Kyungyoon Yoo

B.A., 2020, Vassar College, NY
Advisor: Bettina Fries


Research Interests

As an MD/PhD candidate, I am broadly interested in the regulation of cellular processes at a molecular level that ultimately leads to clinical outcomes. In the past, have made meaningful contributions to understanding how Bordetella pertussis, the causative agent of whooping cough, regulates its genes to survive in different environments, enabling its persistence and transmission from one host to another. I have also dissected the role of eIF3 (eukaryotic Initiation Factor 3), a protein that has been implicated in the development and progression of various human cancers, in mediating the initiation step of protein synthesis.

During my graduate school training, I will investigate questions related to fungal pathogenesis. Specifically, my dissertation research will contribute to our current understanding of how Cryptococcus neoformans, the most common cause of fungal meningitis, regulates its cellular and metabolic processes to promote antifungal resistance during chronic infection.


Yoo, K., Merzbacher, C., Yu, S.H., Kim, D.D., Lee, J., Förstner, K.U., Chen, Q., Stibitz, S., Knipling, L.G., and Hinton, D.M. (2021). Identification of BvgA-dependent and BvgA-independent small RNAs (sRNAs) in Bordetella pertussis using the prokaryotic sRNA prediction toolkit ANNOgesic. Microbiology Spectrum 9(2):e0004421.


Yoo, K., and Aitken, C.E. (2019). Interrogating the Mechanism of Eukaryotic Initiation Factor 3 (eIF3) through Molecular Dissection. American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Annual Meeting, San Diego, CA. March 2019.

Yoo, K., Nguyen, J., Tai, C.H., Kim, D.D., Nasim, R., Chen, Q., Stibitz, S., Hinton, D.M., and Moon, K. (2018).  Metabolic Regulation by Hfq-binding sRNA in Human Pathogen B. pertussis. National Institutes of Health Summer Poster Day, Bethesda, MD. August 2018

Yoo, K., Wagh, A., Baniulyte, G., and Wade, J.T. (2018). Possible cis and trans-acting Roles of a Small Protein in Regulation of Spermidine Transport in E. coli. New England Science Symposium at Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA. April 2018


2020   Phi Beta Kappa Honor Society
2020   Sigma Xi Honor Society
2020   Olive M. Lammert Prize for Excellence in Biochemistry, Vassar College
2018   First Place Poster Award, Ruth and William Silen, M.D. Awards in Microbiology, Immunology,  Genetics, Molecular Biology Category; Harvard Medical School