Functional Genetics and Metabolism Laboratory

Dr. Kim’s research program focuses on genetic and metabolic regulation of heart development, function and disease, with emphasis on obesity, diabetes and heart failure.

First, we are interested in the molecular function and mechanism of Iroquois (Irx) transcription factors in the heart, which are not only implicated in organ development, but also in energy homeostasis regulation.

Second, we are 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 our principal models, we integrate physiology with molecular and systems biology approaches to address the fundamental questions in heart function and diseases.

The laboratory is funded by the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada, the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, the J. P. Bickell Foundation, and the Canada Foundation for Innovation.

  1. To understand the function and molecular mechanism of Irx3 in the ventricular conduction system programming in the developing and diseased heart
  2. To investigate transcriptional and non-transcriptional functions of Irx5 in the diseased heart
  3. To understand how the heart maintains its functions during nutritional and metabolic challenges

See current publications list at PubMed.

Selected publications:

  1. 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)
  2. 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 SystemScientific Reports. 6, 19197; doi: 10.1038/srep19197. (*, co-first authors)
  3. 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)
  4. 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 IRX3Nature. 507(7492):371-5. (*, co-first authors)
  5. Kim KH, Rosen A, Bruneau BG, Hui CC, Backx PH (2011) Iroquois Transcription Factors in Heart Development and Function. Circulation Research 110, 1513-1524
  6. 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 networkProc Natl Acad Sci USA 108, 13576-81.

Current Team members:

  • Riyoun Kim, MSc, PhD, Postdoctoral Fellow
  • Yena Oh, MSc, PhD Candidate
  • Shaza Asif, Undergraduate Student
  • Saif Dababneh, Undergraduate Student


Positions Available 

To enquire about available positions, please submit your CV with a cover letter detailing what you can bring to the team.


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