Sarah Kim Assistant Professor of Chemistry

Sarah Kim

Science Addition A429
Curriculum Vitae


  • Postdoctoral Associate in Biomedical Engineering, Duke University Nov 2019-Present Advisor: Ashutosh Chilkoti, Ph.D.
  • Ph.D. in Molecular Biophysics, Johns Hopkins University Aug 2013-Oct 2019 Thesis Title: “Discovery and Characterization of pH-Sensitive, Membrane Active Peptides” Advisor: Kalina Hristova, Ph. D.
  • B.A. in Chemistry and Biology (Magna Cum Laude), Cornell University Aug 2009-May 2013 Thesis Title: “A Steady-State Fluorescence Spectrometry Method for Quantifying Partitioning Between Lo and Ld Phases in Multi-Lamellar Vesicles” Advisor: Gerald Feigenson, Ph.D.


Drug delivery, biomaterials, membrane biophysics, synthetic biology, elastin-like polypeptides, membrane active peptides, high-throughput screens, green chemistry.


Bard College, Annandale-on-Hudson, NY
Faculty, Citizen Science Program July 2022-January 2023

Duke University, Durham, NC
Participant, Teaching Writing in the Disciplines Certificate Program Fall 2022-Spring 2023
Fellow, Preparing Future Faculty Program. Fall 2021-Spring 2022

Johns Hopkins University, Maryland, MD
Guest Instructor, Biomaterials Lab. Instructor: K. Hristova Spring 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019
Guest Instructor, Intro to Biophysical Methods, Instructor: Elmer A. Zapata-Mercado Fall 2018
Participant, Preparing Future Faculty Certificate Program 2016-2018
Instructor, Life-A Matter of Fat. Hopkins Engineering Applications & Research Tutorials Fall 2017
Fellow, Collaborative Teaching Fellows Program 2016
Guest Lecturer, Biomolecular Materials I. Instructor: K. Hristova Fall 2015 and 2016
Teaching Assistant, Proteins and Nucleic Acids. Instructors: G. Bowman and S. Woodson Fall 2014

Baltimore Under Ground Science Space (BUGSS)
Instructor, Molecular Biology Bootcamp: Building a Kill-Switch in Bacteria. Nov 2016


  • Matthew Wang, Chilkoti Lab, undergraduate researcher, Duke University Sept 2022-May 2023
  • Jocoa Kerschen, Chilkoti Lab, Amgen Scholar, Duke University Summer 2022
  • Taylor Devlin, Hristova Lab, rotation student, Johns Hopkins University Spring 2019
  • Sijia Li, Hristova Lab, undergraduate researcher, Johns Hopkins University 2014-2017
  • Elmer Zapata Mercado, Hristova Lab, rotation student, Johns Hopkins University Spring 2016
  • Prathik Naidu, Ulmschneider Lab, high school student, Johns Hopkins University Summer 2015
  • Dakota He, Hristova Lab, high school student, Johns Hopkins University 2014-2015

Selected Publications

Wiedman, G., Kim, S.Y., Zapata-Mercado, E., Wimley, W.C. and Hristova, K., 2017. pH-triggered, macromolecule-sized poration of lipid bilayers by synthetically evolved peptides. J. Am. Chem. Soc., 139(2), pp.937-945.

Li, S., Kim, S.Y., Pittman, A.E., King, G.M., Wimley, W.C. and Hristova, K., 2018. Potent Macromoleculesized poration of lipid bilayers by the macrolittins, a synthetically evolved family of pore-forming peptides. J. Am. Chem. Soc., 140(20), pp.6441-6447.

Kim, S.Y., Pittman, A.E., Zapata-Mercado, E., King, G.M., Hristova, K., and Wimley, W.C., 2019. Mechanism of action of peptides that cause pH-triggered macromolecular poration of lipid bilayers. J. Am. Chem. Soc., 141 (16), pp 6706–6718.

Paredes, S.D., Kim, S., Rooney, M.T., Greenwood, A.I., Hristova, K. and Cotten, M.L., 2020. Enhancing the membrane activity of Piscidin 1 through peptide metallation and the presence of oxidized lipid species: Implications for the unification of host defense mechanisms at lipid membranes. Biochim. Biophys. Acta- Biomembranes, 1862(7), p.183236.

Kim, S.Y., Bondar, A.N., Wimley, W.C. and Hristova, K., 2021. pH-triggered pore-forming peptides with strong composition-dependent membrane selectivity. Biophys. J., 120(4), pp.618-630.

Guha, S., Ferrie, R.P., Ghimire, J., Ventura, C.R., Wu, E., Sun, L., Kim, S.Y., Wiedman, G.R., Hristova, K. and Wimley, W.C., 2021. Applications and evolution of melittin, the quintessential membrane active peptide. Biochem. Pharmacol., 193, p.114769.

Kelly, G., Milligan, J.J., Mastria, E.M., Kim, S., Zelenetz, S.R., Dobbins, J., Cai, L.Y., Li, X., Nair, Kim, S.Y. and Chilkoti, A., 2022. Intratumoral delivery of brachytherapy and immunotherapy by a thermally triggered polypeptide depot. J. Controlled Release, 343, pp.267-276.

Saha, S. Banskota, S., Liu, J., Zakharov, N., Dzuricky, M., Li, X., Fan, P., Deshpande, S., Spasojevic, I., Sharma, K., Borgnia, M., Schaal, J.L., Raman, A., Kim, S.Y., Bhattacharyya, J., Chilkoti, A., 2022.

Genetically Engineered Nanoparticles of Asymmetric Triblock Polypeptide with a Platinum(IV) Cargo Outperforms a Platinum(II) Analog and Free Drug in a Murine Cancer Model. Nano Lett.

Research Grants

Completed Grants

Duke-Coulter Translational Partnership 9/1/2021-8/31/2022
Title: “Development of a genetically-engineered injectable drug depot of panobinostat for the treatment of highgrade pediatric brain tumors through convection enhanced delivery (CED)”
PIs: David Ashley, Ph.D.; Soumen Saha, Ph.D. Duke University
Role: I helped write and revise the grant, as well as develop and test drug formulations.

Pending Grants

Future Manufacturing National Science Foundation Grant submitted May 2022
Title: “FMRG: Bio: Scalable Continuous Manufacturing of Viral Vectors”
PIs: Ashutosh Chilkoti, Ph.D., Charles A. Gersbach, Ph.D., Micelle Sabaoun, MS, Aravind Asokan, Ph.D. Duke University and Alamance Community College
Role: Co-author.

Honors and Awards

  • 3 Minute Thesis Competition, Finalist April 2019
  • Women in STEM Symposium, 1st Place Graduate Student Poster Award April 2019
  • 2018 JHU Nano-Bio Symposium: Advanced Manufacturing, 3rd in People’s Choice Poster  Presentation Award May 2018
  • 2017 JHU Nano-Bio Symposium: Engineering Vascularization, 2nd in Poster Competition May 2017
  • Biophysical Society Student Research Achievement Award, Poster Competition Feb 2017
  • Biophysical Society Student Research Achievement Award, Poster Competition Feb 2016
  • Carlson Fellowship, Thomas C. Jenkins Department of Biophysics 2013-2015