POSITION: Assistant Professor, Tenure Stream
ACADEMIC UNIT: Biology
PLACE OF BIRTH: Seoul, SK
JOINED UTM FACULTY: 2017
“I enjoy working on various projects with my lab members to discover new scientific knowledge.”
Ho-Sung Rhee developed an interest in gene regulation while studying for his master’s degree at Seoul National University in South Korea and decided to pursue the topic in North America, home to many of the leaders in the field. He earned his PhD in molecular biology at Pennsylvania State University and continued on to a postdoctoral fellowship at the Motor Neuron Center at Columbia University in New York before accepting a position at UTM.
“I get excited by new scientific discoveries,” he says. “I enjoy working on various projects with my lab members to discover new scientific knowledge.”
Rhee’s research focuses broadly on the development of the central nervous system and how neuronal cells are generated from a single stem cell. He explores how genetic information is transferred to proteins during mammalian development and how genes are expressed to make unique cell types in the central nervous system. His UTM research lab currently includes three graduate students and two undergraduates.
Conducting research provides an opportunity to develop new technologies and techniques, Rhee says. For example, he created a new genomic mapping method, ChIP-exo, for identifying a protein’s binding location on a gene, a key step in studying gene expression.
“The previous method had many limitations in mapping resolution of protein-DNA interactions, so I improved it by applying exonuclease digestion to DNA. Using it revealed how proteins recognize target genes to make specific cell types during neuronal development. I’ve patented it and a biotech company commercialized it, so it can benefit other researchers. I’m excited about finding new things.”
- Rhee, H.S., Closser, M., Guo, Y., Bashkirova, E. V., Tan, G. C., Gifford, D. K., and Wichterle, H. (2016). Expression of terminal effector genes in mammalian neurons is maintained by a dynamic relay of transient enhancers, Neuron, 92(6), 1252-1265. Previewed by Sockanathan S., 2016 Dec 21, Neuron 92 (6): 1149-1151.
- Rhee, H.S., Bataille, A.R., Zhang, L., and Pugh, B.F. (2014). Subnucleosomal structure and nucleosome asymmetry across a genome. Cell, 159(6), 1377-1388. Previewed by Lieb J. D., 2014 Dec 4, Cell 159: 1249-1151.
- Rhee, H.S. and Pugh, B.F. (2012). Genome-wide structure and organization of eukaryotic pre-initiation complexes. Nature, 483(7389), 295-301.