Yoojin J. Choi, Ph.D.

Professor of Biology

Dr. Yoojin Choi is new to PLNU in 2022, bringing 15 years of teaching experience in various settings. She grew up in Southern California and feels blessed to be back in SoCal now with her family. From 2014 to 2022, Choi taught in the biology department at North Park University, a Christian liberal arts college in Chicago, and served as department chair in the last two years. She taught introductory human anatomy, advanced human physiology, neuroscience, cancer biology, and peer instruction in biology. An interesting experience during this time was serving as the Professor in Residence at a sister school in Sweden, in charge of study-abroad students in Fall, 2019. Prior to 2014, she taught genetics and the two-semester sequence of human anatomy and physiology at California Baptist University. She also taught summer courses at Korea University and Seoul National University. Choi's first teaching position out of graduate school was at Phillips Exeter Academy where she learned to practice student-centered and collaborative teaching and learning.

Choi holds a PhD in Neurobiology from Harvard University. She describes her neurobiology training as "cell biology using developing neurons." She has supported undergraduate research using Chlamydomonas reinhardtii, a mixotrophic algal species with proteins on their flagella that share similarities with human proteins. She plans to continue supporting undergraduate research if students are interested in working with chlamies. Choi is excited to invite PLNU students into hands-on and student-centered learning in the classroom and in the research lab.

  • 2024 Excellence in Teaching Award


  • Ph.D., Neurobiology, Harvard University

  • B.S., Biological Sciences, University of California, Irvine

Courses Taught

With PLNU:

  • Human Anatomy and Physiology I – BIO 1030

  • Human Anatomy and Physiology II – BIO 1040

  • Neuroscience – BIO 4070

  • University NOW Program

With Other Universities:

  • Advanced Human Physiology

  • Pedagogy Research in Biology

  • Cancer Biology

  • Genetics

  • Advanced Biology

  • Writing in Biology

  • General Biology

Professional and Community Involvement

  • Mentoring student researchers 2015 - present
  • Partnership for Undergraduate Life Science Education
  • Society for Neuroscience
  • American Scientific Affiliation
  • National Science Teachers Association
  • Society for College Science Teachers
  • National Biology Teachers Association

Dissertations, Presentations, and Publications

  • Choi Y (2021) Why I am Abandoning Online Test Monitoring. Christian Scholars Review Mar 10, 2021.
  • Choi Y and Schau M. (2015) Faith Forward: Turning Faith of the Heart into Action. North Parker 75,2:16.
  • Choi Y and Jang, J. (2014) Why Do Best Schools Focus On Character? Seoul : Dasan Books.
  • Chan JA, Balasubramanian S, Witt RM, Nazemi KJ, Choi Y, Pazyra-Murphy MF, Walsh CO, Thompson M, Segal RA. (2009) Proteoglycan interactions with Sonic Hedgehog specify mitogenic responses. Nat. Neurosci. 12:409-17.
  • Zhou P, Porcionatto M, Pilapil M, Chen Y, Choi Y, Tolias KF, Bikoff JB, Hong EJ, Greenberg ME, Segal RA. (2007) Polarized signaling endosomes coordinate BNDF-induced chemotaxis of cerebellar precursors. Neuron. 55:53-68.
  • Choi Y, Borghesani P, Chen JA, Segal RA. (2005) Migration from a mitogenic niche promotes cell-cycle exit. Development. 25:10437-45.
  • Rubin J, Choi Y, Segal RA. (2002) Cerebellar proteoglycans regulate Sonic Hedgehog responses during development. Development. 129:223-32.
  • Qian Y, Fritzsch B, Shirasawa S, Chen CL, Choi Y, Ma Q. (2001) Formation of brainstem (nor)adrenergic centers and first-order relay visceral sensory neurons is dependent on homeodomain protein Rnx/Tlx3. Genes Dev. 15:2533-45.
  • Linster C, Johnson BA, Yue E, Morse A, Xu Z, Hingco EE, Choi Y, Choi M, Messiha A, Leon M. (2001) Perceptual correlates of neural representations evoked by odorant enantiomers. J Neurosci. 21:9837-43.
  • Small Group Facilitator, Lilly Fellows Program National Conference “Science, Faith and the Common Good”, Boston, MA Oct 2021
  • Speaker, Opening Convocation, North Park University, Chicago, IL 2008 & 2021
  • “Putting Students in the Teacher’s Shoes”  Associated Colleges of the Chicago Area Symposium on Pedagogy, Joliet, IL Nov 2018
  • Guest lecture: “Neuroscience and Faith” Introduction to Theology course at North Park University, Chicago, IL Oct 2018
  • “Putting Students in the Teacher’s Shoes” Society of College Science Teachers sponsored presentation, National Science Teachers Association National Conference, Reno, NV Oct 2018
  • Keynote speaker, Michigan Korean-American School Association Annual Seminar, Detroit, MI Sep 2018
  • “A team-taught bioethics class increases student responsibility, analytical skills, and empathy.” PULSE Midwest and Great Plains Regional Conference, Chicago, IL Aug 2018
  • Science Career Presenter, Girls Who Code, Chicago, IL Jul 2018
  • Presenter, Noble Charter School Network Chicago STEM Expo, Chicago, IL 2016 & 2017
  • Respondent to Dr. Elaine Howard-Ecklund on Science and Religion Campus Theme “What is Truth?” Event, North Park University, Chicago, IL Apr 2016
  • “Educating the Whole Person” Education Department of South Korea, and other venues