequence universes.” In 1979, Kim moved from Duke University to UC Berkeley as a professor in the Department of Chemistry. That same year, he also joined Berkeley Lab’s Structural Biology Division as a faculty senior scientist. Today he is a professor of graduate studies and professor emeritus in UC Berkeley’s Department of Chemistry, and a faculty member of UC Berkeley’s Center for Computational Biology. His major research interests have been in two areas: structural biology and computational biology. With respect to the former, Kim’s group made landmark discoveries of the 3D structures of a transfer-RNA, a decoder of genetic codes, and two major cancer-causing proteins coded by the mutants of Ras and Protein kinase genes. The 3D structure of the latter helped Plexxikon Inc. in its discovery of Zelboraf, an anticancer drug. Kim’s second area of focus has been to develop methods for visualizing “the protein structure universe” to understand the architectural patterns of all protein structures, and constructing “The Genome Tree of Life” to find a narrative for the evolution of all living organisms based on the whole genome sequence universe. Kim was inducted as a Fellow in the American Academy of Arts & Sciences and a Member of the National Academy of Sciences in 1994, and has earned many other awards and accolades throughout his career spanning six decades.
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