Prof. Philip M. Kim, Ph.D.
Professor / Principal Investigator
I was born and raised in the city of Aachen, Germany. It doesn’t quite have the same geopolitical importance now as it did 1200 years ago when Karl the Great (in English he is usually referred to as "Charlemagne", a tradition that goes back to the Norman conquest) ruled most of Europe from there, but it still is a beautiful and pleasant city and it was nice to grow up there. I went to high-school at the "Kaiser-Karls Gymnasium" (or "Charlemagne High School") and was educated according to classic German traditions, i.e., including extensive instruction in Latin, Ancient Greek and Greco-Roman history.
My first higher education I received at the venerable Eberhard-Karls University of Tuebingen, one of the oldest Universities in Germany. I was a rare double-major in Physics and Biochemistry, and remain a physicist at heart to this day. The training I received there still serves me well and is a good background to do interdisciplinary work.
I pursued graduate studies at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. After 4 years I received my Ph.D. in Physical Chemistry at the MIT Artificial Intelligence Laboratory. Most of my thesis work dealt with computational systems biology and theoretical biophysics, among other things I developed a novel approach to dissect network graphs, a new data mining algorithm for microarrays and a new modeling approach for complex biochemical reaction systems. MIT was truly a terrific place to be and I have many fond memories of my time there.
Since I had been in academia for over 20 years, I felt the desire to see a bit of the real world. So I followed the call of the abundant on-campus recruiters and went to work as a management consultant for McKinsey & Company. Here I got to work in a variety of industries and learned a lot about the corporate world. I enjoyed my time outside the ivory tower, but came to realize that the most fulfilling career for me is to do academic research.
Since January 2009 I've been a Professor at the University of Toronto. My laboratory is in the Terrence Donnelly Centre for Cellular and Biomolecular Research, which is one of the best places I can imagine to do my sort of work. I collaborate with many other professors in the centre, in the Toronto research community and worldwide.
I have a proud academic heritage, and trace my lineage to some of the greatest minds in the history of science, including Linus Pauling (through my Ph.D. advisor), Werner Heisenberg (through my father) and Carl Friedrich Gauss (through both my Ph.D. advisor and my father). A few more tidbits about my scientific life: As of 2020, my papers have been cited cumulatively over 11000 times. My Erdos number is 4 and my h-index is 41. My work has been recognized by a number of awards, among them the Ontario Early Reseacher Award, the Connaught Award, and the Genome Technology Magazine 2012 "Principal Investigator of Tomorrow" Award.
When I’m not working, I enjoy rock-climbing, surfing, hiking, running, skiing, weight-lifting and all sorts of other fun activities.