Lab Members

Current

Tae-Hyung Kim, Ph.D.

Principal Investigator

I am an Assistant Professor in the Department of Pathology at the University of New Mexico School of Medicine and UNM Comprehensive Cancer Center. As a graduate student in the laboratory of Dr. Jonathan Horowitz at North Carolina State University, I identified the transcription factor Sp2 as a novel oncogene by generating Sp2 overexpressing transgenic mice. Then I studied cancer cell metabolism focused on the role of the ribosomal protein-MDM2-p53 pathway in the laboratory of Dr. Yanping Zhang at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.  As a postdoctoral researcher at UCLA mentored by Drs. Amy Rowat and Erica Sloan, I studied cancer mechanobiology and demonstrated that beta-adrenergic signaling pathway in highly metastatic breast cancer cells and macrophages regulates cell mechanotypes and functions. 

In my laboratory, I am very excited to study the role of diverse soluble and mechanical cues from tumor microenvironment on regulating cancer progression through altered cell mechanics. Ultimately, we aim to understand the basic biology of cancer mechanotype and to develop novel therapeutics to suppress cancer progression, especially metastasis, by modulating the mechanotypes of cancer. 

Mijung Oh, Ph.D. (Sep. 2021 - Present)

Postdoctoral Fellow

I received my Ph.D. degree from Sungkyunkwan University under the mentorship of Dr. Sang Yong Song and Dr. Kyungsook Park. As a graduate student, I discovered that calpain-6 is a novel VEGFA-interacting protein and demonstrated that their interaction is necessary to enhance VEGF secretion. As I became more interested in molecular mechanisms of cancer progression, especially cancer metastasis, I joined Dr. Kim's lab as a postdoctoral researcher to further expand my research expertise into the field of cancer mechanobiology. I am currently working on identifying soluble factors from tumor microenvironment that impact mechanotypes of cancer and immune cells, and ultimately cancer metastasis. I am also interested in elucidating the role of cell mechanotype in regulating immune cell function/activity and cancer cell metabolism. 

Aadil Qadir Bhat, Ph.D. (Mar. 2023 - Present)

Postdoctoral Fellow

I received my PhD in Sciences from the Academy of Scientific and Innovative Research at CSIR-Indian Institute of Integrative Medicine, Jammu, India in 2023. My PhD research was focused on “Characterization of newly identified allosteric inhibitor pocket of IGF1R”. As a PhD student I identified four amino acids involved in regulating kinase activity of IGF1R. I started working as a postdoctoral researcher in Dr. Tae-Hyung Kim's lab as soon as I arrived at the University of New Mexico. Currently, the lab is focused on cancer mechanobiology. I am currently working on understanding the underlying mechanisms of how mechanobiology plays a role in cancer progression and immune-modulation. My research publications are available via Google Scholar. 

Ania Klas, RN, BSN (July 2023 - Present)

UNM Post-Baccalaureate Research and Education Program (PREP)

Hi there! My name is Ania and I am joining Dr. Kim’s lab as a research scholar through the UNM PREP program. I have my bachelor’s degree in nursing, and I worked in pediatric intensive care for a little over a year. I am excited to pursue a master’s degree and eventually a Ph.D. in biomedical science focusing in cancer biology. When I am not working, I enjoy swimming, yoga, traveling, and spending time with my family.

Miriam Bechtel (January 2024 - Present)

Biochemistry Honors Program

Hi! My name is Miriam, and I’m currently in my sophomore year at UNM pursuing a BS in Biochemistry with a math minor. I’m fascinated with the biochemical mechanisms behind the spread of disease, and I hope to expand my understanding in the broad field of cancer research. I am very grateful for the opportunity to work in Dr. Kim’s lab to further investigate the mechanobiology of the tumor microenvironment. Outside the lab, I regularly enjoy skiing, running, hiking, and traveling whenever given the chance. 

Alyssa Richmond (Summer 2024)

Undergraduate Pipeline Network Summer Research Program (UPN) Fellow

Hi! My name is Alyssa Richmond, I am currently a third-year undergraduate student at New Mexico State University, pursing a BS in Biology and a BA in Psychology. I am so excited to be working with Dr. Tae-Hyung Kim as a part of the UPN Summer Research program and excited to expand my knowledge on the mechanobiology surrounding cancer cells/progression. In my free time, I enjoy spending time with my friends and family, reading, watching movies, and getting active!

Alumni

Nayan Banerjee (Apr. 2021 - May 2024)

Undergraduate Student Research Volunteer

I am a sophomore undergraduate majoring in Chemistry at IACS, India. I am interested in the interdisciplinary interface of chemistry, biology and physics with special emphasis on addressing real world biochemical problems. As an undergraduate, while being associated with an organic synthesis research group, I believe in challenging the notion of science compartmentalization and actively drift towards an interdisciplinary approach to science. The field of cancer biochemistry has always been intriguing to me and Prof. Kim’s lab helps me to explore the science in its full rigor. In my leisure time, I love travelling to places, exploring various cultures and making new friends. My hobbies include reading scientific literature, watching cartoons and walking down the beautiful streets of Kolkata.

