KAIST researchers led by Professor Wonho Choe revealed that an ionized gas jet blowing onto water, also known as a ｀plasma jet´, produces a more stable interaction with the water´s surface compared to a neutral gas jet. This finding was reported in Nature.
KAIST Professor Do Hyun Kim and his team developed a novel nanofiber production technique called ‘centrifugal multispinning’ that has many potential applications including the development of face mask filters for coronavirus protection.
A KAIST research group led by Distinguished Professor Sang Yup Lee reported the complete biosynthesis of carminic acid from glucose in engineered Escherichia coli. The strategies will be useful for the food, pharmaceutical, and cosmetic industries.
The M3I3 Initiative at KAIST has led to new insights into advancing materials development by implementing breakthroughs in materials imaging that have created a paradigm shift in the discovery of materials.
KAIST researchers led by Professor Min Seok Jang and their collaborators at home and abroad have successfully demonstrated a new methodology for direct near-field optical imaging of acoustic graphene plasmon fields.
A self-made elderly couple in their 90s, Chairman of Samsung Brush Sung-Hwan Chang and his wife Ha-Ok Ahn, made a 20 billion KRW donation to KAIST on March 13.
KAIST’s 17th President Kwang Hyung Lee reaffirmed his commitment to building a new future preparing for the post-AI era during his inauguration on March 8.
- Somatic mutations found only in brain cells disrupt synaptic function. - Schizophrenia is a neurodevelopmental disorder that disrupts brain activity, producing hallucinations, delusions, and other cognitive disturbances. Researchers have long searched for genetic influences in the disease, but genetic mutations have been identified in only a small fraction—fewer than a quarter—of sequenced patients. Now a study shows that “somatic” gene mutations in brain cells could account for some of the disease’s neuropathology. The results of the study, led by Professor Jeong Ho Lee at the Graduate School of Medical Science and Engineering in collaboration with the Stanley Medical Research Institute in the US, appeared in Biological Psychiatry. Traditional genetic mutations, called germline mutations, occur in sperm or egg cells and are passed on to offspring by their parents. Somatic mutations, in contrast, occur in an embryo after fertilization, and they can show up throughout the body or in isolated pockets of tissues, making them much harder to detect from blood or saliva samples, which are typically used for such sequencing studies. Recently, more-advanced genetic sequencing techniques have allowed researchers to detect somatic mutations and studies have shown that even mutations present at very low levels can have functional consequences. A previous study hinted that brain somatic mutations were associated with schizophrenia, but it was not powerful enough to cement an association between brain somatic mutations and schizophrenia. In the current study, the researchers used deep whole-exome sequencing to determine the genetic code of all exomes, the parts of genes that encode proteins. The scientists sequenced postmortem samples from brain, liver, spleen, or heart tissue of 27 people with schizophrenia and 31 control participants allowing them to compare the sequences in the two tissues. Using a powerful analytic technique, the team identified an average of 4.9 somatic single-nucleotide variants, or mutations, in brain samples from people with schizophrenia, and 5.6 somatic single-nucleotide variants in brain samples from control subjects. Although there were no significant quantitative differences in somatic single-nucleotide variants between schizophrenia and control tissue samples, the researchers found that the mutations in schizophrenia patients were found in genes already associated with schizophrenia. Of the germline mutations that had previously been associated with schizophrenia, the genes affected encode proteins associated with synaptic neural communication, particularly in a brain region called the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex. In the new analysis, the researchers determined which proteins might be affected by the newly identified somatic mutations. Remarkably, a protein called GRIN2B emerged as highly affected and two patients with schizophrenia carried somatic mutations on the GRIN2B gene itself. GRIN2B is a protein component of NMDA-type glutamate receptors, which are critical for neural signaling. Faulty glutamate receptors have long been suspected of contributing to schizophrenia pathology; GRIN2B ranks among the most-studied genes in schizophrenia. The somatic mutations identified in the study had a variant allele frequency of only ~1%, indicating that the mutations were rare among brain cells as a whole. Nevertheless, they have the potential to create widespread cortical