Anna Kim received her undergraduate in BioEngineering and her Ph. D. degree at Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden. She began her collaborative postdoctoral research at Stanford University with Profs. Lucy O’Brien and Beth Pruitt before moving to UC Santa Barbara. Dr. Kim is a recipient of the international postdoc fellowship from the Swedish Research Council.
Why UC Santa Barbara?
I love the interdisciplinary research environment at UC Santa Barbara! The shared facilities provide great project support and it’s been easy to interact and collaborate across different research areas. I get to learn from experts in different fields – currently, I’m collaborating with Prof. Denise Montell from the MCDB department.
I enjoy the range of outdoor activities that Santa Barbara has to offer. I like hiking and backpacking, and Santa Barbara is located close to many of the beautiful parks in California.
What is your research focus?
The Pruitt Lab works on custom measurements and analysis systems for small scale metrologies including custom probes, sensors and actuators for biomechanics and mechanotransduction assays. We study the mechanics and biology in model organisms, the mechanisms and forces of cell adhesion, and the development and response of stem cells and cardiac myocytes to mechanical loading.
Why did you choose your area of research?
I became interested in micro-technologies during my master thesis, fascinated by microfabrication and design of tools to address new questions in biology. Currently, I work with the intestine of fruit flies as the model system, a remarkably dynamic organ that renews every few days. The tiny size of this tissue challenges current tools and I am developing micro-scale devices to study mechanobiology in this organ.