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KAIST Professors Selected as Y-KAST Members
Professor YongKeun Park, Professor Bumjoon Kim, Professor Keon Jae Lee, and Professor Young Seok Ju were selected as the newest members of the Young Korean Academy of Science and Technology (Y-KAST). The Korean Academy of Science and Technology, an academic institution of professional experts, selected 26 promising scientists under the age of 43 to join Y-KAST. and four KAIST professors were included in the list. The newest members were conferred on February 26. Research Field Name Natural Sciences YongKeun Park (Dept. of Physics) Engineering Bumjoon Kim (Dept. of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering) Agricultural & Fishery Sciences Keon Jae Lee (Dept. of Materials Science and Engineering) Medical Sciences Young Seok Ju (Graduate School of Medical Science and Engineering)
Professor Il-Doo Kim Recevies the Song-gok Award
Professor Il-Doo Kim from the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at KAIST received the 20th Song-gok Science and Technology Award from Korea Institute of Science and Technology (KSIT). The Song-gok Science and Technology Award was established to praise the accomplishments of the first president, Hyung-seop Choi, whose penname is Song-gok. The award selects a recipient in the field of materials and technology every other year. Professor Kim, in recognition of his outstanding research and contributions to materials science in Korea, received the award during the 52nd anniversary ceremony of KIST on February 9. Professor Kim focuses on developing nanofiber gas sensors for diagnosing disease in advance by analyzing exhaled biomarkers with electrospinning technology. He has published more than 211 papers and has recorded more than 9,650 citations and 50 h-index. Professor Kim has registered 107 patents and applied 38 patents in Korea while registering 29 patents and applying 16 patents overseas. Also, he transferred four technologies in 2017. Professor Kim is recognized as one of the researchers who is leading nanofiber technology. On January 17, he made a keynote speech at the 5th International Conference on Electrospinning, which was his fourth keynote speech at that conference. Moreover, he received the Technology Innovation Award at the College of Engineering, KAIST on December 19, 2017. Professor Kim said, “It is my great honor to receive the Song-gok Science and Technology Award. I would like to bring distinction to KAIST by taking the lead in the commercializing a nanofiber-based highly sensitive nanosensors, diversifying and commercializing technology using nanofiber.”
CLKIP Bearing Fruit in China
The Chongqing Liangjiang KAIST International Program (CLKIP) is rapidly gaining steam in China. CLKIP, an educational program operated in Chongqing internationally by KAIST since 2015, offers two majors, Electronic Information Engineering and Computer Science and Technology, applying the same curriculum as at KAIST. To operate the program, KAIST assigns professors from the School of Electrical Engineering and the School of Computing to the program every year. They are in charge of one-third of the major courses, and transfer KAIST’s educational curriculum and know-how. A total of 13 professors from Chongqing University of Technology (CQUT) have received or are receiving training on advanced education methodologies and technical know-how, including an on and offline integrated learning program, called Education 4.0 and large-scale internet open learning.As CLKIP is gaining in popularity, the number of students for its undergraduate courses keeps increasing, from 66 in 2015 to 172 in 2016 and 200 students in 2017, achieving the student volume for enrollment annually. CLKIP selected seven exchange undergraduate students and five dual-degree students this fall, and they are currently studying in KAIST for either one semester or one full year. CLKIP is located in Chongqing, one of the major direct-controlled municipalities and a focal point for notable government projects. The Korea-China industrial zone is also located in this area. Considering its location, CLKIP is more than just an international programs for educational cooperation. The program will provide opportunities to cooperate with Korean enterprises including Hyundai, SK Hynix, LG Chem and Hankook Tire. While cooperating in research and development as well as technical assistance, KAIST hopes that these enterprises will play a bridging role for KAIST alumni entering the Chinese market. President Sung-Chul Shin said, “The success of CLKIP shows that KAIST programs for fostering future manpower and developing cutting-edge technologies do work in other countries. Based on this case, KAST will put more effort into transferring our innovative education systems abroad. We are also pushing ahead to establish a joint institute between KAIST and CQUT by 2018, which will become a foundation for facilitating the entry of KAIST’s cutting-edge technologies into the Chinese market.” “KAIST aims to become an entrepreneurial university that creates value through technology commercialization. In this sense, KAIST plans to transfer advanced technologies to domestic and international companies located in the Liangjiang district,” he added.