dysfunction. Professor Lee said, “Besides the comprehensive genetic analysis of brain-only mutations in postmortem tissues from schizophrenia patients, this study experimentally showed the biological consequence of identified somatic mutations, which led to neuronal abnormalities associated with schizophrenia. Thus, this study suggests that brain somatic mutations can be a hidden major contributor to schizophrenia and provides new insights into the molecular genetic architecture of schizophrenia. John Krystal, MD, editor of Biological Psychiatry, said of the work, "The genetics of schizophrenia has received intensive study for several decades. Now a new possibility emerges, that in some cases, mutations in the DNA of brain cells contributes to the biology of schizophrenia. Remarkably this new biology points to an old schizophrenia story: NMDA glutamate receptor dysfunction. Perhaps the path through which somatic mutations contribute to schizophrenia converges with other sources of abnormalities in glutamate signaling in this disorder." Professor Lee and the team next want to assess the functional consequences of the somatic mutations. Because of the location of the GRIN2B mutations found in schizophrenia patients, the researchers hypothesized that they might interfere with the receptors’ localization on neurons. Experiments on the cortical neurons of mice showed that the mutations indeed disrupted the receptors’ usual localization to dendrites, the “listening” ends of neurons, which in turn prevented the formation of normal synapses in the neurons. This finding suggests that the somatic mutations could disrupt neural communication, contributing to schizophrenia pathology. - Profile: Professor Jeong Ho Lee Translational Neurogenetics Laboratory ( https://tnl.kaist.ac.kr/) The Graduate School of Medical Science and Engineering KAIST (END)
- The collective intelligence and technological innovation of KAIST was highlighted with case studies including the Post-COVID-19 New Deal R&D Initiative Project. - KAIST’s innovative academic achievements and R&D efforts for addressing the world’s greatest challenges such as the COVID-19 pandemic were featured in ACS Nano as part of its special virtual issue commemorating the 50th anniversary of KAIST. The issue consisted of 14 review articles contributed by KAIST faculty from five departments, including two from Professor Il-Doo Kim from the Department of Materials Science and Engineering, who serves as an associate editor of the ACS Nano. ACS Nano, the leading international journal in nanoscience and nanotechnology, published a special virtual issue last month, titled ‘Celebrating 50 Years of KAIST: Collective Intelligence and Innovation for Confronting Contemporary Issues.’ This special virtual issue introduced KAIST’s vision of becoming a ‘global value-creative leading university’ and its progress toward this vision over the last 50 years. The issue explained how KAIST has served as the main hub for advanced scientific research and technological innovation in South Korea since its establishment in 1971, and how its faculty and over 69,000 graduates played a key role in propelling the nation’s rapid industrialization and economic development. The issue also emphasized the need for KAIST to enhance global cooperation and the exchange of ideas in the years to come, especially during the post-COVID era intertwined with the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR). In this regard, the issue cited the first ‘KAIST Emerging Materials e-Symposium (EMS)’, which was held online for five days in September of last year with a global audience of over 10,000 participating live via Zoom and YouTube, as a successful example of what academic collaboration could look like in the post-COVID and 4IR eras. In addition, the “Science & Technology New Deal Project for COVID-19 Response,” a project conducted by KAIST with support from the Ministry of Science and ICT (MSIT) of South Korea, was also introduced as another excellent case of KAIST’s collective intelligence and technological innovation. The issue highlighted some key achievements from this project for overcoming the pandemic-driven crisis, such as: reusable anti-virus filters, negative-pressure ambulances for integrated patient transport and hospitalization, and movable and expandable negative-pressure ward modules. “We hold our expectations high for the outstanding achievements and progress KAIST will have made by its centennial,” said Professor Kim on the background of curating the 14 review articles contributed by KAIST faculty from the fields of Materials Science and Engineering (MSE), Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering (CBE), Nuclear and Quantum Engineering (NQE), Electrical Engineering (EE), and Chemistry (Chem). Review articles discussing emerging materials and their properties covered photonic carbon dots (Professor Chan Beum Park, MSE), single-atom