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Kee-Hong Kim

Department of Food Sciences 

  • Associate Professor of Food Science
Nelson Hall of Food Science (NLSN) Room 2239
745 Agriculture Mall Drive
West Lafayette, In 47907

Foods and Nutrition 

  • Courtesy Assoc Professor of Food & Nutr
  • Courtesy Assistant Professor

Post-doctoral Fellowship –University of California, Berkeley, CA
Ph.D.–Rutgers University, NJ, 1999
M.S.–Seoul National University, Seoul, Korea
B.S.-Seoul National University, Seoul, Korea

Member, American Society for Nutrition (ASN) 
Member, Institute of Food Technologists (IFT)

Obesity is a global health problem. Obesity contributes to the increased prevalence of other chronic diseases, including type 2 diabetes and coronary heart diseases, which are the leading causes of mortality and morbidity in the U.S. Activation of adipocyte differentiation (adipogenesis) and inflammatory response of adipose tissue has been known to contribute to the development of obesity, and obesity-associated chronic diseases. Despite having continuous attention on dietary phytochemicals as rich therapeutic/preventive sources for many diseases, a few such compounds are known to have anti-obese property. In an effort to develop dietary strategies to prevent the generation of adipose tissue and its associated pathogenesis, we employ molecular and biochemical studies utilizing cultured mammalian cells and animal model of obesity to study the following projects.

  1. Dietary regulation of development of adipose tissue and its function:
    Curcumin has recently been proposed to have anti-cancer and anti-obesity properties. Our lab conducts mechanistic studies on understanding the mechanism of curcumin-regulated adipose development and function. The efficacy of natural form of curcumin and water-soluble curcumin in improving bioavailability and physiological function both in vitro and in vivo has also been studied. We are also interested in elucidating potential anti-obesity function of piceatannol, a metabolite of resveratrol found in red wine, and its cellular target in adipocytes.  
  2. Dietary control of cellular stress signaling pathway and its associated adipose dysfunction:
    A micronutrient selenium exists in various forms with different biological activities. Although selenium is known to exhibit a beneficial function in cancerous cells, its role in metabolically active tissues such as adipose tissue and liver is unknown. Our goal is to elucidate the beneficial function of selenium in adipose development and function. In particular, we are interested in testing the anti-adipogenic function of selenium and its role in selenoprotein-regulated endoplasmic reticulum stress signaling pathway in adipocytes.
  3. Adipose tissue, aging and cellular senescence:
    Adipose tissue dysfunction has been shown to be associated with aging. This includes dysregulated inflammation, tissue remodeling, senescence-like phenotype in preadipocytes and adipocytes. However, the molecular basis underlying aging-induced adipocytes dysfunction is unknown. Furthermore, dietary modulation of cellular senescence in adipocytes has not yet been elucidated. Advanced glycation end-products (AGEs) are generated in the late stage of Maillard reaction during food processing (e.g., frying, roasting or cooking). Both food-driven (exogenous) and biological-driven (endogenous) AGEs are known to play a detrimental role in human health. Evidence suggests that elevated levels of intracellular and extracellular AGEs, and activation of receptors for AGEs (RAGE), collectively termed AGE-RAGE axis, are associated with the development of aging and its-related diseases. In line with this, our group is interested in elucidating the molecular link between aging and adipose dysfunction, and the biological function of AGE-RAGE axis in adipose biology.
Current Graduate Students and Research Lab Members
Sora Kim (NUTR)

Awards & Honors

(2015) Korean Nutrition Society (KNS) award. ASN.

(2016) McCormick Science Institute Research Award. American Society for Nutrition (ASN).

(2017) Purdue University Faculty Scholar and Showalter Scholar. Purdue University.

(2018) Outstanding Undergraduate Counselor Award. Department of Food Science, Purdue University.

(2011) Role of Glycated Dietary Proteins in Lipid Dysfunction of Adipose Tissue and Muscle in Aging. Ralph W. and Grace M. Showalter Research Trust Award.

