Minkyu Kim

Associate Professor

Assistant Professor, BIO5 Institute

Assistant Professor, Biomedical Engineering

Member of the Graduate Faculty

Dr. Kim is an associate professor in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering and the Department of Biomedical Engineering at the University of Arizona from Fall 2016. He earned his B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Kyung Hee University in February 2004. During his undergraduate study, he was recognized with a silver award (2nd prize) at the 14th National Undergraduate Student Competition in Transport Phenomena held by the Korean Institute of Chemical Engineers and graduated with a Dean’s award for his academic achievements. Dr. Kim moved to the U.S. for his graduate work, where he earned an M.S. in Biomedical Engineering in December 2006 and a Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science in May 2011 at Duke University.  He was a recipient of fellowships from the Korea Science and Engineering Foundation, Pratt School of Engineering at Duke University and Medtronic Foundation.  Under the guidance of Prof. Marszalek, his research focused on biopolymer (proteins, DNA) design, synthesis, mechanics and self-assembly for nanostructured molecular materials.  He discovered a unified structure-mechanical property relationship that elucidates the spring-like behavior found in most α-helical spiral-shaped proteins at the nanoscale level.  He also developed a potential fabrication method to hierarchically self-assemble these mechanical proteins into supramolecular structures.  His research was recognized with several awards from Duke University, including the Student Research Achievement Award at the Biophysical Society annual meeting in 2010. After finishing his doctoral studies, Dr. Kim started his postdoctoral research with Prof. Olsen at MIT.  His research focused on the development of biopolymer-based functional materials for defense applications.  He developed a formulation where self-associated polymeric nanomaterials effectively detoxify chemical warfare nerve agents for environmental decontamination.  He also designed the first synthetic selective filtering biopolymer hydrogel inspired by the nuclear membrane for the development of novel selective filtering materials to detect and remove biological warfare agents, such as SEB, anthrax and botulinum.  Dr. Kim’s research interests are broadly clustered in the areas of bioinspired/biomimetic materials, biomolecular engineering, soft condensed matter physics and nanoscale biophysics.  He is currently interested in how bioinspired design and biosynthesis can be used for the preparation of novel functional materials, how the nanomechanics of folded biopolymers and artificially engineered hyperbranched biopolymer structures can be translated into the mechanics of macromolecular materials that provide new insight into polymer physics, and how protein sequences can control parameters that regulate the functional properties of polymeric materials. The developed materials will target applications in biotechnology for improving healthcare and national defense. 

Offering Research Opportunities?


Prerequisite Courses


Majors Considered

Materials Science and Engineering Biomedical Engineering Chemical Engineering Environmental Science and Engineering Biosystems Engineering Chemistry

Types of Opportunities

Description of Opportunity

No description given

Start Date

May 2023

Primary Department

Affiliated Departments

Research Location