Yungki Park PhD

Yungki Park

Yungki Park
PhD

Assistant Professor

Department of Biochemistry

Jacobs School of Medicine & Biomedical Sciences


Specialty/Research Focus

Bioinformatics; Cell growth, differentiation and development; Neurobiology

Contact Information
B4-317 CBLS
Buffalo, New York 14203
Phone: (716) 881-7579
yungkipa@buffalo.edu



Professional Summary:

My laboratory seeks to understand the transcriptional regulatory network governing the development of oligodendrocytes (OLs) for central nervous system (CNS) myelination, with the long-term goal of translating this knowledge into the treatment of demyelinating diseases. CNS myelination by OLs is important not only for the saltatory conduction of action potentials but also for axonal integrity. Consistently, impaired myelination has been linked to both neurological and neuropsychiatric disorders. To advance our understanding of OL development, we are currently pursuing two different research directions.

The first is to elucidate the functional mechanism of Myrf, a master regulator of OL development. Conditional knockout of Myrf in mice leads to lethal dysmyelination, highlighting the key role of Myrf in OL development and CNS myelination. We and the Emery laboratory have independently made the surprising discovery that Myrf is generated as an integral membrane protein that is auto-cleaved by its ICA domain into two fragments. This discovery invokes a number of fundamental questions about how Myrf drives OL differentiation. We employ both computational and experimental methodologies to elucidate the functional mechanism of Myrf.

The second is to identify new transcription factors and enhancers that govern OL development. We have recently developed an innovative method that maps promoter-distal enhancers to target genes in a principled manner. Using this method, we have elucidated how the expression of key OL genes, including Myrf and Plp1, is regulated. Further, we have uncovered the functional mechanism of rs17594362, a multiple sclerosis-linked single nucleotide polymorphism. We are currently characterizing a number of new OL enhancers and transcription factors.

Education and Training:

  • Fellowship, Postdoc, The University of Texas at Austin (2014)
  • PhD, Bioinformatics, Saarland University (2007)
  • MS, Bioinformatics, Saarland University (2006)
  • BS, Life Science, POSTECH (2002)

Employment:

  • Associate Professor, Biochemistry, SUNY Buffalo Jacobs School of Medicine & Biomedical Sciences (2021-present)
  • Assistant Professor, Biochemistry, SUNY Buffalo Jacobs School of Medicine & Biomedical Sciences (2014–2021)

Grants and Sponsored Research:

  • December 2019–November 2021
    Systematic discovery of critical oligodendrocyte transcription factors by a CRISPRi screen
    NIH/NINDS
    Role: Principal Investigator
    $438,625
  • July 2019–June 2021
    Identifying oligodendrocyte enhancers that govern the expression of Olig1/2
    NIH/NINDS
    Role: Principal Investigator
    $438,625
  • September 2015–June 2021
    Transcription mechanism of Myrf for central nervous system myelination.
    NIH/NINDS
    Role: Principal Investigator
    $1,839,820
  • April 2018–March 2021
    Role of oligodendrocyte enhancers in central nervous system development and disease
    NIH/NINDS
    Role: Principal Investigator
    $438,625
  • November 2017–October 2018
    Elucidating the pathogenetic mechanisms of multiple sclerosis
    National Multiple Sclerosis Society
    Role: Principal Investigator
    $44,000

Journal Articles:

See all (11 more)


School News:

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Clinical Specialties:

Clinical Offices:

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Contact Information

B4-317 CBLS
Buffalo, New York 14203
Phone: (716) 881-7579
yungkipa@buffalo.edu