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August 2011

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Research fellow joins faculty at the University of South Carolina

By Archana Dhasarathy
August 2011

Minsub  Shim, Ph.D.

Shim will be starting his position this fall at the University of South Carolina's 206-year-old campus in Columbia. (Photo courtesy of Steve McCaw)

Thomas  Eling, Ph.D.

Eling said he was confident that Shim would be highly successful and he wished him only the best. (Photo courtesy of Steve McCaw)

Research Fellow Minsub Shim, Ph.D., left NIEHS this summer to assume an assistant professorship in the Department of Biological Sciences at the University of South Carolina. He spent the last eight years in the Eicosanoid Biochemistry Group of the Laboratory of Molecular Carcinogenesis (LMC) with NIEHS Principal Investigator Thomas Eling, Ph.D.

A diverse scientific career

A native of South Korea, Shim started his scientific career working on purification and characterization of the DNA topoisomerase I enzyme in the laboratory of Hyeon-Sook Koo, Ph.D., in the Department of Biochemistry at Yonsei University in Seoul, Korea.

Shim came to the United States in 1998 to pursue his Ph.D. in the laboratory of Robert Smart, Ph.D., in the Department of Environmental and Molecular Toxicology at North Carolina State University (NCSU). His research focused on the function and regulation of basic-leucine zipper (bZIP) transcription factors in keratinocyte growth and differentiation.

After he successfully defended his dissertation, Shim moved to the NIEHS to start work on the function and regulation of NSAIDs activated gene-1 (NAG-1) in prostate cancer. More recently, he initiated a project on cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) signaling in cancer and embryonic development.

Shim has authored many publications during his graduate and postdoctoral career. In 2008, he applied for and was awarded the prestigious NIH Pathway to Independence Award (K99/R00) from NIEHS.

Networking and mentoring play important roles in career success

According to Shim, his helpful colleagues and co-workers at NIEHS played a key role in his success. “My time at NIEHS was the happiest in my life,” he said. “I was really fortunate to work with people who helped me along the way. I have learned that the most important thing in career success is not just hard work and luck, but to maintain a good relationship with the people around you,” he added.

Shim's co-workers applauded both his perseverance and his willingness to help them. “Minsub is our lab's go-to person for both technical questions and scientific discussion,” said Justin Kosak, a biologist in the Eling laboratory. Kosak attributes Shim's success to his passion for science. “He knows what he wants and is willing to work extremely hard to get it. Yet, he is also extremely humble and self-critical,” he added. Xingya Wang, Ph.D., a visiting fellow in the Eling laboratory, agreed. “Minsub is very warm hearted, and he is always willing to help even when he is very busy with his own experiments,” she said.

Shim acknowledged his mentor, Eling, for his help and encouragement during his postdoctoral tenure at NIEHS. Eling, in turn, had nothing but praise for his mentee. “I have been a mentor for many postdoctoral trainees over the years, and I think Minsub Shim is one the most dedicated and persistent scientists I have ever trained,” said Eling. “He is also one of the hardest working, with excellent molecular biology and critical thinking skills,” he added.

Shim also credited his mentor at NCSU, Smart, and Principal Investigator, head of the LMC Eukaryotic Transcriptional Regulation Group, for his career success. “Drs. Smart, Wade, and Eling helped me not only scientifically, and with my career development, but also emotionally through the rough stages in my career. I am highly indebted to them,” Shim said.

He also credits Microarray Group Technical Laboratory Manager Kevin Gerrish, Ph.D., and Julie Foley, group leader, Special Techniques Group, for their unstinting help and advice. “They really encouraged me and helped me a lot, especially when I was discouraged by my experimental failures,” Shim added.

Shim's colleagues at NIEHS wished him all the best in this important next step in his career.

(Archana Dhasarathy, Ph.D., is a postdoctoral fellow in the Eukaryotic Transcriptional Regulation Group in the NIEHS Laboratory of Molecular Carcinogenesis.)

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