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Distinguished Professor Lee Receives 2018 George Washington Carver Award
(Distinguished Professor Lee) Distinguished Professor Sang Yup Lee from the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering will become the 11th recipient of the George Washington Carver Award. The award ceremony will be held during the 2018 Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO) World Congress on Industrial Biotechnology from July 16 through 19 at the Pennsylvania Convention Center in Philadelphia. The annual Carver award recognizes an individual who has made a significant contribution to building the bio-based economy by applying industrial biotechnology to create environmentally sustainable products. It serves as a lasting memorial to the original vision of George Washington Carver who, over a century ago, pioneered bio-based products, materials, and energy derived from renewable agricultural feedstock. Previous recipients include the founder and CEO of POET Jeff Broin, the CEO of DuPont Ellen Kullman, and Professor Gregory Stephanopoulos at MIT. Professor Lee is a pioneering scholar of systems metabolic engineering, leveraging technology to develop microbial bioprocesses for the sustainable and environment-friendly production of chemicals, fuels, and materials from non-food renewable biomass. He also serves as the dean of the multi-and interdisciplinary research center hub, KAIST Institute.Through his work, Professor Lee has garnered countless achievements, including being one of only 13 people in the world elected as a foreign member of both the National Academy of Sciences USA and the National Academy of Engineering USA. He has actively promoted the importance of industrial biotechnology through engagement with the public, policymakers, and decision makers around the world. He currently serves as the co-chairman of the Global Future Council on Biotechnology for the World Economic Forum and served as the Chairman of the Emerging Technologies Council and Biotechnology Council for the World Economic Forum. Upon the award announcement, Dr. Brent Erickson, executive vice president of BIO’s Industrial & Environmental Section lauded Professor Lee’s achievement, saying “Dr. Lee has advanced the bio-based economy by developing innovative products and processes that are sustainable and environmentally friendly. In doing so, he has become a leader in advocating on the importance of industrial biotechnology. His contributions to the advancement of the industry are a continuation of the legacy left behind by George Washington Carver.” Professor Lee thanked his research team who has worked together for the past few decades, adding, “Industrial biotechnology is becoming increasingly important to help achieve the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. We should continue to work together to advance the field and establish a solid foundation for the sustainable future.” The George Washington Carver Award is sponsored by the Iowa Biotechnology Association. Joe Hrdlicka, executive director of the Iowa Biotechnology Association, said, “Dr. Sang Yup Lee’s significant contributions to the advancement of industrial biotechnology make him the perfect recipient for the George Washington Carver Award. Having published more than 575 peer-reviewed papers, contributed to 82 books, and holding 636 patents, the culmination of Dr. Lee’s work has led to the establishment of sustainable systems for bio-based production of chemicals, fuels, and materials, thus reducing environmental impact and improving quality of life for all.”
Professor Hee-Sung Park Named Scientist of May
(Professor Hee-Sung Park) Professor Hee-Sung Park from the Department of Chemistry was named ‘Scientist of May’ sponsored by the Ministry of Science and ICT and the National Research Foundation of Korea. Professor Park was honored in recognition of his developing a tool to engineer designer proteins via diverse chemical modifications. This approach provides a novel platform for investigating numerous diseases such as cancer and dementia. His research focuses on the production of synthetic proteins and the generation of diverse protein functions as well as the designing and engineering of new translation machinery for genetic code expansion, and the application of synthetic biology techniques for basic cell biology and applied medical science. Post-translational modifications (PTMs) are constantly taking place during or after protein biosynthesis. PTMs play a vital role in expanding protein functional diversity and, as a result, critically affect numerous biological processes. Abnormal PTMs have been known to trigger various diseases including cancer and dementia. Therefore, this technology enables proteins to reproduce with specific modifications at selected residues and will significantly help establish experimental strategies to investigate fundamental biological mechanisms including the development of targeted cancer therapies. Professor Park also received 10 million KRW in prize money.
