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  • Assistant Professor, The Center for Autoimmune, Musculoskeletal and Hematopoietic Diseases, Feinstein Institutes for Medical Research
  • Assistant Professor, Department of Molecular Medicine, Donald and Barbara Zucker School of Medicine at Hofstra/Northwell

About the investigator

Dr. Sun Jung Kim received her doctoral degree in Immunology at Weill Graduate School of Biomedical Science of Cornell University, under the supervision of Drs. Keith Elkon and Xiaojing Ma. During this time with Dr. Elkon at Hospital Special Surgery, the fields of autoimmune disease and Lupus were first introduced to her. Dr. Kim was fascinated by the fact of how the immune system was balanced by cytokines produced by innate immune cells, especially macrophage and dendritic cells. Her knowledge about cytokine regulation was further extended by studying with Dr. Ma during her thesis study. She and Dr. Ma identified a novel transcription factor which is directly regulated by phagocytosis of apoptotic cells and inhibits pro-inflammatory cytokine, IL-12 p35 subunit in macrophage.

After joining Dr. Betty Diamond’s laboratory as a postdoctoral fellow at Columbia University, Dr. Kim studied disease-related research and focused on how dendritic cells contribute immune homeostasis and development of lupus in mouse models. At the Feinstein Institutes for Medical Research, she continued to work with Dr. Diamond along with a new collaborator, Dr. Peter K. Gregersen, studying human lupus risk SNP in dendritic cells and follicular helper T cells.

Research focus

The focus of Dr. Kim’s laboratory research is to identify the regulatory mechanism of inflammatory function of dendritic cells under both homeostatic and inflammatory conditions. To understand the molecular mechanisms underlying inhibition of development of autoimmune diseases, particularly in systemic lupus and inflammatory bowel diseases, we are using animal model of SLE which has a dendritic specific deletion of transcription factor, Blimp-1.

Dr. Kim recently expanded her research to the area of PRDM1 (human gene encoding Blimp-1) susceptibility loci to lupus and inflammatory bowel disease, which will further enhance the understanding of the mechanism in human diseases. Specific questions are:

  • Function of Blimp-1 in the regulation of dendritic cell homeostasis
  • Sex hormone-mediated regulation of dendritic cell function
  • Contribution of microRNA in dendritic cell homeostasis in the intestine
  • B cell mediated dendritic cell homeostasis in the intestine
  • Regulatory function of potassium channel during TLR activation in plasmacytoid DCs

Lab members

Su-hwa Jang
Post Doctoral Fellow
Research: The function of SLE risk SNP in dendritic cells.


The Feinstein Institutes for Medical Research, Manhasset, NY
Degree: Postdoctoral fellow

Columbia University
Degree: Postdoctoral fellow

Joan and Sanford I. Weill Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences of Cornell University
Degree: PhD
Field of study: Immunology

Seoul Women’s University; Seoul, Korea
Degree: MS

Seoul Women’s University; Seoul, Korea 
Degree: BS

Honors & awards

  • 2013 Susan Karches Educational Award, Advancing Women in Science and Medicine, The Feinstein Institutes for Medical Research, NY
  • 2009 Lawrence Scott Fellowship Award, The Feinstein Institution for Medical Research, NY
  • 2005-2008 SLE fellowship from Lupus foundation, New York, NY
  • 2004-2005 Stephen Morse fellowship from Columbia University, NY
  • 2001-2002 Pre-doctoral Fellowship from Cancer Research Institute, NY
  • 1991-1994 Scholarship of Excellence, Seoul Women’s University


  1. Sun Jung Kim, Jordan Goldstein, Kimberly Dorso, Miriam Merad, Lloyd Mayer, James Crawford, Peter Gregersen, and Betty Diamond. “Expression of Blimp-1 in Dendritic cells modulates the innate inflammatory response in dextran sodium sulfate-induced colitis.” 2015 in press.
  2. Jolien Suumond, Yong Rui Zou, Sun Jung Kim and Betty Diamond. “Therapeutics to block autoantibody initiation and propagation in systemic lupus erythematosus and rheumatoid arthritis.” Science transl. Med. 2015; 7 (280): ps5
  3. Payal B. Watchmaker, Katharina Lahl, Mike Lee, Dirk Baumjohann3, John Morton, Sun Jung Kim, Ruizhu Zeng, Alexander Dent, K. Mark Ansel, Betty Diamond, Husein Hadeiba and Eugene C. Butcher. “Comparative transcriptional and functional profiling defines conserved programs of intestinal DC differentiation in human and mice.” Nat. Immunol. 2014; 15(1):98-108.
  4. Sun Jung Kim, Peter Gregersen, and Betty Diamond. “Regulation of dendritic cell activation by microRNA Let-7c and BLIMP1.” J. Clin. Invest. 2013; 123 (2): 823-833
  5. Sun Jung Kim, Jordan Goldstein, Yong Rui Zou, and Betty Diamond. “Tolerogenic function of Blimp-1 in dendritic cells.” J Exp Med 2011; 208(11): 2193-2199