and ensemble catalysts (Professor Hyunjoo Lee, CBE), and metal/metal oxide electrocatalysts (Professor Sung-Yoon Chung, MSE). Review articles discussing materials processing covered 2D layered materials synthesis based on interlayer engineering (Professor Kibum Kang, MSE), eco-friendly methods for solar cell production (Professor Bumjoon J. Kim, CBE), an ex-solution process for the synthesis of highly stable catalysts (Professor WooChul Jung, MSE), and 3D light-patterning synthesis of ordered nanostructures (Professor Seokwoo Jeon, MSE, and Professor Dongchan Jang, NQE). Review articles discussing advanced analysis techniques covered operando materials analyses (Professor Jeong Yeong Park, Chem), graphene liquid cell transmission electron microscopy (Professor Jong Min Yuk, MSE), and multiscale modeling and visualization of materials systems (Professor Seungbum Hong, MSE). Review articles discussing practical state-of-the-art devices covered chemiresistive hydrogen sensors (Professor Il-Doo Kim, MSE), patient-friendly diagnostics and implantable treatment devices (Professor Steve Park, MSE), triboelectric nanogenerators (Professor Yang-Kyu Choi, EE), and next-generation lithium-air batteries (Professor Hye Ryung Byon, Chem, and Professor Il-Doo Kim, MSE). In addition to Professor Il-Doo Kim, post-doctoral researcher Dr. Jaewan Ahn from the KAIST Applied Science Research Institute, Dean of the College of Engineering at KAIST Professor Choongsik Bae, and ACS Nano Editor-in-Chief Professor Paul S. Weiss from the University of California, Los Angeles also contributed to the publication of this ACS Nano special virtual issue. The issue can be viewed and downloaded from the ACS Nano website at https://doi.org/10.1021/acsnano.1c01101. Image credit: KAIST Image usage restrictions: News organizations may use or redistribute this image,with proper attribution, as part of news coverage of this paper only. Publication: Ahn, J., et al. (2021) Celebrating 50 Years of KAIST: Collective Intelligence and Innovation for Confronting Contemporary Issues. ACS Nano 15(3): 1895-1907. Available online at https://doi.org/10.1021/acsnano.1c01101 Profile: Il-Doo Kim, Ph.D Chair Professor firstname.lastname@example.org http://advnano.kaist.ac.kr Advanced Nanomaterials and Energy Lab. Department of Materials Science and Engineering Membrane Innovation Center for Anti-Virus and Air-Quality Control https://kaist.ac.kr/ Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) Daejeon, Republic of Korea (END)
Live tracking and analyzing of the dynamics of chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cells targeting cancer cells can open new avenues for the development of cancer immunotherapy. However, imaging via conventional microscopy approaches can result in cellular damage, and assessments of cell-to-cell interactions are extremely difficult and labor-intensive. When researchers applied deep learning and 3D holographic microscopy to the task, however, they not only avoided these difficultues but found that AI was better at it than humans were. Artificial intelligence (AI) is helping researchers decipher images from a new holographic microscopy technique needed to investigate a key process in cancer immunotherapy “live” as it takes place. The AI transformed work that, if performed manually by scientists, would otherwise be incredibly labor-intensive and time-consuming into one that is not only effortless but done better than they could have done it themselves. The research, conducted by the team of Professor YongKeun Park from the Department of Physics, appeared in the journal eLife last December. A critical stage in the development of the human immune system’s ability to respond not just generally to any invader (such as pathogens or cancer cells) but specifically to that particular type of invader and remember it should it attempt to invade again is the formation of a junction between an immune cell called a T-cell and a cell that presents the antigen, or part of the invader that is causing the problem, to it. This process is like when a picture of a suspect is sent to a police car so that the officers can recognize the criminal they are trying to track down. The junction between the two cells, called the immunological synapse, or IS, is the key process in teaching the immune system how to recognize a specific type of invader. Since the formation of the IS junction is such a critical step for the initiation of an antigen-specific immune response, various techniques allowing researchers to observe the process as it happens have been used to study its dynamics. Most of these live imaging techniques rely on fluorescence microscopy, where genetic tweaking causes part of a protein from a cell to fluoresce, in turn allowing the subject to be tracked via fluorescence rather than via the reflected light used in many conventional microscopy techniques. However, fluorescence-based imaging