Professor Ju, to Receive Grants from HFSP
(Professor Young Seok Ju) Professor Young Seok Ju from the Graduate School of Medical Science and Engineering was selected as a young investigator to receive research funds from the Human Frontiers Science Program. The Human Frontiers Science Program (HFSP) was founded in 1989 with members of the G7 and European Union to stimulate innovative research in the field of life sciences. Professor Ju placed third out of the eight teams that were selected from 158 applicants representing 60 countries. He is now the fourth Korean to receive a research grant as a young investigator. Professor Jae Kyoung Kim from the Department of Mathematical Sciences also received this prize last year, hence KAIST has produced grant recipients for two consecutive years. Professor Ju is a medical doctor specializing in cancer genomics and computer biology. He has been studying somatic mutations and their functional consequences in human cancer in a bioinformatics way. He has published papers in international journals including Nature, Science, Genome Research, and Journal of Clinical Oncology. With a title ‘Tracing AID/APOBEC- and MSI-mediated hyper-mutagenesis in the clonal evolution of gastric cancer,’ Professor Ju will receive 1.05 million dollars for three years along with Professor Bon-Kyoung Koo from the Institute of Molecular Biotechnology at Austrian Academy of Sciences, and Sinppert Hugo from University Medical Center Utrecht. Professor Ju said, “As a young investigator, it is my great honor to receive this research fund from this organization. Through this internationally collaborative research, I will carry out groundbreaking research to understand the pathophysiology of cancers at a molecular level.”
Two Professors Receive the Asan Medical Award
(Professor Ho Min Kim and Chair Profesor Eunjoon Kim (from far right) Chair Professor Eunjoon Kim of the Department of Biological Sciences and Professor Ho Min Kim from the Graduate School of Medical Science & Engineering won the 11th Asan Medical Award in the areas of basic medicine and young medical scholar on March 21. The Asan Medical Award has been recognizing the most distinguished scholars in the areas of basic and clinical medicines annually since 2007. Chair Professor Kim won the 300 million KRW award in recognition of his research in the mechanism of synaptic brain dysfunction and its relation with neural diseases. The young medical scholar’s award recognizes a promising scholar under the age of 40. Professor Kim won the award for identifying the key protein structure and molecular mechanism controlling immunocytes and neurons. He earned a 50 million KRW prize.
The 8th KINC Fusion Research Awardees
The KAIST Institute for NanoCentury held the 8th KINC Fusion Research Award in order to encourage professors’ convergence studies and instill students’ willingness to research. The award ceremony took place in the KI Building at KAIST on March 13. The KINC Fusion Research Award selects the most outstanding convergence studies among research undertaken last year, and awards researchers who participated in that research. The 8th KINC Fusion Research Award went to Professor Yoon Sung Nam from the Department of Materials Science and Engineering and Professor Inkyu Park from the Department of Mechanical Engineering. Their research reported the spontaneous self-biomineralization of palladium (Pd) ions on a filamentous virus to form ligand-free Pd nanowires without reducing reagents or using additional surface stabilizers (Title: Virus-Templated Self-Mineralization of Ligand-Free Colloidal Palladium Nanostructures for High Surface Activity and Stability, Advanced Functional Materials (2017)). Professor Hee-Tae Jung, the Director of KAIST Institute for the NanoCentury and the host of the KINC Fusion Research Award said, “Convergence will be the crucial keyword that will lead to revolutionary change. Hence, the importance of convergence study should be improved. We will put every effort into creating a research environment for increasing convergence study. The KAIST Institute for the NanoCentury was established in June 2006 under the KAIST Institute with a mission of creating convergence study by tearing down boarders among departments and carrying out interdisciplinary joint research. Currently, approximately 90 professors from 14 departments participate the institute. It aims to become a hub of university institutes for nano-fusion research.
