Na Yeon Kim focuses her practice on patent litigation and prosecution in the life sciences sector. She also provides counsel to clients in global transactional and diligence matters relating to IP portfolio development, freedom-to-operate/landscape analysis, licensing, enforcement, and valuation/monetization in the context of mergers & acquisitions, as well as portfolio company investment strategies.

Dr. Kim has extensive research experience. She joined WilmerHale in 2020 after serving as a postdoctoral research scientist at Stanford University’s Südhof Laboratory, where, under the supervision of Nobel Prize–winning researcher Dr. Thomas C. Südhof, she studied Alzheimer’s disease genetic risk factors. Prior to her post-doctoral fellowship, Dr. Kim researched the optogenetic control of biological dynamics in live cells and patented a method of protein tagging. 


  • Kim, N. Y.*, Lee, S.*,†, Kim, N., Park, H. R., Heo, W. D.† Optogenetic control of mRNA localization and translation in live cells. Nature Cell Biology 22, 341-352 (2020). (*Co-first author, †Co‐corresponding author)
  • Park, H.*, Kim, N. Y.*, Lee, S., Kim, N., Heo, W. D. Optogenetic protein clustering through fluorescent protein tagging and extension of CRY2. Nature Communications 8, 30 (2017). (*Co-first author)
  • Kyung, T.*, Lee, S.*, Kim, J. E., Cho, T., Park, H., Jeong, Y.-M., Kim, D., Shin, A., Kim, S., Baek, J., Kim, J., Kim, N. Y., Woo, D., Chae, S., Kim, C.-H., Shin, H.-S., Han, Y.-M, Kim, D., and Heo, W. D. Optogenetic control of endogenous Ca2+channels in vivo. Nature Biotechnology 33, 1092 (2015). Cover Article. This article was recommended by the faculty of 1000.
  • Lee, S.*, Park, H.*, Kyung, T., Kim, N. Y., Kim, S., Kim, J., and Heo, W. D. Reversible protein inactivation by optogenetic trapping in cells. Nature Methods 11, 633 (2014). This article was highlighted by Nature Methods.


  • Education

    • JD, Santa Clara University School of Law, 2023

    • PhD, Biological Sciences, Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST), 2018

      Outstanding Dissertation Award
    • BS, Biological Sciences, Pennsylvania State University, 2012

  • Admissions

    • California

    • US Patent and Trademark Office

  • Languages

    • Korean



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