can suffer from effects such as photo-bleaching and photo-toxicity, preventing the assessment of dynamic changes in the IS junction process over the long term. Fluorescence-based imaging still involves illumination, whereupon the fluorophores (chemical compounds that cause the fluorescence) emit light of a different color. Photo-bleaching or photo-toxicity occur when the subject is exposed to too much illumination, resulting in chemical alteration or cellular damage. One recent option that does away with fluorescent labelling and thereby avoids such problems is 3D holographic microscopy or holotomography (HT). In this technique, the refractive index (the way that light changes direction when encountering a substance with a different density—why a straw looks like it bends in a glass of water) is recorded in 3D as a hologram. Until now, HT has been used to study single cells, but never cell-cell interactions involved in immune responses. One of the main reasons is the difficulty of “segmentation,” or distinguishing the different parts of a cell and thus distinguishing between the interacting cells; in other words, deciphering which part belongs to which cell. Manual segmentation, or marking out the different parts manually, is one option, but it is difficult and time-consuming, especially in three dimensions. To overcome this problem, automatic segmentation has been developed in which simple computer algorithms perform the identification. “But these basic algorithms often make mistakes,” explained Professor YongKeun Park, “particularly with respect to adjoining segmentation, which of course is exactly what is occurring here in the immune response we’re most interested in.” So, the researchers applied a deep learning framework to the HT segmentation problem. Deep learning is a type of machine learning in which artificial neural networks based on the human brain recognize patterns in a way that is similar to how humans do this. Regular machine learning requires data as an input that has already been labelled. The AI “learns” by understanding the labeled data and then recognizes the concept that has been labelled when it is fed novel data. For example, AI trained on a thousand images of cats labelled “cat” should be able to recognize a cat the next time it encounters an image with a cat in it. Deep learning involves multiple layers of artificial neural networks attacking much larger, but unlabeled datasets, in which the AI develops its own ‘labels’ for concepts it encounters. In essence, the deep learning framework that KAIST researchers developed, called DeepIS, came up with its own concepts by which it distinguishes the different parts of the IS junction process. To validate this method, the research team applied it to the dynamics of a particular IS junction formed between chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cells and target cancer cells. They then compared the results to what they would normally have done: the laborious process of performing the segmentation manually. They found not only that DeepIS was able to define areas within the IS with high accuracy, but that the technique was even able to capture information about the total distribution of proteins within the IS that may not have been easily measured using conventional techniques. “In addition to allowing us to avoid the drudgery of manual segmentation and the problems of photo-bleaching and photo-toxicity, we found that the AI actually did a better job,” Professor Park added. The next step will be to combine the technique with methods of measuring how much physical force is applied by different parts of the IS junction, such as holographic optical tweezers or traction force microscopy. -Profile Professor YongKeun Park Department of Physics Biomedical Optics Laboratory http://bmol.kaist.ac.kr KAIST
- A silicone membrane for wearable devices is more comfortable and breathable thanks to better-sized pores made with the help of citric acid crystals. - A new preparation technique fabricates thin, silicone-based patches that rapidly wick water away from the skin. The technique could reduce the redness and itching caused by wearable biosensors that trap sweat beneath them. The technique was developed by bioengineer and professor Young-Ho Cho and his colleagues at KAIST and reported in the journal Scientific Reports last month. “Wearable bioelectronics are becoming more attractive for the day-to-day monitoring of biological compounds found in sweat, like hormones or glucose, as well as body temperature, heart rate, and energy expenditure,” Professor Cho explained. “But currently available materials can cause skin irritation, so scientists are looking for ways to improve them,” he added. Attachable biosensors often use a silicone-based compound called polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS), as it has a relatively high water vapour transmission rate compared to other