Developing Flexible Vertical Micro LED
A KAIST research team led by Professor Keon Jae Lee from the Department of Materials Science and Engineering and Professor Daesoo Kim from the Department of Biological Sciences has developed flexible vertical micro LEDs (f-VLEDs) using anisotropic conductive film (ACF)-based transfer and interconnection technology. The team also succeeded in controlling animal behavior via optogenetic stimulation of the f-VLEDs. Flexible micro LEDs have become a strong candidate for the next-generation display due to their ultra-low power consumption, fast response speed, and excellent flexibility. However, the previous micro LED technology had critical issues such as poor device efficiency, low thermal reliability, and the lack of interconnection technology for high-resolution micro LED displays. The research team has designed new transfer equipment and fabricated a f-VLED array (50ⅹ50) using simultaneous transfer and interconnection through the precise alignment of ACF bonding process. These f-VLEDs (thickness: 5 ㎛, size: below 80 ㎛) achieved optical power density (30 mW/mm2) three times higher than that of lateral micro LEDs, improving thermal reliability and lifetime by reducing heat generation within the thin film LEDs. These f-VLEDs can be applied to optogenetics for controlling the behavior of neuron cells and brains. In contrast to the electrical stimulation that activates all of the neurons in brain, optogenetics can stimulate specific excitatory or inhibitory neurons within the localized cortical areas of the brain, which facilitates precise analysis, high-resolution mapping, and neuron modulation of animal brains. (Refer to the author’s previous ACS Nano paper of “Optogenetic Mapping of Functional Connectivity in Freely Moving Mice via Insertable Wrapping Electrode Array Beneath the Skull.” ) In this work, they inserted the innovative f-VLEDs into the narrow space between the skull and the brain surface and succeeded in controlling mouse behavior by illuminating motor neurons on two-dimensional cortical areas located deep below the brain surface. Professor Lee said, “The flexible vertical micro LED can be used in low-power smart watches, mobile displays, and wearable lighting. In addition, these flexible optoelectronic devices are suitable for biomedical applications such as brain science, phototherapeutic treatment, and contact lens biosensors.” He recently established a startup company ( FRONICS Inc. ) based on micro LED technology and is looking for global partnerships for commercialization. This result entitled “ Optogenetic Control of Body Movements via Flexible Vertical Light-Emitting Diodes on Brain Surface ” was published in the February 2018 issue of Nano Energy. Figure 1. Comparison of μ-LEDs Technology
Three Professors Named KAST Fellows
(Professor Dan Keun Sung at the center) (Professor Y.H. Cho at the center) (Professor K.H. Cho at the center) The Korean Academy of Science and Technology (KAST) inducted three KAIST professors as fellows at the New Year’s ceremony held at KAST on January 12. They were among the 24 newly elected fellows of the most distinguished academy in Korea. The new fellows are Professor Dan Keun Sung of the School of Electrical Engineering, Professor Kwang-Hyun Cho of the Department of Bio and Brain Engineering, and Professor Yong-Hoon Cho of the Department of Physics. Professor Sung was recognized for his lifetime academic achievements in fields related with network protocols and energy ICT. He also played a crucial role in launching the Korean satellites KITSAT-1,2,3 and the establishment of the Satellite Technology Research Center at KAIST. Professor Y.H.Cho has been a pioneer in the field of low-dimensional semiconductor-powered quantum photonics that enables quantum optical research in solid state. He has been recognized as a renowned scholar in this field internationally. Professor K.H.Cho has conducted original research that combines IT and BT in systems biology and has applied novel technologies of electronic modeling and computer simulation analysis for investigating complex life sciences. Professor Cho, who is in his 40s, is the youngest fellow among the newly inducted fellows.
