Seung Jin (James) Jang

Entered Combined-Degree Program: Summer 2017 as entering DMD student in the optional DMD Summer Research Program.


James Jang

James was born in South Korea, but grew up in Gainesville, Florida. He graduated Summa Cum Laude from the University of Florida where he majored in Interdisciplinary Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. Prior to joining the DMD/PhD program at UF, he worked in multiple laboratories at the National Institutes of Health. When he was at NIH, he regularly attended NIDCR rounds to observe both basic and clinical studies presented by dentist scientists. Interactions with these investigators strengthened his desire to pursue the academic career in dentistry. While not working in the lab, he served as the president of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul at his Catholic Church. Every fifth Saturday of the year, he and his friends from the church and NIH served lunch meals to over one hundred homeless people and provided dental supplies to homeless shelters in Washington D.C.

After NIH, he joined Dr. Zsolt Toth’s laboratory at the University of Florida Department of Oral Biology as a research assistant. Dr. Toth had just moved to UF, and James helped set up the laboratory and established several methods to study Kaposi’s sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV), such as the homolog recombination system to make mutant and recombinant KSHV clones. This was a valuable experience for him, as he learned from the challenges of opening a basic science laboratory. In summer 2017, he was accepted into the DMD-PhD program at the University of Florida College of Dentistry.

While attending dental school, he continued working in Dr. Toth’s laboratory and was able to publish three abstracts and two papers as a co-first author and a co-author in virology journals. He also wrote a UFCD Student Seed Grant Application. The project the seed grant supported was the foundation for his current project and his NIH F30 application. In 2021, he was awarded UFCD High Research Honors Award and his NIH F30 application was selected for funding. He is currently doing his PhD study in Dr. Toth’s research group where he investigates the role of a unique group of KSHV genes, called viral interferon regulatory factors (vIRFs), in both viral replication and pathogenesis. This study is supported by his NIH F30 predoctoral fellowship. In addition to dental education and dissertation research, he has been actively involved with the AADOCR National Student Research Group. He served as the President, Vice President, Treasurer, and Historian of the UFCD Local Student Research Group (UF SRG) and he also served as the regional representative, Councilor, and currently as the President-elect of the National Student Research Group (NSRG). Through UF SRG, he strengthened the bridge between the UFCD dental students and the UF dental research faculty members by organizing multiple lunch and learn, dinner and learn events, and other meetings by working with various departments in UF College of Dentistry. Currently, while serving as the President of NSRG, he strengthens the network of dual degree students and dental academicians in the United States and Canada by organizing AADOCR/IADR conference sessions, networking events, workshops, research competitions and Zoom Q/A sessions. Through these activities, he aims to encourage dual degree students continue to pursue academic, research career paths.

During his free time, he enjoys scuba diving in Florida springs and beaches, as well as camping and hiking in the Georgia mountains.


2023 – UF Office of Research Travel Funding
2023 – UF CUR Travel Award
2022 – Present UF College of Medicine Office of Graduate Education Travel
2022 – Present; NIH NIDCR F30 Fellowship: Ruth L. Kirschstein Individual Predoctoral NRSA for DMD/PhD Fellowship (F30DE031956)
2019 – 2022; AADOCR Bloc Travel Grant (R13DE030343-01)
2018 – 2020; UFCD Student Seed Grant (00128778)
2017 – 2022; NIH NIDCR T90 Fellowship: Ruth L. Kirschstein Interdisciplinary Research Training Award (T90DE021990)


Jang SJ, Toth Z. Gene regulatory roles of vIRFs in KSHV infection. J Dent Res 102: Spec Iss A: Abstract 3822199, 2023, (
Golas JG, Jang SJ, Naik NG, Alonso JD, Papp B, and Toth Z. (2020) Comparative analysis of the viral interferon regulatory factors of KSHV for their requisite for virus production and inhibition of the type I interferon pathway. Virology, 2020 (541) p160-173 NIHMSID: NIHMS1548084.doi: 10.1016/j.virol.2019.12.011. (*equal contribution)
Papp B#, Motlagh N, Smindak RJ, Jang SJ, Sharma A, Alonso JD, and Toth Z# (2019) Genome-wide identification of direct RTA targets reveals key host factors for KSHV lytic reactivation. Journal of Virology, J Virol. 2018 Dec 12. pii: JVI.01978-18. doi: 10.1128/JVI.01978-18. [Epub ahead of print] PMID: 30541837 (#corresponding)
Yoo KH, Kang K, Feuermann Y, Jang SJ, Robinson GW, Hennighausen L. The STAT5-regulated miR-193b locus restrains mammary stem and progenitor cell activity and alveolar differentiation. Dev Biol. 2014; 395(2):245-54. PMID 25236432
Robinson GW, Kang K, Yoo KH, Tang Y, Zhu BM, Yamaji D, Colditz V, Jang SJ, Gronostajski RM, Hennighausen L. Coregulation of genetic programs by the transcription factors NFIB and STAT5. Mol Endocrinol. 2014; 28(5):758-67. PMID: 24678731
Feuermann Y, Kang K, Gavrilova O, Haetscher N, Jang SJ, Yoo KH, Jiang C, Gonzalez FJ, Robinson GW, Hennighausen L. MiR-193b and miR-365-1 are not required for the development and function of brown fat in the mouse. RNA Biol. 2013; 10(12):1807-14. PMID: 24356587


Jang SJ, Alonso JD, Papp B, Toth Z. Revealing Critical Immunoregulatory Domains of vIRF1 for HHV8 oral infection. J Dent Res 99: Spec Iss A: Abstract 3320766, 2020, (
Jang SJ, Alonso JD, Glickman K, Papp B, Toth Z. Immunoregulatory Roles of the KSHV Viral Proteins during Oral Infection. J Dent Res 98: Spec Iss A: Abstract 3180877, 2019, (
Jang SJ, Papp B, Toth Z. Role of the KSHV vIRFs in viral replication and pathogenesis. J Dent Res 97: Spec Iss A: Abstract 2851566, 2018, (
Jang SJ, Toth Z. Dissecting vIRF1 Protein Domains Supporting Oral Herpesvirus Lytic Replication. J Dent Res 101: Spec Iss A: Abstract 3663346, 2022, (
Jang SJ, Atyeo N, Chae MY, Papp, B, Toth Z. Gene regulatory mechanisms of viral interferon regulatory factor 1. J Dent Res 100: Spec Iss A: Abstract 3570448, 2021, (