Plants are excellent chemists. Plants catalyze unprecedented chemical transformations via highly specialized enzymes to produce a myriad of natural products that are of medicinal, dietary and biotechnological importance. As a postdoctoral fellow in Ryan Nett’s lab, Colin Kim is interested in studying the evolutionary origins of neofunctionalized enzymes in plant metabolism and new approaches to engineer plant metabolism to harness their immense chemical space.
Colin received his doctorate in biological engineering at MIT/Whitehead Institute, where he investigated the mechanisms of enzyme neofunctionalization in plant specialized metabolism in Jing-Ke Weng’s lab. In particular, he discovered the first Fe(II)- and 2-oxoglutarate-dependent halogenase in plants and also elucidated the proton exchange-based isomerization and lactonization mechanism by a BAHD-family enzyme accelerating coumarin biosynthesis.