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Principal Investigator


Sua Myong  Ph.D
Biophysics department
Johns Hopkins University


Mailing Address:
3400 North Charles Street

110 Jenkins Hall
Baltimore, Maryland 21218


Tel: 410-516-5122
Fax: 410-516-4118


[email protected]



  • 2002 Ph.D in Nutrition/Biochemistry, University of California, Berkeley  [Thesis: Folate-mediated one-carbon flux into thymine and purines in CHO cell lines. (Advisor: Barry Shane Ph.D)]
  • 1994 B.S in Molecular Cell Biology, University of California, Berkeley  [Thesis: Aspartate receptor binding protein characterization by site specific mutagenesis.  (Advisor: Sunghou Kim Ph.D)]



  • Single molecule Single Cell Biopysics (Biophysics Elective; Fall 2019, Johns Hopkins University )

    Topics: single molecule techniques including smFRET, optical tweezers, next generation sequencing,

    transcriptomic analysis, single molecule imaging in live cells.



  • 1992-1994 Undergraduate Junior Research Assistant, Honors Program Student (Dr. Sunghou Kim)
  • 1995-2000 Graduate Student Fellowship, University of California – Berkeley (Dr. Barry Shane)
  • 2002-2006 Postdoctoral Fellow in Biophysics at University of Illinois (Dr. Taekjip Ha, HHMI)
  • 2007-2009 Research Fellow, Institute for Genomic Biology, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
  • 2009-2015 Assistant Professor, Department of Bioengineering, University of Illinois
  • 2010-2015 Core Member, Cellular Decision Making in Cancer Theme, Institute for Genomic Biology
  • 2012-2015 Member of Biophysics and Computational Biology Program, University of Illinois
  • 2012-2020 Core Member, Center for Physics of Living Cells, NSF-Physics Frontier Center, University of Illinois
  • 2015-2021 Associate Professor, Biophysics Department, Johns Hopkins University
  • 2022-present Professor, Biophysics Department, Johns Hopkins University



  • 1993  International scholar’s award for high academic achievement, University of California, Berkeley.
  • 2000  George M. Briggs Memorial Award for excellent research and teaching, University of California, Berkeley.
  • 2005  Scaringe Award for promoted speaker, Gordon conference, Nucleic Acid meeting.

  • 2010  Genome Technology’s annual list of “Tomorrow’s PIs” for single molecule fluorescence research               (

  • 2011  American Cancer Society Research Scholar Award.
  • 2011  Human Frontier Science Program Research Award.
  • 2012  NIH Director’s New Innovator Award.
  • 2013  Outstanding Advisor of the Year Award, Medical Scholar’s Program at University of Illinois.
  • 2014  Rose Award for Teaching Excellence, College of Engineering, University of Illinois.
  • 2016  Catalyst Award for research innovation, Johns Hopkins University.
  • 2017  Discovery Award, Johns Hopkins University.


My research interests involve developing and applying single molecule approaches to acquire quantitative understanding of biology and to find ways to improve human medicine. We are investigating several lines of biological pathways that are implicated in human diseases.

  • To decipher the molecular mechanism that can lead to cancer, we studied key proteins in homologous recombination (Nature Communications, 2013), trinucleotide unfolding (Structure 2015) and telomere processing (Structure 2012, 2014, Scientific Report 2015, Nature Structural Molecular Biology 2017). These studies led to discovery of novel modes in molecular action that may lead to genomic instability and tumorigenesis when disrupted. We are currently studying naturally-occurring DNA lesions in telomeric substrates to test if telomerase binding or activity is modulated by these lesions (Nucleic Acid Research 2017).
  • We developed single-molecule and single-cell platforms to analyze the RNA interference pathway. Using single molecule FRET (2- and 3-colors), we uncovered an unexpected motility of an RNA binding protein, TRBP, which is an essential cofactor of Dicer, a key ribonuclease in RNAi pathway (PNAS 2013, Journal of American Chemical Society 2018). Single molecule fluorescence in situ hybridization was used to quantitatively analyze RNAi silencing efficiency of various structured RNA substrates (PNAS 2017).
  • We have investigated the folding of G-quadruplex (GQ) DNA by systematically varying the DNA composition and analyzing the GQ folding propensity (NAR 2014, 2015). We determined the mechanism and structure underlying unfolding of GQ-DNA by RHAU (PNAS 2017, Nature 2018) and unfolding of GQ-RNA (Nature Com. 2019), which reveal a unique structure-function relationship built into a dedicated GQ unfoldase, RHAU. We are currently studying how GQ sequences modulate transcription and translation.
  • Our recent effort has been trying to understand the molecular basis of RNA-protein interactions that lead to liquid-liquid phase separation in vitro and in cells. We developed suites of single molecule and biochemical platforms to quantitatively measure the underlying molecular mechanism in various protein systems (PNAS 2015, PNAS 2018, Science 2018). We currently investigating RNA binding proteins implicated in neurodegenerative diseases.
  • We have developed a widely used one-color single molecule fluorescence assay termed protein induced fluorescence enhancement (PIFE) which complements FRET by providing the distance sensitivity of protein-nucleic acid interaction between 0 and 3 nanometer detection range (PNAS 2011, Chemical Society Review, 2014).