Scientist of November, Professor Hyung Jin Sung
Professor Hyung Jin Sung from the Department of Mechanical Engineering at KAIST received a ‘Science and Technology Award of the Month’ given by the Ministry of ICT and Science and the National Research Foundation of Korea for November 2017. He developed technology that can exquisitely control a micrometer-scaled liquid drop on a dime-sized lab-on-a-chip. With his work, he was recognized for reinforcing research capability on microfluidics. Lab-on-a-chip is an emerging experiment and diagnostic technology in the form of a bio-microchip that facilitates complex and various experiments with only a minimal sample size required. This technology draws a lot of attention not only from medical and pharmaceutical areas, but also the health and environmental field. The biggest problem was that technology for the temperature control of a fluid sample, which is one of the core technologies in microfluidics, has low accuracy. This limit had to be overcome in order to use the lab-on-a-chip more widely. Professor Sung developed an acoustic and thermal method which controls the temperature of a droplet quickly and meticulously by using sound and energy. This is a thermal method that uses heat generated during the absorption of an acoustic wave into viscoelastic substances. It facilitates a rapid heating rate and spatial-temporal temperature control, allowing heating in desired areas. In addition, Professor Sung applied his technology to polymerase chain reactions, which are used to amplify DNA. Through this experiment, he successfully shortened the reaction time from 1-2 hours to only three minutes, making this a groundbreaking achievement. Professor Sung said, “My research is significant for enhancing the applicability of microfluidics. I expect that it will lead to technological innovations in healthcare fields including biochemistry, medical checkups, and new medicine development.”
KAIST and KOICA Invited Dominican Republic Officials for Workshop
KAIST will host a two-week workshop for Dominican Republic officials and scholars in collaboration with KOICA (Korea International Cooperation Agency) beginning October 23 at KAIST. The workshop aims to encourage academia-industry cooperation as one of the Projects for Human Resource Development for Science and Technology at KOICA. Dominican participants including the assistant minister of the Ministry of Higher Education, Science and Technology (MESCYT) and deans of engineering colleges at major universities will enjoy lectures from experts and visit enterprises known for excellent academia-industry collaboration. According to the Center for Overseas Development, at which Professor WonJoon Kim in the School of Business and Technology Management at KAIST holds the position of director, the workshop is designed to develop human resources in the science and technology (S&T) area, share knowledge on research and development in the field of academia-industry cooperation, and help the participants acquire know-how for managing partnerships between related organizations and industries. During the workshop, KAIST plans to transfer know-how and share knowledge on its academia-industry cooperation R&D system, in hopes that the workshop will help the Dominican Republic foster its manpower in higher education. The workshop organizers hope that the officers and scholars will be able to apply what they will learn for establishing and carrying out detailed action plans for academia-industry cooperation policies in an effective manner. “This workshop provides an opportunity to learn about the development of S&T in Korea, academia-industry cooperation R&D, and fostering manpower in advanced S&T. Through the knowledge sharing, we can have a better understanding of academia-industry cooperation as well as education on advanced manpower,” said Pedro Antonio Eduardo, the assistant minister of MESCYT. He added, “I hope that this workshop will further detailed cooperation between the two countries for Korean high-tech enterprises’ overseas expansion and advanced manpower education. The development model in Korea has many essential elements, so learning its engine for growth and polytechnic manpower education will help develop my country’s industry sector.” The Project for Human Resource Development for Science and Technology is one of the official development assistance projects running from last year until 2019. It promotes R&D activities for S&T in the Dominican Republic, encouraging academia-industry cooperation by improving trainers in charge of advanced manpower education.
