Start main content

Academic Staff

Dr KWON, Sung Chul 權性哲

Dr KWON, Sung Chul 權性哲

  • BSc, PhD (Seoul National U)
  • Assistant Professor
L1-46, Laboratory Block, 21 Sassoon Road, Hong Kong
+852 3917 9834
+852 2817 0857
  • RNA biology
  • Small RNA
  • Genome engineering
  • Enzyme engineering
  • Assistant Professor, School of Biomedical Sciences, HKU (2020–Present)
  • Researcher, Center for RNA Research, Institute for Basic Science (2019–2020)
  • Postdoctoral Fellow, Center for RNA Research, Institute for Basic Science; Supervisors: Jae-Sung Woo & V. Narry Kim (2013–2018)
  • PhD, Biological Sciences, Seoul National University (2006–2013); Supervisor: V. Narry Kim
  • BSc, Biological Sciences (& Interdisciplinary Major in Biotechnology), Seoul National University (2001–2006)

We aim to understand RNA-based gene expression regulation mechanisms and to develop new technologies that can be used in biology and medicine. We apply an integrative approach by combining CRISPR-Cas systems, high-throughput sequencing, and human cell-based protein purification.

RNA-binding proteins (disease-associated or ribonucleases)

Previously, we provided a whole RNA-binding protein repertoire of embryonic stem cells in collaboration with the Matthias Hentze group at EMBL (Nature Structural & Molecular Biology 2013). This paper served as one of the three core datasets for a mammalian RNA-binding protein list (Nature Reviews Genetics 2014, 15:829). Based on this finding, we are going to elucidate the action mechanisms of disease-associated RNA-binding proteins and ribonucleases.

Small RNAs and noncoding RNAs

We solved the first crystal structure of DROSHA, an essential ribonuclease in microRNA biogenesis, and elucidated the comprehensive processing rules of DROSHA using high-throughput biochemistry (Cell 2016; Molecular Cell 2019). Now we know how DROSHA accurately finds the cleavage site on primary microRNAs, and we can use this information for designing short hairpin RNAs (shRNAs) to regulate genes of interest precisely. We are going to develop a new small RNA screening method and apply it to various biological contexts such as cancer drug resistance and iPSC reprogramming.


Transposases rearrange the genomic location of mobile genetic elements by cut-and-paste or replicative transposition mechanisms. We envision that elucidating the molecular mechanism of transposases in diverse organisms will enable the development of novel genome engineering tools and pave the way for the patient-specific gene correction in the future.

A Cell video abstract (Structure of human DROSHA, 2016):


1: co-first author, 2: co-second author, *: co-corresponding author

  1. Kwon SC1, Jang H1, Shen S1, Baek SC, Kim K, Yang J, Kim J, Kim J-S, Wang S, Shi Y, Li F*, Kim VN* (2020) ERH facilitates microRNA maturation through the interaction with the N-terminus of DGCR8. Nucleic Acids Research 48, 11097-11112
  2. Bae JW, Kwon SC, Na Y, Kim VN*, and Kim J-S* (2020) Chemical RNA digestion enables robust RNA-binding site mapping at single amino acid-resolution. Nature Structural & Molecular Biology 27, 678-682
  3. Kwon SC, Baek SC, Choi Y-G, Yang J, Lee Y, Woo J-S*, Kim VN* (2019) Molecular basis for the single-nucleotide precision of primary microRNA processing. Molecular Cell 73, 505-518
  4. Kwon SC1, Nguyen TA1, Choi Y-G1, Jo MH, Hohng S, Kim VN*, Woo J-S* (2016) Structure of Human DROSHA. Cell 164, 81-90
  5. Kampmann M, Horlbeck MA, Chen Y, Tsai JC, Bassik MC, Gilbert LA, Villalta JE, Kwon SC, Chang H, Kim VN, Weissman JS (2015) Next-generation libraries for robust RNA interference-based genome-wide screens. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 112, E3384-E3391
  6. Nguyen TA, Jo MH, Choi Y-G, Park J, Kwon SC, Hohng S, Kim VN*, Woo J-S* (2015) Functional Anatomy of the Human Microprocessor. Cell 161, 1374-1387
  7. Lim J1, Ha M1, Chang H1Kwon SC, Simanshu DK, Patel DJ, Kim VN (2014) Uridylation by TUT4 and TUT7 Marks mRNA for Degradation. Cell 159, 1365-1376
  8. Kwon SC, Yi H, Eichelbaum K, Föhr S, Fischer B, You KT, Castello A, Krijgsveld J, Hentze MW, Kim VN (2013) The RNA-binding protein repertoire of embryonic stem cells. Nature Structural & Molecular Biology 20, 1122-1130
  9. Cho J1, Chang H1Kwon SC, Kim B, Kim Y, Choe J, Ha M, Kim YK, Kim VN (2012) LIN28A Is a Suppressor of ER-Associated Translation in Embryonic Stem Cells. Cell 151, 765-777
  10. Heo I1, Ha M1, Lim J, Yoon M-J, Park J-E, Kwon SC, Chang H, Kim VN (2012) Mono-Uridylation of Pre-MicroRNA as a Key Step in the Biogenesis of Group II let-7 MicroRNAs. Cell 151, 521-532
  11. Han J, Pedersen JS2Kwon SC2, Belair CD2, Kim Y-K, Yeom K-H, Yang W-Y, Haussler D, Blelloch R, Kim VN (2009) Posttranscriptional Crossregulation between Drosha and DGCR8. Cell 136, 75-84
  1. Young Investigator Research Award (International Conference: Korean Society for Molecular and Cellular Biology, 2018)
  2. Young Scientist Award (Summer Symposium, Korean Society for Structural Biology, 2016)
  3. Excellent Poster Award (Summer Symposium, RNA section, Korean Society for Molecular and Cellular Biology, 2013)