(2009) Anti-Obese Function of Curcumin. Ralph W. and Grace M. Showalter Trust Award.

(2008) 2008 Summer Faculty Grant. Purdue Research Foundation.

(2008) Agricultural Research Program Assistantship. College of Agriculture-Purdue University.


Kim, K., & Kwon, J. Y. (2013). Method for Inhibiting Lipolysis and Lipolysis-Dependent Obesity-Associated Metabolic Diseases and Cancers. U.S. Patent No. 2013-KIM-66614. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

Kim, K., & Zhu, Y. Compositions and methods for regulating body weight and metabolic syndromes.

Kim, K., Wiacek, J., Kim, C. Y., & Kim, G. N. (2012). Selenate for the treatment of metabolic disorders .

Kim, K., & Kwon, J. Y. (2012). Anti-obesity action of piceatannol .

Kim, K., & Zhu, Y. (2016). Methods of treating obesity and type 2 diabetes.

Selected Publications

Kim, C., & Kim, K. (2014). Curcumin prevents leptin-induced tight junction dysfunction in intestinal Caco-2 BBe cells. Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry, 25, 26-35. Retrieved from

Cheng, M., Chegeni, M., Kim, K., Zhang, G., Benmoussa, M., Quezada-Calvillo, R., . . . Hamaker, B. (2014). Different sucrose-isomaltase response of Caco-2 cells to glucose and maltose suggests dietary maltose sensing. Journal of Clinical Biochemistry and Nutrition, 54, 55-60. Retrieved from

Seo, S., Shin, S., Min, S., Lee, D., Kwon, J., Yang, H., . . . Lee, H. (2013). 6,7,4'-Trihydroxyisoflavone, a metabolite of daidzein, suppresses adipogenesis of 3T3-L1 preadipocytes via ATP-competitive inhibition of PI3K activity. Molecular Nutrition and Food Research, 57, 1446-55. Retrieved from;jsessionid=DCCD5410C949AD35CA9895E571B05D5C.f02t04

Kim, C., & Kim, K. (2013). Dexamethasone-induced selenoprotein S (SEPS1) degradation in the early stage of differentiation is required for adipogenesis. Journal of Lipid Research, 54, 2069-82. Retrieved from

Chen, C., Martorano, A., Moon, Y., & Kim, K. (2012). An advanced glycation end products (AGEs)-the receptor for AGEs axis restores adipogenic potential of senescent preadipocytes through modulation of p53 protein function. Journal of Biological Chemistry, 287, 44498-44507. Retrieved from

Kwon, J., Seo, S., Yue, S., Cheng, J., Lee, K., & Kim, K. (2012). An inhibitory effect of resveratrol in the mitotic clonal expansion and insulin signaling pathway in the early phase of adipogenesis. Nutrition Research, 32, 607-616. Retrieved from

Kim, K., Kim, G., & Lee, K. (2012). Phytochemicals in Prevention and Treatment of Obesity and Its Related Cancer. In Nutrition in the Prevention and Treatment of Disease (3, 391-406). Academic Press.

Kwon, J., Seo, S., Heo, Y., Yue, S., Cheng, J., Lee, K., & Kim, K. (2012). Piceatannol, natural polyphenolic stilbene, inhibits adipogenesis via modulation of mitotic clonal expansion and insulin receptor-dependent insulin signaling in early phase of differentiation. Journal of Biological Chemistry, 287, 11566-11578. Retrieved from

Kim, C., Kim, G., Wiacek, J., Chen, C., & Kim, K. (2012). Selenate inhibits adipogenesis through induction of transforming growth factor-'_1 (TGF-'_1) signaling. Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications, 426, 551-557. Retrieved from

Kim, C., Le, T., Cheng, J., & Kim, K. (2011). Curcumin inhibits adipocyte differentiation through modulation of mitotic clonal expansion. Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry, 22(10), 910-20. Retrieved from

Department of Food Science, 745 Agriculture Mall Drive, West Lafayette, IN 47907, (765) 494-8256

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