Kim, Han


Kyoung-Han Kim, PhD, is a scientist and director of the Functional Genetics and Metabolism Laboratory at the University of Ottawa Heart Institute. He is also an assistant professor in the Department of Cellular and Molecular Medicine at the University of Ottawa.


Dr. Kim obtained his BSc from the Department of Life Science at Sogang University in the Republic of Korea, and his PhD from the Department of Physiology, University of Toronto with Dr. Peter H. Backx. He pursued a postdoctoral fellowship at the Hospital for Sick Children under the direction of Dr. Chi-chung Hui. 

His previous work focused on the role of the Iroquois transcription factor (Irx) family in the cardiovascular system and energy metabolism. He demonstrated the roles of Irx3 and Irx5 in the developing and adult heart, showing that Irx3 establishes rapid electrical propagation in the ventricular conduction system, while Irx5 regulates cardiac contractility. Moreover, he demonstrated that these two novel genetic factors, Irx3 and Irx5, are functional targets of the non-coding FTO variants associated with obesity. In 2017, he established his research laboratory at the University of Ottawa Heart Institute.

Dr. Kim has served as a reviewer for the CIHR Institute Community Support (ICS) Program and the Research Grants Council (RGC) as well as Research Assessment Exercise (RAE) of Hong Kong, China.

He has received various awards, including the Keystone Symposia Future of Science Fund scholarship (2016) and the prestigious Andrew Sass-Kortsak Award from the Hospital for Sick Children (2014), which is given to one outstanding research fellow each year.

Dr. Kim’s research program is funded by the Heart and Stroke Foundation, the Canada Foundation for Innovation, the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, and the J. P. Bickell Foundation for Medical Research.

Research & Clinical Interests 

Dr. Kim’s research program focuses on genetic and metabolic regulation of heart development, function and disease, with an emphasis on obesity, diabetes and heart failure. He is interested in the molecular function and mechanism of Irx transcription factors in the heart, which are not only implicated in organ development, but also in energy homeostasis regulation. The team is also investigating metabolism of the heart and its communications with other core metabolic tissues/organs (e.g., adipose tissue and liver). Using genetically engineered mice as principal models, the research program integrates physiology with molecular and systems biology approaches to address fundamental questions about cardiac metabolism in heart function and diseases.


See current publications list at PubMed

Selected publications:

  • Kim JE, Fei L, Yin WC, Coquenlorge S, Rao-Bhatia A, Zhang X, Shi SSW, Lee JH, Hahn NA, Rizvi W, Kim KH, Sung HK, Hui CC, Guo G, Kim TH. (2020) Single cell and genetic analyses reveal conserved populations and signaling mechanisms of gastrointestinal stromal niches. Nature Communications. Jan 17;11(1):334.
  • Kim RY, Lee JH, Oh Y, Sung HK, Kim KH. (2019) Assessment of the Metabolic Effects of Isocaloric 2:1 Intermittent Fasting in Mice. J Vis Exp. 2019 Nov 27;(153). doi: 10.3791/60174.
  • Kim YH, Lee JH, Yeung JL, Das E, Kim RY, Jiang Y, Moon JH, Jeong H, Thakkar N, Son JE, Trzaskalski N, Hui CC, Doh KO, Mulvihill EE, Kim JR, Kim KH#, Sung HK#. (2019) Thermogenesis-independent metabolic benefits conferred by isocaloric intermittent fasting in ob/ob mice. Scientific Reports. 21;9(1):2479 (#, co-corresponding authors)
  • Kim KH*, Kim YH*, Moon JH, Son JE, Kim S, Choe MS, Zhong J, Lee JH, Fu K, Lenglin F, Park JG, Bilan PJ, Klip A, Nagy A, JR Kim, Hussein SM, Doh KO, Hui CC, Sung HK. (2017) Intermittent fasting Promotes Metabolic Improvement and Adipose Thermogenesis via VEGF-mediated Alternative Activation of Adipose Macrophage. Cell Research. 27(11):1309-1326 (*, co-first authors)
  • Kim KH*, Rosen A*, Hussain SM, Puviindran V, Korogyi AS, Chiarello C, Nagy A, Hui CC, Backx PH. (2016) Irx3 is required for Postnatal Development of the Mouse Ventricular Conduction System. Scientific Reports. 6, 19197; doi: 10.1038/srep19197. (*, co-first authors)
  • Claussnitzer M, Dankel SN*, Kim KH*, Quon G, Meuleman W, Haugen C, Glunk V, Sousa IS, Beaudry JL, Puviindran V, Abdennur NA, Liu J, Svensson PA, Hsu YH, Drucker DJ, Mellgren G, Hui CC, Hauner H, Kellis M (2015) Causal FTO Obesity Variant Circuitry and Adipocyte Browning in Humans (2015) N Eng J Med. 373(10):895-907 (*, equal contribution)
  • Smemo S*, Tena JJ*, Kim KH*, Gamazon ER, Sakabe NJ, Gómez-Marín C, Aneas I, Credidio FL, Sobreira DR, Wasserman NF, Lee JH, Puviindran V, Tam D, Shen M, Son JE, Vakili NA, Sung HK, Naranjo S, Acemel RD, Manzanares M, Nagy A, Cox NJ, Hui CC, Gomez-Skarmeta JL, Nobrega MA (2014) Obesity-associated variants within FTO form long-range functional connections with IRX3. Nature. 507(7492):371-5. (*, co-first authors)
  • Kim KH, Rosen A, Bruneau BG, Hui CC, Backx PH (2011) Iroquois Transcription Factors in Heart Development and Function. Circulation Research 110, 1513-1524
  • Zhang SS*, Kim KH*, Rosen A*, Smyth JW*, Sakuma R*, Delgado-Olguín P, Davis M, Chi NC, Puviindran V, Gaborit N, Sukonnik T, Wylie JN, Brand-Arzamendi K, Farman GP, Kim J, Rose RA, Marsden PA, Zhu Y, Zhou YQ, Miquerol L, Henkelman RM, Stainier DY, Shaw RM, Hui CC, Bruneau BG, Backx PH (2011) Iroquois homeobox gene 3 establishes fast conduction in the cardiac His-Purkinje network. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 108, 13576-81.

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