Structural Insights into the Modulation of Synaptic Adhesion by MDGA for Synaptogenesis
Synapses connected by various synaptic adhesion molecules are communication spaces between neurons for transmitting information. Among various synaptic adhesion molecules, neuroligins are arguably the most widely studied class of postsynaptic adhesion molecules, which mainly interact with presynaptic neurexins to induce excitatory or inhibitory synapse development. Recently, the membrane-associated mucin (MAM) domain-containing GPI anchor protein 1 (MDGA1) has been characterized as a key suppressor of Neuroligin-2/Neurexin-1β-mediated inhibitory synapse development, but how it acts remains a mystery. In a recent issue of Neuron, published on June 21, 2017, a research team led by Professor Ho Min Kim at the Graduate School of Medical Science and Engineering of KAIST reported the three-dimensional structure of MDGA1/Neuroligin-2 complex and mechanistic insights into how MDGAs negatively modulate synapse development governed by Neurexins/Neuroligins trans -synaptic adhesion complex. MDGA1 consists of six Ig-like domains, fibronectin type III repeat domain, and MAM domain . The crystal structure of MDGA1/Neuroligin-2 complex reveals that they form the 2:2 hetero-tetrameric complex and only the Ig1-Ig2 domains of MDGA1 are involved in interactions with Neuroligin-2. The structural comparison between the MDGA1/Neuroligin-2 and Neurexin-1β/Neuroligin-1 complexes intriguingly indicates that the Neuroligin-2 region binding to MDGA1 largely overlaps with that of Neurexin-1β, but the interaction interface of the MDGA1/Neuroligin-2 complex is much larger than that of the Neurexin-1β/Neuroligin-1 complex. This explains why Neuroligin-2 binds stronger to MDGA1 than Neurexin-1β, and how the favored MDGA1 binding to Neuroligin-2 sterically blocks the interaction between Neuroligin-2 and Neurexin-1β, which is critical for the suppression of inhibitory synapse development. “Although we found that MDGA Ig domains (Ig 1 and Ig 2) are sufficient to form a complex with NL2, other extracellular domains, including Ig 3–6, FN III, and MAM domains, may also contribute to stable cis-interactions between MDGA1 and Neuroligin-2 by providing conformational flexibility. Therefore, further structural analysis of full-length MDGA will be required,” Professor Kim said. Neuroligin-2 specifically promotes the development of inhibitory synapses, whereas neuroligin-1 promotes the development of excitatory synapses. Recently, not only MDGA1, but also MDGA2 have emerged as synaptic regulators for the development of excitatory or inhibitory synapses. In vitro biochemical analysis in this research clearly demonstrates that Neuroligin-1 and Neuroligin-2 bind to both MDGA1 and MDGA2 with comparable affinity. However, pull-down assays using detergent-solubilized mouse brain membrane fractions show the specific interaction of MDGA1 with Neuroligin-2, but not with Neuroligin-1. “This suggests that unidentified processes may dictate the selective association of MDGA1 with Neuroligin-2 in vivo , ” explained Professor Jaewon Ko at the Daegu Gyeongbuk Institute of Science and Technology (DGIST). A balance between excitatory and inhibitory synapses is crucial to healthy cognition and behavior. Mutations in neuroligins, neurexins, and MDGAs, which can disrupt the excitatory/inhibitory balance, are associated with neuropsychiatric diseases such as autism and schizophrenia. Jung A Kim at KAIST, first author in this study, said, “Our discovery from integrative investigations are an important first step both for a better understanding of Neuroligin/Neurexin synaptic adhesion pathways and MDGA-mediated regulation of synapse development as well as the development of potential new therapies for autism, schizophrenia, and epilepsy.”
