Photo of Hyo Won Ahn wearing a white blouse and smiling pleasantly

Hyo Won Ahn, PhD

I was born and raised in Seoul, South Korea. After graduating with a BS in animal science from Konkuk University, where I gained an interest in basic science research, I moved to the United States and completed an MS degree in physiology of reproduction at Texas A&M University. After graduation, I worked as a research associate in a reproductive genetics lab for several years. I studied transcription factors involved in primary ovarian insufficiency, a disease in which women's ovaries stop functioning prematurely, which often leads to infertility.

To pursue my interest in research further, I joined the Department of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology at the University of Georgia for my PhD research. During rotation, I was introduced to retrotransposons and became fascinated by their ability to copy themselves and jump to new locations in the host genome. I completed my thesis work in the lab of Dr. David Garfinkel, studying budding yeast retrotransposon Ty1, specifically yeast proteins regulating Ty1 copy numbers in the yeast genome. In 2019, I joined the lab of Dr. Henry Levin (Section on Eukaryotic Transposable Elements) here at NICHD to conduct my postdoctoral research on investigating human transposable elements as causal genetic variants of neuropsychiatric diseases.

I am very excited to serve as the basic science representative for NICHD fellows. I encourage our fellows to participate in the NICHD Fellows Advisory Committee, where your suggestions and voice will be heard! Also, I would love to hear from our fellows. As my career path shows, I have been in many situations where fellows with diverse backgrounds can relate to and understand the problems faced by fellows. Please contact me with any ideas, concerns, or questions. My email is

Our basic science representative is a postdoctoral fellow who serves on the NIH Fellows Committee (FelCom) on behalf of the institute's fellow population. Representative appointments last for 12 months and can be renewed for an additional year.

Responsibilities of the institute’s representative include attending all scheduled FelCom meetings, participating on a subcommittee, disseminating information to the fellows in their institute, communicating fellows’ concerns to the committee, and coordinating the distribution of information via subcommittees. For NICHD, our representatives also work closely with the Office of Education to plan events for all NICHD postdoctoral trainees.

If you would like more information about serving as a basic science or clinical postdoctoral representative, please contact Dr. Erin Walsh ( For information about serving on a FelCom subcommittee, contact one of the committee chairs directly.