Kim Wise, PhD

Senior Scientist

Dr. Kim Wise joined the JCVI Synthetic Biology and Bioenergy team in 2012 as a Senior Scientist, where he has pursued strategies to minimize and reconstruct synthetic bacterial genomes based on a naturally-occurring mycoplasmal prototype lacking a cell wall. He is particularly interested in understanding membrane dynamics, rudimentary requirements for division, and energy pathways in the context of minimal cellular life.

Kim is concurrently Emeritus Professor at the University of Missouri, Department of Molecular Microbiology and Immunology, where he has spent several years (since 1980) studying mycoplasma biology, comparative genomics and the consequences of localized genomic instabilities and mobile elements that promote cell surface variation within populations. Prior to entering this field, he acquired training in virology and membrane protein biochemistry during postdoctoral studies at the University of Zürich and the University of Alabama at Birmingham (USA). He holds a PhD degree in Biochemistry from the University of Southern California and a BS degree in Molecular Biophysics from Yale University.


Genetic requirements for cell division in a genomically minimal cell.
Cell. 2021-04-29; 184.9: 2430-2440.e16.
PMID: 33784496
Tuning Gene Activity by Inducible and Targeted Regulation of Gene Expression in Minimal Bacterial Cells.
ACS synthetic biology. 2018-06-15; 7.6: 1538-1552.
PMID: 29786424
Minimal Cells-Real and Imagined.
Cold Spring Harbor perspectives in biology. 2017-12-01; 9.12:
PMID: 28348033
Distinctive repertoire of contingency genes conferring mutation- based phase variation and combinatorial expression of surface lipoproteins in Mycoplasma capricolum subsp. capricolum of the Mycoplasma mycoides phylogenetic cluster.
Journal of bacteriology. 2006-07-01; 188.13: 4926-41.
PMID: 16788201
The Mycoplasma fermentans prophage phiMFV1: genome organization, mobility and variable expression of an encoded surface protein.
Molecular microbiology. 2004-06-01; 52.6: 1703-20.
PMID: 15186419
Localized reversible frameshift mutation in an adhesin gene confers a phase-variable adherence phenotype in mycoplasma.
Molecular microbiology. 1997-09-01; 25.5: 859-69.
PMID: 9364912
Molecular basis of Mycoplasma surface antigenic variation: a novel set of divergent genes undergo spontaneous mutation of periodic coding regions and 5' regulatory sequences.
The EMBO journal. 1991-12-01; 10.13: 4069-79.
PMID: 1721868
Phenotypic switching in mycoplasmas: phase variation of diverse surface lipoproteins.
Science (New York, N.Y.). 1990-01-19; 247.4940: 315-8.
PMID: 1688663