materials. Still, this rate is only two-thirds that of skin’s water evaporation rate, meaning sweat still gets trapped underneath it. Current fabrication approaches mix PDMS with beads or solutes, such as sugars or salts, and then remove them to leave pores in their place. Another technique uses gas to form pores in the material. Each technique has its disadvantages, from being expensive and complex to leaving pores of different sizes. A team of researchers led by Professor Cho from the KAIST Department of Bio and Brain Engineering was able to form small, uniform pores by crystallizing citric acid in PDMS and then removing the crystals using ethanol. The approach is significantly cheaper than using beads, and leads to 93.2% smaller and 425% more uniformly-sized pores compared to using sugar. Importantly, the membrane transmits water vapour 2.2 times faster than human skin. The team tested their membrane on human skin for seven days and found that it caused only minor redness and no itching, whereas a non-porous PDMS membrane did. Professor Cho said, “Our method could be used to fabricate porous PDMS membranes for skin-attachable devices used for daily monitoring of physiological signals.” “We next plan to modify our membrane so it can be more readily attached to and removed from skin,” he added. This work was supported by the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy (MOTIE) of Korea under the Alchemist Project. Image description: Smaller, more uniformly-sized pores are made in the PDMS membrane by mixing PDMS, toluene, citric acid, and ethanol. Toluene dilutes PDMS so it can easily mix with the other two constituents. Toluene and ethanol are then evaporated, which causes the citric acid to crystallize within the PDMS material. The mixture is placed in a mould where it solidifies into a thin film. The crystals are then removed using ethanol, leaving pores in their place. Image credit: Professor Young-Ho Cho, KAIST Image usage restrictions: News organizations may use or redistribute this image, with proper attribution, as part of news coverage of this paper only. Publication: Yoon, S, et al. (2021) Wearable porous PDMS layer of high moisture permeability for skin trouble reduction. Scientific Reports 11, Article No. 938. Available online at https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-020-78580-z Profile: Young-Ho Cho, Ph.D Professor email@example.com https://mems.kaist.ac.kr NanoSentuating Systems Laboratory Department of Bio and Brain Engineering https://kaist.ac.kr Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) Daejeon, Republic of Korea (END)
With the importance of non-contact environments growing due to COVID-19, tactile electronic devices using haptic technology are gaining traction as new mediums of communication. Haptic technology is being applied in a wide array of fields such as robotics or interactive displays. haptic gloves are being used for augmented information communication technology. Efficient piezoelectric materials that can convert various mechanical stimuli into electrical signals and vice versa are a prerequisite for advancing high-performing haptic technology. A research team led by Professor Seungbum Hong confirmed the potential of tactile devices by developing ceramic piezoelectric materials that are three times more deformable. For the fabrication of highly deformable nanomaterials, the research team built a zinc oxide hollow nanostructure using proximity field nanopatterning and atomic layered deposition. The piezoelectric coefficient was measured to be approximately 9.2 pm/V and the nanopillar compression test showed an elastic strain limit of approximately 10%, which is more than three times greater than that of the bulk zinc oxide one. Piezoelectric ceramics have a high piezoelectric coefficient with a low elastic strain limit, whereas the opposite is true for piezoelectric polymers. Therefore, it has been very challenging to obtain good performance in both high piezoelectric coefficients as well as high elastic strain limits. To break the elastic limit of piezoelectric ceramics, the research team introduced a 3D truss-like hollow nanostructure with nanometer-scale thin walls. According to the Griffith criterion, the fracture strength of a material is inversely proportional to the square root of the preexisting flaw size. However, a large flaw is less likely to occur in a small structure, which, in turn, enhances the strength of the material. Therefore, implementing the form of a 3D truss-like hollow nanostructure with nanometer-scale thin walls can extend the elastic limit of the material. Furthermore, a monolithic 3D structure can withstand large strains in all directions while simultaneously preventing the loss from the bottleneck. Previously, the fracture property of piezoelectric ceramic materials was difficult to control, owing to the large variance in crack sizes. However, the research team structurally