Minkyu Kim

Assistant Professor
Tenured/Tenure-Track Faculty
External Website: 

Short Bio

Minkyu Kim is an assistant professor in the departments of materials science and engineering and biomedical engineering at the University of Arizona. He earned his BS in mechanical engineering from Kyung Hee University in Korea in 2004. He received a MS in biomedical engineering in 2006 and a PhD in mechanical engineering and materials science in 2011, both at Duke University, where he primarily worked on biopolymer mechanics at single-molecule level. He was a postdoctoral scholars in the Bioinspired and Biofunctional Polymers group at MIT from 2012 to 2016, where he worked on the development of biopolymeric materials for defense applications.  

The goal of the Kim research group is to develop biopolymer-based functional materials that mimic or exceed the functionality of natural materials with targeted applications in health care and for national defense. Based on his diverse research experiences in the areas of biopolymer nanomechanics, macromolecular self-assembly, biosynthesis, biomolecular engineering and soft materials, his group is currently developing (a) mechanically responsive soft materials that mimic reversible deformability of red blood cell and that can be utilized as targeted drug delivery vehicles for the treatment of narrowed vessel diseases and (b) biosynthetic filters that mimic selectively filtering functions of the nuclear membrane for pharmaceutical, food safety and defense applications. Characterization and control of biopolymer sequences, topologies, and their self-assembly processes will enable his group to establish structure-property relationships of nanostructured polymeric materials at multiple length scales for optimal mechanical, chemical and biological performance. The research platform addressed in the Kim research group will seminally contribute to the areas of polymer science, soft materials and biotechnology, and drive progress toward next-generation polymeric materials with eventual product transfer into industry for advanced national defense and health care.


  • BS, Mechanical Engineering, Kyung Hee University (Korea), 2004
  • MS, Biomedical Engineering, Duke University, 2006
  • PhD, Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science, Duke University, 2011

Research Interests

  • Polymer science
  • Soft materials
  • Biotechnology
  • Biomolecular engineering

Classes Taught

  • MSE/BME 461/561: Synthetic and Biological Materials

Selected Publications

  • Kim, M., Chen, W. G., Kang, J. W., Glassman, M. J., Ribbeck, K., & Olsen, B. D. (2015). Artificially Engineered Protein Hydrogels Adapted from the Nucleoporin Nsp1 for Selective Biomolecular Transport. Advanced Materials, 27(28), 4207-12. 
  • Lam, C. N.*, Kim, M.*, Thomas, C. S., Chang, D., Sanoja, G. E., Okwara, C. U., & Olsen, B. D. (2014). The nature of protein interactions governing globular protein-polymer block copolymer self-assembly. Biomacromolecules, 15(4), 1248-58. *co-first authors 
  • Kim, M., Wang, C., Benedetti, F., & Marszalek, P. E. (2012). A nanoscale force probe for gauging intermolecular interactions. Angewandte Chemie, 51(8), 1903-6. 
  • Kim, M., Wang, C., Benedetti, F., Rabbi, M., Bennett, V., & Marszalek, P. E. (2011). Nanomechanics of Streptavidin Hubs for Molecular Materials. Advanced Materials, 23(47), 5684-5688. 
  • Kim, M., Abdi, K., Lee, G., Rabbi, M., Lee, W., Yang, M., Schofield, C. J., Bennett, V., & Marszalek, P. E. (2010). Fast and forceful refolding of stretched alpha-helical solenoid proteins. Biophysical Journal, 98(12), 3086-92.

University of Arizona College of Engineering
Department of Biomedical Engineering 1127 E James E. Rogers Way P.O. Box 210020 Tucson, AZ 85721-0020