KAIST Professors Sweep the Best Science and Technology Award
(Distinguished Professors Sang Yup Lee (left) and Kyu-Young Whang) Distinguished Professors Sang Yup Lee from the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering and Kyu-Young Whang of the College of Computing were selected as the winners of the "2017 Korea Best Science and Technology Award" by the Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning (MSIP) and the Korea Federation of Science and Technology Societies. The award, which was established in 2003, is the highest honor bestowed to the two most outstanding scientists in Korea annually. This is the first time that KAIST faculty members have swept the award since its founding. Distinguished Professor Lee is renowned for his pioneering studies of system metabolic engineering, which produces useful chemicals by utilizing microorganisms. Professor Lee has developed a number of globally-recognized original technologies such as gasoline production using micro-organisms, a bio-butanol production process, microbes for producing nylon and plastic raw materials, and making native-like spider silk produced in metabolically engineering bacterium which is stronger than steel but finer than human hair. System metabolism engineering was also selected as one of the top 10 promising technologies in the world in 2016 by the World Economic Forum. Selected as one of the world’s top 20 applied bioscientists in 2014 by Nature Biotechnology, he has many ‘first’ titles in his academic and research careers. He was the first Asian to win the James Bailey Award (2016) and Marvin Johnson Award (2012), the first Korean elected to both the US National Academy of Science (NAS) and the National Academy of Engineering (NAE) this year. He is the dean of KAIST institutes, a multi and interdisciplinary research institute at KAIST. He serves as co-chair of the Global Council on Biotechnology and as a member of the Global Future Council on the Fourth Industrial Revolution at the World Economic Forum. Distinguished Professor Whang, the first recipient in the field of computer science in this award, has been recognized for his lifetime achievement and contributions to the development of the software industry and the spreading of information culture. He has taken a pioneering role in presenting novel theories and innovative technologies in the field of database systems such as probabilistic aggregation, multidimensional indexing, query, and database and information retrieval. The Odysseus database management system Professor Hwang developed has been applied in many diverse fields of industry, while promoting the domestic software industry and its technical independence. Professor Hwang is a fellow at the American Computer Society (ACM) and life fellow at IEEE. Professor Whang received the ACM SIGMOD Contributions Award in 2014 for his work promoting database research worldwide, the PAKDD Distinguished Contributions Award in 2014, and the DASFAA Outstanding Contributions Award in 2011 for his contributions to database and data mining research in the Asia-Pacific region. He is also the recipient of the prestigious Korea (presidential) Engineering Award in 2012.
2017 World Friends ICT KAIST Sets Off to Ethiopia, Tanzania
KAIST launched the ‘2017 World Friends ICT KAIST’ on 21 June at a ceremony held at the Faculty Club. The event was attended by 40 student volunteers and faculty members including President Sung-Chul Shin and student volunteers. The ‘2017 World Friends ICT KAIST’ is an oversees volunteer program aimed at providing ICT education for students from developing countries and for cultural exchange. The program was organized by the KAIST Leadership Center and sponsored by the National Information Agency (NIA) since 2015. President Sung-Chul Shin delivered words of encouragement to start the opening ceremony, followed by an oath-taking by the volunteer group, safety training, and a commemorative photoshoot. This year’s World Friends ICT volunteer group consisted of 32 students and 2 staff members to lead and to support the team. The group was divided into eight teams including APP-frica, KAI-Tigers, and WITH (4 members per team) to volunteer in Addis Ababa Institute of Technology (AAIT) and Adama Science and Technology University in Ethiopia (ASTU), as well as Nelson Mandela African Institute of Science and Technology (NM-AIST) in Tanzania. The teams will educate local students on ICT and promote cultural exchanges. The volunteer period is from July 7 to August 5, lasting about a month. KAIST conducted primary document examinations and interviews from April 27 to May 18 on volunteer candidates who registered to take part, and selected 32 student volunteers. A total of 68 students registered to volunteer, resulting in a 1:2.1 competition rate. The volunteering program was customized to the local needs of Ethiopia and Tanzania and thus consisted of ICT education, cultural exchanges, volunteering at farms on the weekends, and science experiments. The area with the most focus by the volunteer team is ICT education, which accounts for 70% of the total volunteer activities. The aim is to educate Ethiopian students at AAIT and ASTU on Windows, MS Office, Adobe Photoshop, and using smartphones. In Tanzania, the team is to volunteer with students of NM-AIST to provide ICT application education such as water tank control using appropriate technology and Arduino to local high school students. The team is also planning to promote cultural exchanges by preparing K-Pop dancing, traditional Korean games such as Korean shuttlecock game (jegichagi) and Korean wrestling (ssireum), traditional cooking such as bibimbab and half-moon-shaped rice cake (songpyeon), and teaching the Korean language, as well as preparing cultural performances with local university students. On the weekends, the team will visit local farms to volunteer, and local elementary schools and orphanages to conduct science experiments for children, as well as physical education and art activities. (Photo caption: Volunteers poses with faculty and staff members including President Sung-Chul Shin at a ceremony on June 21.)