limited the crack sizes to manage the fracture properties. Professor Hong’s results demonstrate the potential for the development of highly deformable ceramic piezoelectric materials by improving the elastic limit using a 3D hollow nanostructure. Since zinc oxide has a relatively low piezoelectric coefficient compared to other piezoelectric ceramic materials, applying the proposed structure to such components promised better results in terms of the piezoelectric activity. “With the advent of the non-contact era, the importance of emotional communication is increasing. Through the development of novel tactile interaction technologies, in addition to the current visual and auditory communication, mankind will enter a new era where they can communicate with anyone using all five senses regardless of location as if they are with them in person,” Professor Hong said. “While additional research must be conducted to realize the application of the proposed designs for haptic enhancement devices, this study holds high value in that it resolves one of the most challenging issues in the use of piezoelectric ceramics, specifically opening new possibilities for their application by overcoming their mechanical constraints. The research was reported in Nano Energy and supported by the Ministry of Science and ICT, the Korea Research Foundation, and the KAIST Global Singularity Research Project. -Profile: Professor Seungbum Hong firstname.lastname@example.org http://mii.kaist.ac.kr/ Department of Materials Science and Engineering KAIST
The Mobile Clinic Module (MCM), an inflatable negative pressure ward building system developed by the Korea Aid for Respiratory Epidemic (KARE) initiative at KAIST, gained international acclaim by winning the prestigious Red Dot Design Award and IF Design Award. The MCM was recognized as one of the Red Dot Product Designs of the Year. It also won four IF Design Awards in communication design, interior architecture, user interface, and user experience. Winning the two most influential design awards demonstrates how product design can make a valuable contribution to help contain pandemics and reflects new consumer trends for dealing with pandemics. Designed to be patient friendly, even in the extreme medical situations such as pandemics or triage, the MCM is the result of collaborations among researchers in a variety of fields including mechanical engineering, computing, industrial and systems engineering, medical hospitals, and engineering companies. The research team was led by Professor Tek-Jin Nam from the Department of Industrial Design. The MCM is expandable, moveable, and easy to store through a combination of negative pressure frames, air tents, and multi-functional panels. Positive air pressure devices supply fresh air from outside the tent. An air pump and controller maintain air beam pressure, while filtering exhausted air from inside. An internal air information monitoring system efficiently controls inside air pressure and purifies the air. It requires only one-fourth of the volume of existing wards and takes up approximately 40% of their weight. The unit can be transported in a 40-foot container truck. MCMs are now located at the Korea Institute of Radiological & Medical Sciences and Jeju Vaccine Center and expect to be used at many other facilities. KARE is developing antiviral solutions and devices such as protective gear, sterilizers, and test kits to promptly respond to the pandemic. More than 100 researchers at KAIST are collaborating with industry and clinical hospitals to develop antiviral technologies that will improve preventive measures, diagnoses, and treatments. Professor Nam said, “Our designers will continue to identify the most challenging issues, and try to resolve them by realizing user-friendly functions. We believe this will significantly contribute to relieving the drastic need for negative pressure beds and provide a place for monitoring patients with moderate symptoms. We look forward to the MCM upgrading epidemic management resources around the globe.” (END)
KAIST has joined hands with Israeli venture capital investor Yozma Group to help campus-based startups grow and build success. The two signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) on joint technology value creation initiatives at the signing ceremony that was held at KAIST’s main campus in Daejeon on April 8. Under the MOU, Yozma Group will make investments and implement acceleration programs for startups established by KAIST professors, graduates, and students, as well as those invested in by the university. Yozma Group already launched a $70 million fund to help grow companies in Korea and Israel. Yozma Group will use the fund as well as its global acceleration know-how and network of over 400 R&D centers across Israel to help promising KAIST startups enter overseas markets. Moreover, Yozma Group also plans to discover and support KAIST startups