Yunsun Nam, PhD, is an Associate Professor in the Department of Biochemistry and the Department of Biophysics at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center. She is a Southwestern Medical Foundation Scholar in Biomedical Research and a member of the Harold C. Simmons Comprehensive Cancer. 


Dr. Nam obtained her undergraduate degree in Biochemical Sciences, from Harvard College. She received her PhD in Biological Chemistry and Molecular Pharmacology at Harvard Medical School, for her work on the structure and function of intracellular Notch and its activation of transcription complexes. Her postdoctoral work included more mechanistic investigation of nucleic acid/protein complexes, focusing on Lin28 and let-7 microRNAs. She received the Damon Runyon Cancer Research Fellowship and the Charles A. King Trust Fellowship as a postdoctoral fellow. As an independent investigator, Dr. Nam was awarded the Pew Biomedical Scholarship, Packard Fellowship for Science and Engineering, and the Kavli Fellowship. 


The Nam lab focuses on studying the fundamental principles governing the folding and interactions of non-protein coding RNAs with other molecules. Their primary research area is exploring how RNA sequence and structure contribute to effective communication with proteins. The group employs structural biology, biochemistry, and cell biology to examine RNA chemistry and architecture in complex with their cognate factors. Their group has elucidated core mechanisms of microRNA processing by Microprocessor and revealed a cryo-electron microscopy structure of the processing machinery in action. They continue to investigate the regulatory pathways of small RNAs involving RNA chaperones, helicases, heme, and long-range interactions. Furthermore, the group also investigates how various modification enzymes recognize and catalyze chemistry on RNAs. A better understanding of the mechanisms underlying the function and regulation of RNA-protein complexes is helping the Nam lab to open new avenues for comprehending diseases at the molecular level and developing successful therapeutic strategies.



Harvard Uni-Harvard College (1999), Biocchemical Sciences
Graduate School
Harvard University (2006)

Research Interest

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


Featured Publications LegendFeatured Publications

METTL16 exerts an m6A-independent function to facilitate translation and tumorigenesis.
Su R, Dong L, Li Y, Gao M, He PC, Liu W, Wei J, Zhao Z, Gao L, Han L, Deng X, Li C, Prince E, Tan B, Qing Y, Qin X, Shen C, Xue M, Zhou K, Chen Z, Xue J, Li W, Qin H, Wu X, Sun M, Nam Y, Chen CW, Huang W, Horne D, Rosen ST, He C, Chen J, Nat Cell Biol 2022 02 24 2 205-216
Manipulation by Methylation: Garnishing mRNAs with m6Am.
Doxtader KA, Nam Y, Mol. Cell 2019 08 75 3 417-418
Publisher Correction: Heme enables proper positioning of Drosha and DGCR8 on primary microRNAs.
Partin AC, Ngo TD, Herrell E, Jeong BC, Hon G, Nam Y Nat Commun 2018 Sep 9 1 3852

Honors & Awards

  • MAVEN scholar
  • Kavli Fellow, National Academy of Sciences
  • 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
  • Damon Runyon Postdoctoral Fellowship
  • The Jane Coffin Childs Postdoctoral Fellowship