Ultra-Low Power Flexible Memory Using 2D Materials
(Professor Choi and Ph.D. candidate Jang) KAIST research team led by Professor Sung-Yool Choi at School of Electrical Engineering and Professor Sung Gap Im at the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering developed high-density, ultra-low power, non-volatile, flexible memory technology using 2D materials. The team used ultrathin molybdenum disulfide (MoS2) with atomic-scale thickness as the channel material and high-performance polymeric insulator film as the tunneling dielectric material. This research was published on the cover of Advanced Functional Materials on November 17. KAIST graduate Myung Hun Woo, a researcher at Samsung Electronics and Ph.D. candidate Byung Chul Jang are first authors. The surge of new technologies such as Internet of Things (IoT), Artificial Intelligence (AI), and cloud server led to the paradigm shift from processor-centric computing to memory-centric computing in the industry, as well as the increase in demand of wearable devices. This led to an increased need for high-density, ultra-low power, non-volatile flexible memory. In particular, ultrathin MoS2 as semiconductor material has been recently regarded as post-silicon material. This is due to its ultrathin thickness of atomic-scale which suppresses short channel effect observed in conventional silicon material, leading to advantages in high- density and low-power consumption. Further, this thickness allows the material to be flexible, and thus the material is applicable to wearable devices. However, due to the dangling-bond free surface of MoS2 semiconductor material, it is difficult to deposit the thin insulator film to be uniform and stable over a large area via the conventional atomic layer deposition process. Further, the currently used solution process makes it difficult to deposit uniformly low dielectric constant (k) polymeric insulator film with sub-10 nm thickness on a large area, thus indicating that the memory device utilizing the conventional solution-processed polymer insulator film cannot be operated at low-operating voltage and is not compatible with photolithography. The research team tried to overcome the hurdles and develop high-density, ultra-low power, non-volatile flexible memory by employing a low-temperature, solvent-free, and all-dry vapor phase technique named initiated chemical vapor deposition (iCVD) process. Using iCVD process, tunneling polymeric insulator film with 10 nm thickness was deposited uniformly on MoS2 semiconductor material without being restricted by the dangling bond-free surface of MoS2. The team observed that the newly developed MoS2-based non-volatile memory can be operated at low-voltage (around 10V), in contrast to the conventional MoS2-based non-volatile memory that requires over 20V. Professor Choi said, “As the basis for the Fourth Industrial revolution technologies including AI and IoT, semiconductor device technology needs to have characteristics of low-power and flexibility, in clear contrast to conventional memory devices.” He continued, “This new technology is significant in developing source technology in terms of materials, processes, and devices to contribute to achieve these characteristics.” This research was supported by the Global Frontier Center for Advanced Soft Electronics and the Creative Materials Discovery Program by funded the National Research Foundation of Korea of Ministry of Science and ICT. ( Figure 1. Cover of Advanced Functional Materials) (Figure 2. Concept map for the developed non-volatile memory material and high-resolution transmission electron microscopy image for material cross-section )
Professor Je-Kyun Park, Awarded by The Korean BioChip Society
On November 9, Je-Kyun Park from the Department of Bio and Brain Engineering at KAIST received an award from the 2017 Fall Meeting of The Korean BioChip Society held in Paradise Hotel Busan, Korea. This year’s meeting recognized Professor Park for developing lab-on-a-chip and microfluidic analytical technologies. The Korean BioChip Society is a corporation of biochip professional established in 2006 for the development of biochip technology. Every year, the Society selects a recipient based on the nominees’ academic achievements and contributions to bio-fusion industry. Professor Park served on the international editorial boards of renowned international journals in related fields, including Biosensors and Bioelectronics and Lab on a Chip. He was also the Committee Chairman of MicroTas in 2015.