that need technology from the Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel’s leading multidisciplinary basic research institution in natural and exact sciences. KAIST is also in talks to locate Yozma Group’s branch office on the university’s campus to ensure seamless collaborations. KAIST President Kwang Hyung Lee explained to Yozma Group’s Founder and Chairman Yigal Erlich and Head of Asia Pacific Won-Jae Lee at the MOU signing ceremony that “startup and technology commercialization are the crucial areas where KAIST will make innovations.” “Cooperation with Yozma Group will help KAIST startups transform their ideas and technologies into real businesses and build a global presence,” he added. Yozma Group started as Yozma Fund, created in conjunction with the Israeli government in 1993 to support the globalization of Israeli startups and to foster the growth of Israel’s venture capital industry. The Fund, which was privatized in 1998, has supported 97 Israeli tech ventures joining the Nasdaq, leading Israel to become a global innovation hub that has the third-most companies listed on the Nasdaq. (END)
COVID-19 Task Force responds 24-7 and ISSS provides returning international students with a comfort package during 14-day mandatory quarantine In response to the upsurge of COVID-19 cases in the proximate college districts in Daejeon, KAIST announced the enforcement of stricter health and safety regulations. Korean health authorities expected another surge of COVID-19 cases this spring as Korea’s daily new COVID-19 cases have rebounded to the high 600s and over 700 in April, which is the most in over three months. New guidelines issued on April 5 banned faculty, staff, and students from engaging in off-campus activities and utilizing external public facilities. Such facilities include, but are not limited to, bars, cafes, clubs, gyms, karaoke rooms, PC rooms, restaurants, and other crowded indoor spaces. All class and research activities, work meetings, and school events were moved exclusively online, and working from home and flexible working hours were highly encouraged in order to minimize face-to-face interactions on campus. In particular, having meals outside of KAIST cafeterias in groups of two or more was prohibited, while food delivery and take-outs were allowed. Executive Vice President and Provost Seung Seob Lee said in a letter to the KAIST community on April 5 that “the school considers the risk of the current situation to be very high, likely the highest since the outbreak of COVID-19.” Provost Lee then called for more team efforts to contain the current phase of the pandemic and asked everyone to do their part. The school installed new temperature scanners equipped with hand sanitizer dispensers in front of the dormitory entrances to further control the spread of the disease on campus, following confirmed COVID-19 cases among dormitory residents. As the COVID-19 pandemic continues with no clear end in sight, the Task Force for the Prevention of COVID-19 and the International Scholar and Student Services (ISSS) Team at KAIST are working around the clock to reduce the risk of infection spread not only within the campus, but also coming from outside the campus. Under strict health and safety guidelines, KAIST has allowed international students to come back to campus. Currently about 600 international students, mostly graduate students reside on campus. All returning students should complete the mandatory 14-day self-quarantine required by the Korean government at their own expense. The KAIST COVID-19 Task Force is in charge of enacting on-campus health and safety guidelines, responding to reports and inquiries from the KAIST community 24-7, and controlling outsider access, among other responsibilities. The ISSS Team requires returning international students to fill out an entry authorization form and receive approval from the KAIST COVID-19 Task Force prior to returning to campus from their home countries. Once students arrive at their designated quarantine facility, the KAIST ISSS Team sends care packages, which includes some toiletries, instant food, a multipot, a thermometer, and other daily necessities. During the quarantine period, returning students are also advised to follow the directions given by government officials and to coordinate with the ISSS Team. The team also provides useful Korean phrases for international students to help them with communication. The self-quarantine period ends at 12 p.m. 14 days after arrival. Within two days of finishing the 14 days of self-isolation, these students are required to undergo a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test for COVID-19 at the nearest health center. After confirmed negative, they are allowed to move into on-campus accommodations. KAIST will maintain the current method of remote education and distancing methods until further notice. (END)
