Kim was born and raised in South Korea and received his B. A. and M.S. degrees in chemistry and polymer chemistry from Hanyang University. Prior to attending Ph.D. program, he worked in Daelim Industrial, a petrochemical company in Korea, as a senior research scientist for 7 years. In 1998, Kim moved to Japan and began graduate studies in chemical synthesis at Tokyo Institute of Technology. Under the direction of Professor Fumie Sato, he was involved in the development of novel synthetic methodologies and synthesis of biologically active compounds. In particular Kim developed novel chiral building blocks to construct a number of multifunctional chiral acyclic and cyclic compounds by using organotitanium reagents, and obtained his Ph.D. degree in 2001. For his research and education, received the Japanese Government Monbusho Scholarship and Sasagawa Scientific Research Grant from the Japan Science Society.
From 2001-2004, Kim was a postdoctoral research associate in the laboratory of Professor Gary A. Sulikowski at Texas A&M University in college station, where he contributed to the total synthesis of hibarimicin B and congeners of a protein tyrosine kinase inhibitor. In 2004, Prof. Sulikowski moved his research group to Vanderbilt University where Kim was involved in the total synthesis of hibarimicin B, upenamide, and epothilone. In 2006, he joined the chemical synthesis core as a senior research specialist with an appointment as Research Assistant Professor of Chemistry. In 2011 he was promoted to Assistant Director of the Synthesis Core.