Young Ha Rhee
  • Ph. D.
  • Young Ha Rhee
  • Environmental Microbiology
  • N11-603
  • Laboratory of Applied & Environmental Microbiology (N11-603)
  • +82-42-821-6413, 7551

Academic Career

  • Ph. D., 1985, Seoul National University, Korea


  • Visiting Scientist, 1992-1993, Dept. of Biotechnology, UNSW, Australia

Research Interests

  • Biosynthesis and modification of PHAs

    Polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHAs) are biodegradable polyesters produced by bacteria as intracellular storage materials. We have isolated several microorganisms that have very interesting characteristics regarding PHA biosynthesis, and developed novel PHAs containing various functional groups, including cyclohexyl, alkoxy, and unsaturated groups in the side chains. Chemical modifications of these PHAs to produce materials with improved properties which are suitable for biomedical applications have been also developed. We are currently investigating the potential use of waste materials as the cheap carbon substrates for the production of PHAs by mixed cultures enriched under aerobic dynamic feeding.

  • Biodegradation of PHAs

    The ability of microorganisms to degrade PHAs is dependent on the secretion of specific PHA depolymerases. Our research has been focused on studies of medium-chain-length (MCL) PHA depolymerases that are specific to polymers consisting of 3-hydroxyalkanoates with six or more carbon atoms. We have reported biochemical characteristics of MCL-PHA depolymerases obtained from various bacterial origins. Biodiversity of microorganisms that degrade MCL-PHA and molecular characteristics of MCL-PHA depolymerase genes are currently underway.

Selected Publication

  • Chung et al. 2017. Preparation and biocompatibility of crosslinked poly(3-hydroxyundecenoate). Int. J. Biol. Macromol. in Press.
  • Kim et al. 2013. Polyester synthesis genes associated with stress resistance are involved in an insect bacterium symbiosis. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 110, E2381-E2389.
  • Seo et al. 2012. Non-ionic polysorbate surfactants: Alternative inducers of medium- chain-length poly(3-hydroxyalkanoates) (MCL-PHAs) for production of extracellular MCL-PHA depolymerases. Bioresour. Technol. 121, 47-53.
  • Chung et al. 2012. Overexpression of the (R)-specific enoyl-CoA hydratase gene from Pseudomonas chlororaphis HS21 in Pseudomonas strains for the biosynthesis of polyhydroxyalkanoates of altered monomer composition. Biosci. Biotechnol. Biochem. 76, 613-616.
  • Chung et al. 2012. Biocompatibility and antimicrobial activity of poly(3-hydroxy- octanoate) grafted with vinylimidazole. Int. J. Biol. Macromol. 50, 310-316.