Harim Won (G5, Rubin lab)

Where are you from and what do you enjoy most about your hometown?

I was born in Seoul, but moved to Omaha, Nebraska when I was two and grew up there! Omaha was a great place to grow up and an underappreciated gem, especially featuring the Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium (ranked #1 by TripAdvisor in 2014!) and the beautiful downtown Old Market. Omaha is also home to the University of Nebraska at Omaha where Maddy (BPH alum) and I met and worked in the same lab!

What is your research focused on? 

Tuberculosis is a bacterial infection caused by Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb) and it remains a pressing global health threat, causing over 1.5 million deaths every year. My work focuses on how we can use a two-headed targeted degrader molecule to redirect Mtb’s own proteolytic systems to degrade the very essential proteins the bacteria need to survive as a new modality for antibiotic development.

What is your favorite part of your research?

My favorite part of studying TB is the hope that our work can form a small part of a global collaborative effort to address the devastating impact that this infection has on public health worldwide. It remains a big problem, and it’s a privilege to be able to be involved in this work.

How do you relax when you’re not working?

I love trying new restaurants with friends! Over the summers, Maddy and I also picked up some new hobbies including learning to sail on the Charles River with Community Boating and urban gardening with a plot we received in the Fenway Victory Gardens.

Tell us about an activity outside of lab you’re involved in and why it’s important to you

I was previously an Executive Director of the Health Professions Recruitment & Exposure Program (HPREP) at HMS. HPREP is a high school STEM outreach program that recruits students attending underresourced high schools in the Boston area from backgrounds that are underrepresented in science and medicine. Because I would not have accomplished anything in life without the many mentors who invested their time in me, likewise, I am committed to doing what I can to do the same for others and help overcome the educational disparities which hinder K-12 students from developing an interest in science.