Woo-Yang Kim, PhD

Woo Yang KimWoo-Yang Kim, PhD
Developmental Neuroscience Department
Munroe-Meyer Institute
985960 Nebraska Medical Center
Omaha, NE 68198-5960

Phone: (402) 559-1337 or (402) 559-1227 (Lab)
E-mail: wooyang.kim@unmc.edu

Professional Summary:

Dr. Kim is an Assistant professor of Developmental Neuroscience in the Munroe-Meyer Institute for Genetics and Rehabilitation at the University of Nebraska Medical Center. He received his postdoctoral training studying neural development with Dr. William Snider at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

The goal of Dr. Kim's research is to understand how the developing brain forms complex yet specific neural circuits. Abnormal neural circuit formation is associated with many neurodevelopmental and psychiatric diseases including autism spectrum disorders, mental retardation, and schizophrenia. Thus identifying molecules and signaling mechanisms of neural circuits may lead to a better understanding of the pathogenic mechanisms underlying neurodevelopmental disorders affecting cognition and behavior.

Dr. Kim is interested in glycogen synthase kinase-3 (GSK-3) signaling. Formation of neural circuits depends on the generation, positioning, and differentiation of many types of neurons. Recent evidence suggests that GSK-3 and its upstream/downstream regulators have key roles in neural development, including neural stem cell renewal, neurogenesis and neuronal differentiation. Furthermore, changes in GSK-3 activity are associated with neurodevelopmental and psychiatric diseases. GSK-3 signaling involves genes associated with these disorders, such as DISC1, Neuregulin 1, PTEN, serotonin, TSC1/2, and APC. Thus determination of the roles for GSK-3 in neural stem cell regulation and neuronal differentiation could translate into the creation of potential therapeutic benefits for neurological diseases. To delineate mechanisms of brain development, we use a combination of approaches including mouse genetics, in-utero embryonic manipulation, ex vivo preparations, in-vitro cellular/molecular techniques and high resolution laser scanning microscopy.


PhD, Neuroscience, State University of New York at Buffalo, Buffalo, NY, 2004
MS, Molecular Biology, Korea University, Seoul, Korea, 1998
BS, Biology, Korea University, Seoul, Korea, 1996

Research Interests and Projects:

  • Neural stem cells/progenitors, neurogenesis
  • Neuronal differentiation
  • Neuronal migration
  • Neurodevelopmental disorders
  • Autism spectrum disorders, mental retardation, Schizophrenia

Selected Publications: (within the last 5 years)

  • Soutar, M.P., Kim, W.Y., Williamson, R., Peggie, M., James Hastie, C., McLauchlan, H., Snider, W.D., Gordon-Weeks, P.R., Sutherland, C. (2010) Evidence that Glycogen Synthase Kinase-3 isoforms have distinct substrate preference in the brain. Journal of Neurochemistry. In Press.
  • Kim, W.Y., Wang, X., Wu, Y., Doble, B., Patel, S., Woodgett, J., Snider, W. (2009). GSK-3 is a master regulator of neural progenitor homeostasis in mammals. Nature Neuroscience. 12:1390-1397.
  • Kim, W.Y.,Gonsiorek, E., Barnhart, C., Davare, M., Engebose, A., Lauridsen, H., Bruun, D., Lesiak, A., Wayman, G., Bucelli, R., Higgins, D., Lein, P. (2009) Statins decrease dendritic arborization in rat sympathetic neurons by blocking RhoA activation. Journal of Neurochemistry. 108:1057-1071.
  • Yokota, Y., Kim, W.Y.,Chen, Y., Wang, X., Komuro, Y., Snider, W., Anton E.S. (2009). The Adenomatous Polyposis Coli (APC) Protein is an Essential Regulator of Radial Glial Polarity and Construction of the Cerebral Cortex. Neuron. 61:42-56.

Professional Affiliations:

  • Sigma Xi, The Scientific Research Society
  • Society for Neuroscience