From 1998 – 2012, I studied veterinary medicine, specifically infectious diseases and immunology in South Korea. As an immunologist, I focused on host immune responses to various pathogens. In veterinary medicine and public health, I have published 26 peer-reviewed papers from various projects. In order to continue my research with a more detailed approach, I moved to the United States in 2013. As a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Tyler, I studied host immune responses to Mycobacterium tuberculosis (TB). While studying TB, I have published three peer-reviewed papers and five abstracts. I am especially very proud of winning several awards, including the Poster Award in Texas Tuberculosis Research Symposium in 2016, the AAI Trainee Poster Award in 2018 and the AAI Early Career Faculty Travel Grant in 2019. I recently joined the nontuberculous mycobacteria (NTM) research team in 2018. I now use my previous experience in immunology to focus on host immune responses to NTM. Our team plans to develop and establish new therapeutic strategies to improve treatment outcomes of patients infected with NTM.

Education and Training

Chonnam National University, South Korea
DVM - Veterinary Medicine, 2007

Chonnam National University, South Korea
PhD - Veterinary Medicine. 2011

Chonnam National University, South Korea
Postdoctoral - Veterinary Medicine, 2012

Stony Brook University School of Medicine, NY
Postdoctoral - Pathology, 2013

The University of Texas Health Science Center at Tyler
Postdoctoral - Immunology, 2018

Courses Taught

Advanced Biotechniques
Fall 2019

Research Interest

During the past two decades, nontuberculous mycobacteria (NTM) represents a common cause of progressive pulmonary disease in the United States. NTM is widely distributed in the environment, and exposure to these organisms is inevitable. Despite widespread exposure, the disease is unusual in immunocompetent hosts. We still do not know why only some people develop NTM pulmonary diseases. Therefore, the first step of my research is to identify precise immunological predisposing factors of this disease.

Publication Highlights

Zhao R, Ali G, Chang J, Komatsu S, Tsukasaki Y, Nie HG, Chang Y, Zhang M, Liu Y, Jain K, Jung BG, Samten B, Jiang D, Liang J, Ikebe M, Matthay MA, Ji HL. Proliferative regulation of alveolar epithelial type 2 progenitor cells by human Scnn1d gene. Theranostics. 2019; 9: 8155-8170.
Wang Y, Hao Q, Florence JM, Jung BG, Kurdowska AK, Samten B, Idell S, Tang H. Influenza Virus Infection Induces ZBP1 Expression and Necroptosis in Mouse Lungs. Front Cell Infect Microbiol. 2019; 9: 286.