Dr. Sung-Chul Shin Selected 16th President of KAIST
(President Sung-Chul Shin) The KAIST Board of Trustees elected Professor Sung-Chul Shin of the Department of Physics the 16th president of KAIST on February 21. Professor Shin succeeds President Sung-Mo Kang whose four-year term will end on February 23. He is the first KAIST alumnus to serve as its president. The Board of Trustees announced, “We believe that Professor Shin’s scientific achievement, outstanding leadership, and clear vision will serve KAIST faculty, students, and staff very well. He will be the best person to help KAIST leap forward in the four years ahead.” The newly-elected president said, “I am humbled and honored to have been elected to lead such a prestigious institute of Korea. Aiming to be one of the top ten global universities, KAIST will continue to innovate its systems.” Previously, Dr. Shin led the Daegu Gyeongbuk Institute of Science and Technology (DGIST) for six years as president since 2011. Professor Shin joined the KAIST faculty in 1989. He graduated from Seoul National University and then earned his MS degree in condensed matter physics at KAIST in 1977. After earning his Ph.D. in material physics at Northwestern University in 1984, he worked at Eastman Kodak Research Labs as a senior research scientist for five years. Before heading to DGIST, President Shin held key administrative positions at KAIST from the early 1990s including dean of planning, dean of the international office, and vice-dean of student affairs. During President Robert Laughlin’s tenure, the first foreign president at KAIST, he served as vice-president for two years from 2004. He also served on the Presidential Advisory Council on Science and Technology of the Korean government as vice chairperson from 2015 to 2016. A renowned scholar in the field of nanoscience, President Shin’s research focuses on the artificial synthesis and characterization of nonmagnetic materials, magnetic anisotropy, and magneto-optical phenomena. He leads the Laboratory for Nanospinics of Spintronic Materials at KAIST and has published in 290 journals while holding 37 patents. A fellow in the American Physical Society (APS) since 2008, he was the president of the Korean Physical Society from 2011 to 2012. He has been on the editorial board of J. Magnetism and Magnetic Materials from 2009 and was the first Korean recipient of the Asian Union of Magnetics Societies (AUMS) Award, which recognizes outstanding scientists in the field of magnetics. President Shin envisions making KAIST’s research and education more competitive through continuing innovation. His innovation efforts will extend to the five key areas of education, research, technology commercialization, globalization, and future planning. Among his priorities, he emphasizes multidisciplinary studies and leadership training for students. He plans to focus on undeclared major courses for undergraduates to help them expand their experience and exposure to diverse disciplines. This approach will help create well-rounded engineers, scientists, and entrepreneurs by enabling them to develop skills while leveraging a strong connection to the arts, humanities, and social sciences. To better respond to Industry 4.0, which calls for convergence studies and collaborative work, he proposed establishing a ‘Convergence Innovation System’ by strategically selecting 10 flagship convergence research groups. In order to accelerate the technology commercialization and ecosystem of start-ups, he will strengthen entrepreneurship education, making it a prerequisite requirement for students. President Shin said he will spare no effort to incubate and spin-off ventures in which KAIST technology is being transferred. For globalization efforts, he plans to increase the ratio of foreign faculty from 9 percent to 15 percent, while doubling the current foreign student enrollment ratio of 5 percent. For future strategic innovation, he will implement a long-term innovation strategic plan dubbed ‘Vision 2031.’