Professor Jihee Kim from the School of Business and Technology Management at KAIST was announced as one of two winners of the 2021 Robert E. Lucas Jr. Prize. Professor Kim was recognized for having provided an empirical analysis on engines of income growth, sources of income inequality, and their rich interplay in her paper published in the Journal of Political Economy (JPE) in October 2018. The co-author of this study, Professor Charles I. Jones at Stanford University, was honored to be another awardee of this year’s Lucas Prize. The Robert E. Lucas Jr. Prize, simply known as the Lucas Prize, is awarded biannually for the most interesting paper in the area of Dynamic Economics published in the leading economics journal JPE in the preceding two years. The prize was established in 2016 in celebration of the 1995 Nobel Prize in Economics Laureate Dr. Lucas’s seminal contributions to economics. The two former prizes were presented in 2019 and 2017 respectively. Professor Kim and Professor Jones, in their award-winning paper titled 'A Schumpeterian Model of Top Income Inequality', observed that top income inequality was relatively low and stable between 1960 and 1980, but then rose sharply in some countries, including the United States and the United Kingdom. The authors focused on entrepreneurial activities and the resulting income as the driving force of income inequality. They assumed that the forces that increased the efforts of fast-growing entrepreneurs to improve their products or increased productivity of their efforts could increase income inequality. On the other hand, the forces that enhanced creative destruction or that raised the rate at which high-growth entrepreneurs lost that status could decrease income inequality, according to the authors’ theory. Professor Kim explained, “Various economic forces due to globalization, the advancement in AI and IT technologies, taxes, and policies related to innovation blocking may explain the varied patterns in income inequality.” “Through follow-up research, I will continue developing economic theory models that can analyze the impact of changes such as income tax rates and salary negotiations on income inequality,” she added. Professor Kim received her bachelor’s degree from the KAIST School of Computing in 2005 and pursued her graduates studies at Stanford University, acquiring a master’s degree in economics in 2011 and a doctoral degree in management science and engineering in 2013. (END)
Professor Jae Kyoung Kim from the KAIST Department of Mathematical Sciences was appointed as the third Chief Investigator (CI) of the Pioneer Research Center (PRC) for Mathematical and Computational Sciences at the Institute for Basic Science (IBS). Professor Kim will launch and lead a new research group that will be devoted to resolving various biological conundrums from a mathematical perspective. His appointment began on March 1, 2021. Professor Kim, a rising researcher in the field of mathematical biology, has received attention from both the mathematical and biological communities at the international level. Professor Kim puts novel and unremitting efforts into understanding biological systems such as cell-to-cell interactions mathematically and designing mathematical models for identifying causes of diseases and developing therapeutic medicines. Through active joint research with biologists, mathematician Kim has addressed many challenges that have remained unsolved in biology and published papers in a number of leading international journals in related fields. His notable works based on mathematical modelling include having designed a biological circuit that can maintain a stable circadian rhythm (Science, 2015) and unveiling the principles of how the biological clock in the body maintains a steady speed for the first time in over 60 years (Molecular Cell, 2015). Recently, through a joint research project with Pfizer, Professor Kim identified what causes the differences between animal and clinical test results during drug development explaining why drugs have different efficacies in different people (Molecular Systems Biology, 2019). The new IBS biomedical mathematics research group led by Professor Kim will further investigate the causes of unstable circadian rhythms and sleeping patterns. The team will aim to present a new paradigm in treatments for sleep disorders. Professor Kim said, “We are all so familiar with sleep behaviors, but the exact mechanisms behind how such behaviors occur are still unknown. Through cooperation with biomedical scientists, our group will do its best to discover the complicated, fundamental mechanisms of sleep, and investigate the causes and cures of sleep disorders.” Every year, the IBS selects young and promising researchers and appoints them as CIs. A maximum of five selected CIs can form each independent research group within the IBS PRC, and receive research funds of 1 billion to 1.5 billion KRW over five years. (END)