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  1. Science & Research (NCTR)

Seong-Jae Kim Ph.D.

Staff Fellow — Division of Microbiology

Seong-Jae Kim
Seong-Jae Kim, Ph.D.

(870) 543-7121

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 About  |  Publications  |  Lab Members


Dr. Seong-Jae (Peter) Kim is currently a research microbiologist staff fellow at FDA’s National Center for Toxicological Research (NCTR). Dr. Kim graduated from Chungbuk National University, Republic of Korea, where he received a master’s degree in microbiology and a Ph.D. in microbiology. He worked as a postdoctoral researcher at the Korea Research Institute of Bioscience and Biotechnology. Dr. Kim was the recipient of the Postdoctoral Research Fellowship, funded by the Korea Science and Engineering Foundation. Since joining NCTR in 2000, he has been involved in projects in environmental biotechnology, food safety, intestinal microbiome and host interactions, and detection of microbial contaminants in FDA-regulated products. He was recognized with the “NCTR Outstanding Service Award” in 2008.

Research Interests

Dr. Kim’s research initially focused on the bacterial biodegradation of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) with special emphasis on high-molecular-weight PAHs with four or more fused aromatic benzene rings. PAHs are one of the largest classes of compounds that consist of more than 200 chemicals with two or more benzene rings. These compounds have been identified to have carcinogenic, genotoxic, and mutagenic effects on experimental animals and have been implicated in different types of human cancers — mainly breast, lung, and colon cancers. Human exposure to carcinogenic PAH can occur by food intake, cigarette smoke, smoke from the burning of fossil fuels, and by occupational exposure. While the PAH carcinogenicity has long been suspected, studies elucidating biodegradation pathway have been lacking. Dr. Kim’s research has shown some of the mechanisms in the metabolism of PAHs in microorganisms using metabolic, genomic, and proteomic approaches. In particular, he and his team for the first time elucidated complete degradation pathways of low-molecular-weight PAH, pyrene and fluoranthene. Understanding of PAH metabolism and its degradative pathway is important in that it provides the FDA with fundamental information on the fate of carcinogenic PAHs in the environment and humans.
Dr. Kim is currently in collaboration with FDA’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (CFSAN), investigating whether tattoo and permanent makeup (PMU) inks are safe in terms of microbial contamination. Since the initial CFSAN investigation identified nontuberculous mycobacteria in tattoo ink samples collected from tattoo parlors during several outbreaks of tattoo-associated skin infections in 2011-2012, the FDA has had continuous concerns about the microbiological safety of tattoo ink products from a public health standpoint. In the studies that began in 2017, Dr. Kim’s NCTR research team has shown that commercial tattoo and PMU inks sold in the United States are often contaminated with a wide range of microorganisms including pathogenic bacteria. The results demonstrated the importance of monitoring these products marketed in the U.S. in terms of microbial contamination. Based on these results, the collaborative research is being expanded with several different targets, such as whether tattoo inks are contaminated with anaerobic bacteria. In addition, Dr. Kim has interests in assessing microbial contamination of tattoo and PMU inks manufactured in foreign countries, examining the impacts/effectiveness of sterilization and preservatives on microbial contamination, as well as developing molecular-based methods for direct detection of microbial contamination.

Professional Societies/National and International Groups

American Society for Microbiology
2000 – Present

Select Publications

Microbial Contamination of Tattoo and Permanent Makeup Inks Marketed in the US: A Follow-Up Study.
Nho S., Kim M., Kweon O., Kim S., Moon M., Oeruz G., Huang M.-C., Dewan K., Sadrieh N., and Cerniglia C.
Lett Appl Microbiol. 2020, 71(4):351-358. doi:10.1111/lam.13353.

Microbiological Survey of Commercial Tattoo and Permanent Makeup Inks Available in the United States.
Nho S., Kim S., Kweon O., Howard P., Moon M., Sadrieh N., and Cerniglia C.
J Appl Microbiol. 2018, 124(5):1294-1302. doi: 10.1111/jam.13713.

Dynamic Response of Mycobacterium vanbaalenii PYR-1 to BP Deepwater Horizon Crude Oil.
Kim S., Kweon O., Sutherland J., Kim H., Jones R., Burback B., Graves S., Psurny E., and Cerniglia C.
Appl Environ Microbiol. 2015, 81(13):4263-76.

Comparative Functional Pan-Genome Analyses to Build Connections Between Genomic Dynamics and Phenotypic Evolution in Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbon Metabolism in the Genus Mycobacterium.
Kweon O., Kim S., Blom J., Kim S., Kim B., Baek D., Park S., Sutherland J., and Cerniglia C.
BMC Evol Biol. 2015, 15:21.

Pleiotropic and Epistatic Behavior of a Ring-Hydroxylating Oxygenase System in the Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbon Metabolic Network from Mycobacterium vanbaalenii PYR-1.
Kweon O., Kim S., Kim D., Kim J., Kim H., Ahn Y., Sutherland J., and Cerniglia C.
J Bacteriol. 2014, 196(19):3503-3515.

Functional Robustness of a Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbon Metabolic Network Examined in a nidA Aromatic Ring-Hydroxylating Oxygenase Mutant of Mycobacterium vanbaalenii PYR-1.
Kim S., Song J., Kweon O., Holland R., Kim D., Kim J., Yu L., and Cerniglia C.
Appl Environ Microbiol. 2012, 78(10):3715-3723.

Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbon Metabolic Network in Mycobacterium vanbaalenii  PYR-1.
Kweon O., Kim S., Holland R., Chen H., Kim D., Gao Y., Yu L., Baek S., Baek D., Ahn H., and Cerniglia C.
J Bacteriol. 2011, 193(17):4326-4337.

Substrate Specificity and Structural Characteristics of the Novel Rieske Nonheme Iron Aromatic Ring-Hydroxylating Oxygenases NidAB and NidA3B3 from Mycobacterium vanbaalenii PYR-1.
Kweon O., Kim S., Freeman J., Song J., Baek S., and Cerniglia C.
MBio. 2010, 1(2):e00135-10.

Proteomic Applications to Elucidate Bacterial Aromatic Hydrocarbon Metabolic Pathways.
Kim S., Kweon O., and Cerniglia C.
Curr Opin Microbiol. 2009, 12(3):301-309.

A Polyomic Approach to Elucidate the Fluoranthene-Degradative Pathway in Mycobacterium vanbaalenii PYR-1.
Kweon O., Kim S., Jones R., Freeman J., Adjei M., Edmondson R., and Cerniglia C.
J Bacteriol. 2007, 189(13):4635-4647.

Complete and Integrated Pyrene Degradation Pathway in Mycobacterium vanbaalenii PYR-1 Based on Systems Biology.
Kim S., Kweon O., Jones R., Freeman J., Edmondson R., and Cerniglia C.
J Bacteriol. 2007, 189(2):464-472.

Molecular Cloning and Expression of Genes Encoding a Novel Dioxygenase Involved in Low- and High-Molecular-Weight Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbon Degradation in Mycobacterium vanbaalenii PYR-1.
Kim S., Kweon O., Freeman J., Jones R., Adjei M., Jhoo J., Edmondson R., and Cerniglia C.
Appl Environ Microbiol. 2006, 72(2):1045-1054.

Lab Members

Contact information for all lab members:
(870) 543-7121

Sandeep Kondakala, Ph.D.
Postdoctoral Fellow

Ohgew Kweon, Ph.D.
Staff Fellow

Sunghyun Yoon, Ph.D.
Postdoctoral Fellow

Contact Information
Seong-Jae Kim
(870) 543-7121
Technology & Discipline
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