JETS Conference 2017
KAIST and four science and technology research universities in Korea co-hosted a technology start-up fair, the 2017 JETS (Job, Exhibition, Tech Forum, and Startup) Conference January 19 ~20 in the Ryu Geun-chul Sports Complex at KAIST. Korea’s major science and technology research universities, Daegu Gyeongbuk Institute of Science and Technology (DGIST), Gwangju Institute of Science and Technology (GIST), Pohang University of Science and Technology (Postech), and Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology (UNIST), held the event in a collaborative effort to educate, inspire, and connect young entrepreneurs, especially those who will launch technology start-ups. The conference brought entrepreneurs and innovators together who seek ways of working with and supporting start-ups and for their sustainable growth. It also drew aspiring young students and researchers from universities and the government-funded research institutions who are in the process of commercializing their technology. Students from each university’s industry-academia cooperation program who incubated their technology and ideas were key contributors. At the Tech Forum, entrepreneurship and technology consultation specialists including Joe Jasin, managing director at DNA Investment Partners in the US, the founder of Cyworld Dong-Hyung Lee, and Professor Hawoong Jeong, a complex bio-network specialist from the Department of Physics of KAIST lectured on the ecosystem of start-ups and its trends and development. The Dean of University-Industry Cooperation at KAIST Joongmyeon Bae said, "We organized this event in collaboration with four major research universities to further encourage technology start-ups from young students and help their ideas and technology bear fruit. We will continue to strive to create an ecosystem of start-ups which works efficiently.” (Above photo: Founder of the Cyworld, Dong-Hyung Lee gives a lecture at the Tech Forum. Below photo: Students visit exhibition booth of each participating institution.)
KAIST Ph.D. Candidate Wins the Next Generation of Engineers Award
Joo-Sung Kim, a doctoral student at the EEWS (Environment, Energy, Water and Sustainability) Graduate School won the inaugural Next Generation of Engineers Award in Leadership on December 14, 2016. The National Academy of Engineering of Korea hosts this award to support creative and ambitious students who have the potential to become leaders in engineering and who will serve as role models for future Korean engineers. Based on the recommendations of university professors in engineering and members of the academy, seven students are selected for the award in the categories of leadership and entrepreneurship. With his research focus on the development of high-performance, next-generation secondary cells for wearable devices such as smart watches, health bands, and smart eyewear, Joo-Sung created a startup, Lithium-ion Battery Energy Science and Technology (LiBEST), Inc. He plans to base his company at the Office of University and Industry Cooperation, KAIST, where he can receive assistance for launching the mass-production system for his technology. His adviser, Professor Jang-Wook Choi of the EEWS Graduate School, noted, “Joo-Sung has been a great student who has a strong sense of curiosity and perseverance. The award is the by-product of his hard work.” “I have always enjoyed my work and study as a researcher, but eventually would like to expand my career into business based on the results of my research. It would be wonderful if I could become a businessman like Elon Musk, Masayoshi Son, or Ma Yun and create a role model for aspiring engineers in Korea by combining science and technology with business demand to create social values that benefit many people,” Joo-Young said.
EEWS Graduate School Team Receives the S-Oil Best Paper Award
Professor Hyungjun Kim and Dr. He-Young Shin from the EEWS (Energy, Environment, Water and Sustainability) Graduate School at KAIST received the Best Paper Award in Chemistry from S-Oil, a Korean petroleum and refinery company, on November 29, 2016. Established in 2011, the S-Oil Best Paper Awards are bestowed annually upon ten young scientists in the fields of five basic sciences: mathematics, physics, chemistry, biology, and earth science. The scientists are selected at the recommendation of the Korean Academy of Science and Technology and the Association of Korean Universities. The awards grant a total of USD 230,000 for research funding. Dr. Shin, the lead author of the awarded research paper, said, “My research interest has been catalyst studies based on theoretical chemistry. I am pleased to accept this award that will support my studies, and will continue to research catalyst design that can predict parameters and integrate them into catalytic systems.” Professor Hyungjun Kim (left) and Dr. He-Young Shin (right)
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