Professional and Biographical Information


Ph.D., University of Texas, Houston
B.A., Haverford College

Professional Training and Experience

Research Scientist, Stanford University
Postdoctoral Scholar, California Institute of Technology
Fulbright Fellow, Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry

Research Interests

I have a long-standing passion to understand the molecular basis of autism spectrum disorders (ASD) and other neurodevelopmental disorders from working with children in a local psychiatric hospital after college. I believe understanding how central signaling proteins are regulated to control synaptic function and why they are impaired in diseases is key for the creation of successful pharmacotherapies. In my lab, we are studying the role of zinc as a dynamic regulator for synaptic signaling and function using an interdisciplinary approach of molecular, cellular, biochemical, and optical methods. Our research seeks to understand the basic mechanisms of zinc signaling in neurons and bridge this understanding for potential translational applications for autism and neurodegeneration. To tackle these questions, we develop novel tools to gain access to the necessary molecular, spatial and temporal domains to dissect these pathways.

Selected Publications

  • Ha, H.T.T., Leal-Ortiz, S.A., Lawani, K., Kiyonaka, S., Hamachi, I., Mysore, S.P., Montgomery, J.M., Garner, C.C., Huguenard, J.R., and Kim, S.A. (2018). Shank mediates a zinc-dependent subunit switch of AMPARs in developing synapses. Frontiers Mol. Neurosci. 11. [Reported by EurekAlert/ AAAS, Newsweek, MSN]
  • Kim, S.A, Tai, C.-Y., Mok, L.-P., Mosser, E.A., and Schuman, E.M. (2011). Calcium-dependent dynamics of cadherin interactions at cell-cell junctions. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci.,108: 9857-9862.
  • Kim, S.A., Sanabria, H., Digman, M.A., Gratton, E., Schwille, P., Zipfel, W.R., and Waxham, M.N. (2010). Quantifying translational diffusion in neurons: comparison between current optical techniques. J. Neurosci. 30: 16409-16.
  • Kim, S.A., Heinze, K.G., and Schwille, P. (2007). Fluorescence correlation spectroscopy in living cells. Nature Meth. 4: 963-973.
  • Kim, S.A., Heinze, K.G., Waxham, M.N., and Schwille, P. (2004). Intracellular calmodulin availability accessed with two-photon cross-correlation. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. 101: 105-110.