In Jin Cho Earned the Best Poster Prize at ME Summit 2017
In Jin Cho, a Ph.D. student in the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at KAIST received the best poster prize at the International Metabolic Engineering Summit 2017 held on October 24 in Beijing, China. The International Metabolic Engineering Summit is a global conference where scientists and corporate researchers in the field of metabolic engineering present their latest research outcomes and build networks. At this year’s summit, about 500 researchers from around the world participated in active academic exchanges, including giving keynote speeches and presenting posters. During the poster session, the summit selects one person for the KeAi-synthetic and Systems Biotechnology Poster Award, two for Microbial Cell Factories Poster Awards, and three for Biotechnology Journal Poster Awards among the posters presented by graduate students, post-doctoral fellows and researchers. Cho received the KeAi-synthetic and Systems Biotechnology Poster Award. Her winning poster is on the biotransformation of p-xylene to terephthalic acid using engineered Escherichia coli. Terephthalic acid is generally produced by p-xylene oxidation; however, this process requires a high temperature and pressure as well as a toxic catalyst during the reaction process. Cho and Ziwei Luo, a Ph.D. student at KAIST, co-conducted the research and developed a successful biological conversion process. Compared to the existing chemical process, it does not require a high temperature and pressure; and it is environmentally friendly with a relatively high conversion rate of approximately 97%. Cho’s advisor, Distinguished Professor Sang Yup Lee said, “Further research on glucose-derived terephthalic acid will enable us to produce biomass-based eco-friendly terephthalic acid through engineered Escherichia coli.”
Distinguished Professor Lee Named International Fellow of the CAS
Distinguished Professor Sang Yup Lee from the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at KAIST was awarded the title of distinguished professor and international fellow from the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), and honorary professor from its affiliated organization the Tianjin Institute of Industrial Biotechnology (TIB). The CAS recognized Distinguished Professor Lee for his significant contributions to biotechnology. He has made significant pioneering academic achievements in the area of systems metabolic engineering, which produces useful chemicals from microorganisms. Not only did he develop the first and best source technology in that field, but also came out with processes for the production of biofuel and environmentally-friendly chemicals.” As a global leader in systems metabolic engineering, Distinguished Professor Lee has also been appointed as an honorary professor at Jiangnan University in Wuxi, China. Distinguished Professor Lee was listed in the ‘Top 20 Translational Researchers of 2014’ selected by the renowned international journal Nature Biotechnology. Moreover, he was the first Asian recipient of the James E. Bailey Award in 2016 and Marvin J. Johnson Award in 2012, which are given to scholars in the field of biotechnology. He is also one of 13 global scientists who are foreign members of the renowned academic societies the National Academy of Engineering and the National Academy of Sciences in the US. Furthermore, he received the ‘2017 Korea Best Scientist Award’ from the president of Korea in July. Finally, his founding field, systems metabolic engineering, was chosen as one of the ‘Top 10 Emerging Technologies of 2016’ by the World Economic Forum. The Chinese Academy of Sciences, established in November 1949, is an academic organization that carries out research on basic sciences and natural sciences in China. It defined its science and technology system to include the fields of basic sciences, natural sciences, and high technology. While having a base in Beijing, its branch academies are located in 12 main cities along with 117 affiliates and 100 national key labs.
Professor Jin Woo Kim Wins the 14th Macrogen Scientist Award
Professor Jin Woo Kim of the Department of Biological Sciences at KAIST received the 14th Macrogen Scientist Award at the 2017 KSMCB International Conference held in COEX on September 12, 2017. The award is given by the Korean Society for Molecular and Cellular Biology (KSMCB) and sponsored by Macrogen, a service provider of genome research. The award was established in 2004 to recognize biological scientists who have accomplished excellent performance in the field of basic life sciences. Professor Kim has achieved outstanding research performances on nerve development, such as identifying the cause of senile retinal degenerative disease and finding retinal nerve cells that distinguish light and darkness in dark conditions. Recently, he discovered intercellular communication, which controls the development of retinal neurons. His findings have contributed to addressing the principles of maintenance and regeneration of retinal neurons. Since joining KAIST, he has presented approximately 20 papers and published in numerous international journals including Cell Reports, Genes and Development, and EMBO Journal. Moreover, he delivered special lectures at international conferences, universities, and institutes around the world.
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