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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) 543-7391

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 About  |  Publications  |  Lab Members


Dr. Seong-Jae (Peter) Kim is currently a research microbiologist staff fellow at NCTR. Dr. Kim graduated from Chungbuk National University, Republic of Korea. He received his master’s degree in microbiology from Chungbuk National University in 1994 and later completed his Ph.D. in microbiology in 1999. 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, and intestinal microbiome and host interactions. He was recognized with the “NCTR Outstanding Service Award” in 2008.

Research Interests

Dr. Kim’s research focuses 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. They usually occur naturally, but can be formed by incomplete combustion or pyrolysis of organic chemicals, including coal, oil, gas, wood, garbage, and tobacco. 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. It is known that PAHs and their metabolites bind to DNA and can induce mutation. It has also been reported that PAHs may act as ligands to the human aryl hydrocarbon receptor, which plays a central role in the toxic response to specific aromatic hydrocarbons in the intestine enterocytes and liver hepatocytes. 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 has been conducting researches on the metabolism of PAHs in microorganisms using metabolic, genomic, and proteomic approaches. 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 environments and humans. Investigation of microbial biotransformation not only reveals the pathways by which some of these compounds are transformed to harmful metabolites, but also increases our understanding of conversion of these compounds by parallel pathways performed by mammalian enzymes which impact human health.

Dr. Kim is currently in collaboration with FDA’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (CFSAN), surveying whether tattoo and permanent-makeup inks are contaminated with microorganisms, including pathogenic mycobacteria. Since the initial CFSAN investigation identified nontuberculous mycobacteria from tattoo ink samples collected from tattoo parlors, it was suggested that unsanitary tattoo-ink manufacturing processes or nonsterile tattoo-ink dilution water were the possible causes of the recent tattoo-associated outbreaks. Therefore, as an extension of the study, the Division of Microbiology — in collaboration with CFSAN — has started a research project to evaluate tattoo inks available from manufacturers and suppliers for microbial contaminants, including mycobacteria.

Professional Societies/National and International Groups

American Society for Microbiology
2000 – Present


Select Publications

Publication titles are linked to text abstracts on PubMed.

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 May, 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 Jul, 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 Feb 14, 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 Oct, 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 May, 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 Sep, 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 Jun 15, 1(2):e00135-10.

Proteomic Applications to Elucidate Bacterial Aromatic Hydrocarbon Metabolic Pathways.
Kim S., Kweon O. and Cerniglia C.
Curr Opin Microbiol. 2009 Jun, 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 Jul, 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 Jan, 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 Feb, 72(2):1045-1054.


Lab Members

Contact information for all lab members:
(870) 543-7391

Ohgew Kweon, Ph.D.
Staff Fellow

Seongwon Nho, Ph.D.
Postdoctoral Fellow


Contact Information
Seong-Jae Kim
(870) 543-7391
Technology & Discipline
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