Hae Jin Kim, Ph.D., currently a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Department of Medical Pharmacology and Physiology of the University of Missouri, under the supervision of Dr. Michael J. Davis received a poster award at the Lymphatic Forum in Austin, TX. We asked Hae Jin to share her thoughts on that experience with us and to tell us a bit about her research and future plans.
What did you get out of the Lymphatic Forum? Why did you feel it was important to attend?
I am grateful to LE&RN for giving me the opportunity to attend 2019 Lymphatic Forum. This was my first time attending the Lymphatic Forum. It was a very intellectually stimulating meeting covering a wide range of topics related to the lymphatic system, including developmental biology, physiology, molecular biology, and bioengineering, from bench to bedside. I felt very lucky to meet the patients at the Forum and touched by listening to their experience of suffering lymphedema. This motivated me as a scientist and made me realize how important and valuable my research is to the patients. At the Forum, I met more leaders and was able to interact with prominent national and international researchers. I heard from people with different or similar research interests, which was very helpful in developing my own research. Additionally, I exchanged opinions on interesting topics with other researchers.
What are your areas of interest in research?
I joined Dr. Davis’ lab as a postdoc in this year and began to study in the lymphatic field. I’m interested in the roles of ion channels that involve lymphatic contractions and that are related to lymphedema. I have been working on the role of KATP channels in spontaneous lymphatic contractions and the mechanisms that mediated KATP channels.
What are your hopes and plans for your career and your research?=
During my postdoc training, I will focus on potassium channels in lymphatic vessels that regulate spontaneous lymphatic contraction. I hope my research will help us to understand how lymphatic contractile dysfunction occurs and what mechanisms are involved in this.
Why do you believe that, in general, lymphatic research is important? What might the field accomplish within the next few years?
Lymphatics are not only present in almost every tissue of the body, but are also related to circulation, to the immune system, and so on. Dysfunction of the lymphatic system affects over 130 million people worldwide and is associated with cancer, inflammation, and cardiovascular disease, as well as other diseases. However, the lymphatic system was not well understood and also has been underestimated for a long time. Within just the last few years of research, our understanding of developmental and molecular mechanisms underlying proper lymphatic function is growing. I believe that the next years of investigation will draw more attention to the lymphatic system and its importance. A better understanding of the lymphatic system will provide great opportunities to improve the lives of those who live with lymphatic diseases.