With Kenneth Rainin Foundation Innovator Award, Kim Takes Bioinspired Approach to Personalized Crohn’s Disease Treatment


Professor Hyun Jung Kim has received the Kenneth Rainin Foundation Innovator Award and will receive $100,000 over one year to conduct research for personalized treatment of Crohn’s disease.

Kim seeks to determine if fecal microbiota transplantation (FMT) is an effective form of treatment for Crohn’s disease, a type of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), where the population of good microbiome in the gut is compromised, causing chronic gut inflammation.

Although FMT holds promise in treating IBD, it is currently only FDA-approved as a therapy for recurrent Clostridium difficile (C. diff) infection, which causes serious diarrhea and life-threatening inflammation of the colon. FMT has been successfully applied to C diff intervention by replenishing healthy gut microbiome in the patient’s gut.

Kim will test this research using a bioinspired, pathomimetic Crohn’s Disease-on-a-chip microphysiological system, rather than using animal models, a traditional approach that is ethically problematic, labor intensive, time-consuming, and less accurate.

He will produce multiple avatar chips for individual Crohn’s disease patients, introducing good bacteria and evaluating the efficacy of FMT on-chip. Using actual cells from patients will give researchers a better understanding of how FMT can be validated as a personalized precision medicine approach for Crohn’s disease.