John Chung

Title: Director of the Biomolecular NMR Facility.

Responsibilities: Facilitating scientists' experimental research; keeping abreast of the latest developments in methodology and envisioning ways to implement them on TSRI-specific projects; going through the A-Z's of maintaining the spectrometers at their peak performance.

Latest Challenge: Maintaining and operating the highest-field NMR machine built to date, the 900 MHz (see News&Views article).

Background: Born in Korea. Moved to the United States when he was 11.

Education: B.S., University of California, Santa Barbara; Ph.D., University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign; postdoctoral research, Yale University. "I was drawn to NMR early on. I've always been into tinkering and methodology."

Co-worker: Gerard Kroon, assistant manager of the facility. "He's so patient, unlike me, and is a ton of help," says Chung. "He always has a smile on his face."

Best Part of the Job: "I work with the most expensive toys in the world—applied to studying the most biologically relevant systems. Part of my job is 'pushing the outside of the envelope' of what is possible using these machines."

Immediate Family: Ruth, wife of 10 years, and five kids—an eight-year-old, a six-year-old, a four-year-old, and one-year-old twins. ("For exercise, I do 2 x 25-pound baby curls.")

Extracurricular: "I used to teach bilingual Sunday school at church; I've had to give that up to be there more for my kids. I have begun digitizing our family genealogy book that goes back 34 generations and at least 700 years, into a web-interfaced database. When completed it will probably be the most well-documented family tree out there."




John Chung will maintain and operate the highest-field NMR machine built to date, the 900 MHz. Photo by Jason Socrates Bardi.