Yunsun Nam is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology and the Department of Biophysics. She is a member of the Cecil H. and Ida Green Center for Reproductive Biology Sciences.

Dr. Nam obtained a BA in Biochemical Sciences from Harvard College in 1999. Under the direction of Dr. Stephen C. Blacklow, she obtained her PhD in Biological Chemistry and Molecular Pharmacology in 2006. Following this, she completed postdoctoral fellowships at Harvard Medical School in Dr. Tom A. Rapoport’s laboratory in the Department of Cell Biology and then in Dr. Piotr Sliz laboratory in the Department of Biological Chemistry and Molecular Pharmacology.

Dr. Nam studies mechanisms of non-coding RNAs and their role in gene regulation important for development and cancer. A major focus is the molecular mechanism and regulation of microRNA processing. She uses various biochemical and biophysical approaches including X-ray crystallography, NMR spectroscopy, molecular biology, nucleic acid/protein biochemistry, high throughput sequencing, and eukaryotic cell-based studies. Her long term goal is not only to elucidate how ncRNAs work but also to identify new avenues for developing therapeutics.


Graduate School
Harvard University (2006)

Research Interest

  • Biochemistry
  • Gene regulation
  • non-coding RNAs
  • Structure and Function of Macromolecular complexes


Featured Publications LegendFeatured Publications

A grid-enabled web service for low-resolution crystal structure refinement.
O'Donovan DJ, Stokes-Rees I, Nam Y, Blacklow SC, Schröder GF, Brunger AT, Sliz P Acta Crystallogr. D Biol. Crystallogr. 2012 Mar 68 Pt 3 261-7
Conformational locking upon cooperative assembly of notch transcription complexes.
Choi SH, Wales TE, Nam Y, O'Donovan DJ, Sliz P, Engen JR, Blacklow SC Structure 2012 Feb 20 2 340-9
Notch ankyrin repeat domain variation influences leukemogenesis and Myc transactivation.
Aster JC, Bodnar N, Xu L, Karnell F, Milholland JM, Maillard I, Histen G, Nam Y, Blacklow SC, Pear WS PLoS ONE 2011 6 10 e25645
A role for the two-helix finger of the SecA ATPase in protein translocation.
Erlandson KJ, Miller SB, Nam Y, Osborne AR, Zimmer J, Rapoport TA Nature 2008 Oct 455 7215 984-7
Identification of a conserved negative regulatory sequence that influences the leukemogenic activity of NOTCH1.
Chiang MY, Xu ML, Histen G, Shestova O, Roy M, Nam Y, Blacklow SC, Sacks DB, Pear WS, Aster JC Mol. Cell. Biol. 2006 Aug 26 16 6261-71

Honors & Awards

  • Pew Scholar in the Biomedical Sciences
  • Cancer Prevention Research Institute of Texas
    First Time Faculty Recruitment Award (2013)
  • Packard Fellowship for Science and Engineering
    The David and Lucile Packard Foundation (2013)
  • Southwestern Medical Foundation Scholar in Biomedical Research
    Endowed Scholars Program, The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center (2013)
  • Charles A. King Trust Postdoctoral Research Fellowship
    Charles A. King Trust, N.A., Bank of America, Co‐Trustee. (2011)
  • Damon Runyon Postdoctoral Fellowship
    Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation (2007)
  • The Jane Coffin Childs Postdoctoral Fellowship
    The Jane Coffin Childs Memorial Fund for Medical Research (declined) (2007)