KWANG SIK KIM’s tireless pursuit of knowledge benefited the health care and research communities well beyond the walls of Johns Hopkins. His work was amongst the earliest to demonstrate the mechanisms used by pathogens to penetrate the blood-brain barrier and cause neurologic disease.
His blood-brain barrier model has been used worldwide by investigators to understand central nervous system infection and inflammation, and helped establish novel concepts such as the neurovascular impact of Alzheimer’s disease and transendothelial migration of monocytes into the brain as a major contributing factor to HIV encephalopathy.
Kim, who was division chief of pediatric infectious diseases at Johns Hopkins, died April 1 at 73. A professor of pediatrics at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and in the Department of Molecular Microbiology and Immunology at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, he is remembered as a dedicated, kind leader, teacher and mentor who inspired trainees and colleagues.
“Dr. Kim individually impacted each of our lives,” says DEBORAH PERSAUD, interim director of the Division of Pediatric Infectious Diseases. “He was a gentle and warm person, a true pioneer in CNS infections, and an inspiring leader for our team who gave young faculty the autonomy to allow them to learn and develop.”
“He always encouraged me to connect with experts in the field and try to learn from every patient encounter or research dilemma,” Johns Hopkins pediatrician ANNA SICK-SAMUELS ’13 wrote on a memorial website. “I will remember Dr. Kim as a dedicated explorer in the pursuit of better understanding of why infections happen and how we can treat them.”
A lectureship fund in collaboration with the Division of Pediatric Infectious Diseases has been established to honor his legacy.