Angela Littlefield (Spring 2024)

BSGP Rotation Student

Hi, my name is Angela Littlefield and I am a first year PhD student in the BSGP program at UNM’s School of Medicine. I received my M.S. degree in Biology from California State University, Los Angeles, and my B.S. degree in Cell, Molecular, and Developmental Biology from the University of California, Riverside. I am interested in cancer biology and cell signaling research. While in the Kim lab, I worked on the characterization of different breast cancer cell lines and have been super excited to learn more about mechanobiology in relation to the regulation of cancer. 

Clara Bertoni (Fall 2023)

BSGP Rotation Student

Hello, I'm Clara Bertoni. 

I was born and raised in Italy but moved to New Mexico in 2019 to pursue my undergraduate studies at the University of New Mexico, with the hope of more job opportunities. I graduated with honors in December of 2022 and earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology. 

I am delighted to be rotating with Dr. Tae-Hyung Kim and his lab at the start of my journey to earn my Ph.D. in the Biomedical Sciences Graduate Program.  My project focuses on validating the effects of glucose on macrophage phagocytosis in human monocytic cell line-derived macrophages. 

Taylor Wells (Summer 2023)

Undergraduate Pipeline Network Summer Research Program (UPN) Fellow

I am heading into my senior year as an undergraduate at the University of New Mexico where I am majoring in Biochemistry with a minor in Population Health. I am extremely excited to be working with Dr. Tae-Hyung Kim and the entire team this summer as a part of the Summer 2023 UPN Cohort. I enjoy a vast variety of interests and hobbies such as film, reading, hiking, and cultivating playlists. I am also delighted to be researching cancer mechanobiology and how different regulators and factors affect their properties. I can't wait to learn more in the world of research and gain more crucial experience with this impressive team and I am so thankful for the opportunity. 

Hannah Kaye (Spring 2023)

BSGP Rotation Student

Hi, my name is Hannah Kaye. I graduated from the University of New Mexico in the Spring 2022 with my BS in Biochemistry. I started the Biomedical Sciences Graduate Program at the University of New Mexico in the Fall of 2022 in hopes of getting my Ph.D in the Department of Pathology. I am currently rotating through the Kim Lab with a project that is investigating the mechanotype and function of U937-derived macrophages in response to glucose treatment.

Halima Akter (May 2021 - Jul. 2022)

Undergraduate Student Research Volunteer

As an undergraduate researcher at the Kim lab, I’m grateful and excited for the unique opportunity to learn and work on cancer progression and the role mechanobiology has on it. The work being done in understanding the tumor microenvironment and how it affects the mechanical properties of cancer cells is fascinating and piques my interest.  

I’m currently pursuing a Biology and Psychology major at the University of New Mexico and in the future, I want to attend medical school and continue doing research in the biomedical field as a medical student and beyond. This research experience will help me be a better physician as I’ll be able to critically evaluate new evidence and provide the best patient care.  

To fill in the gaps, I volunteer at various organizations, read books, and try out new recipes

Skylar Batty (Summer 2021)

Undergraduate Pipeline Network Summer Research Program (UPN) Fellow

I am currently an undergraduate at the University of Arizona where I am majoring in Molecular and Cellular Biology and minoring in Mathematics. I have been given the great opportunity to work in Dr. Kim’s lab this summer through the UPN program at UNM. I have previous research experience studying insulin resistance and type II diabetes in Dr. Paul Langlais’ lab at the University of Arizona, where I have gained an immense amount of knowledge about metabolism and the involvement of the cytoskeleton in insulin action. I am very excited to extend my research into the field of cancer mechanobiology and cancer metabolism this summer with Dr. Kim, as I find cancer biology both very interesting and exciting. This fall, I plan to apply for PhD programs so I can continue to experience the thrill of research every day! In my free time I enjoy gardening, hiking, reading, and trying new restaurants. A big thanks to UPN and Dr. Kim for providing this amazing opportunity for me this summer! 

Joshua Minster (May 2021 - Sep. 2021)

Research Technician 

After attending New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology I obtained a Bachelor of Science in Biology with a minor in Materials Engineering. During my time at New Mexico Tech I was able to conduct research in several labs studying amphibian disease dynamics, cancer cell-microbubble binding mechanisms, and novel anticancer treatments. I then furthered my research training at the University of New Mexico in Chemical and Biological Engineering formulating novel biomimetic red blood cells for cargo loading, ATP biosensing, drug delivery, and toxic biosensing. These experiences helped to foster my passion for scientific research at the interface of biology, chemistry, engineering, and medicine. I am currently a research technician in the Kim lab where I am assisting in mechanobiology research and the day to day operations of the lab. My main interests lie in multifaceted approaches to developing novel anti-cancer treatments. My future goals include applying to PhD programs and continuing my education as a doctoral student. Outside the lab, my hobbies include travelling, climbing, learning new languages, cooking, and Brazilian jiu-jitsu.