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Jellyfish removal robot developed
Professor Myung Hyun’s research team from the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at KAIST has developed a jellyfish removal robot named ‘JEROS’ (JEROS: Jellyfish Elimination RObotic Swarm). With jellyfish attacks around the south-west coast of Korea becoming a serious problem, causing deaths and operational losses (around 3 billion won a year), Professor Myung’s team started the development of this unmanned automatic jellyfish removal system 3 years ago. JEROS floats on the surface of the water using two long cylindrical bodies. Motors are attached to the bodies such that the robot can move back and forth as well as rotate on water. A camera and GPS system allows the JEROS to detect jellyfish swarm as well as plan and calculate its work path relative to its position. The jellyfish are removed by a submerged net that sucks them up using the velocity created by the unmanned sailing. Once caught, the jellyfish are pulverized using a special propeller. JEROS is estimated to be 3 times more economical than manual removal. Upon experimentation, it showed a removal rate of 400kg per hour at 6 knots. To reach similar effectiveness as manual net removal, which removes up to 1 ton per hour, the research team designed the robot such that 3 or more individual robots could be grouped together and controlled as one. The research team has finished conducting removal tests in Gunsan and Masan and plan to commercialize the robot next April after improving the removal technology. JEROS technology can also be used for a wide range of purposes such as patrolling and guarding, preventing oil spills or removing floating waste. This research was funded by the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology since 2010.
KAIST researchers verify and control the mechanical properties of graphene
KAIST researchers have successfully verified and controlled the mechanical properties of graphene, a next-generation material. Professor Park Jung Yong from the EEWS Graduate School and Professor Kim Yong Hyun from the Graduate School of Nanoscience and Technology have succeeded in fluorinating a single atomic-layered graphene sample and controlling its frictional and adhesive properties. This is the first time the frictional properties of graphene have been examined at the atomic level, and the technology is expected to be applied to nano-sized robots and microscopic joints. Graphene is often dubbed “the dream material” because of its ability to conduct high amounts of electricity even when bent, making it the next-generation substitute for silicon semiconductors, paving the way for flexible display and wearable computer technologies. Graphene also has high potential applications in mechanical engineering because of its great material strength, but its mechanical properties remained elusive until now. Professor Park’s research team successfully produced individual graphene samples with fluorine-deficiency at the atomic level by placing the samples in Fluoro-xenon (XeF2) gas and applying heat. The surface of the graphene was scanned using a micro probe and a high vacuum atomic microscope to measure its dynamic properties. The research team found that the fluorinated graphene sample had 6 times more friction and 0.7 times more adhesiveness than the original graphene. Electrical measurements confirmed the fluorination process, and the analysis of the findings helped setup the theory of frictional changes in graphene. Professor Park stated that “graphene can be used for the lubrication of joints in nano-sized devices” and that this research has numerous applications such as the coating of graphene-based microdynamic devices. This research was published in the online June edition of Nano Letters and was supported by the Ministry of Science, Technology, and Education and the National Research Foundation as part of the World Class University (WCU) program.
Systems biology demystifies the resistance mechanism of targeted cancer medication
Korean researchers have found the fundamental resistance mechanism of the MEK inhibitor, a recently highlighted chemotherapy method, laying the foundation for future research on overcoming cancer drug resistance and improving cancer survival rates. This research is meaningful because it was conducted through systems biology, a fusion of IT and biotechnology. The research was conducted by Professor Gwang hyun Cho’s team from the Department of Biology at KAIST and was supported by the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology and the National Research Foundation of Korea. The research was published as the cover paper for the June edition of the Journal of Molecular Cell Biology (Title: The cross regulation between ERK and PI3K signaling pathways determines the tumoricidal efficacy of MEK inhibitor). Targeted anticancer medication targets certain molecules in the signaling pathway of the tumor cell and not only has fewer side effects than pre-existing anticancer medication, but also has high clinical efficacy. The technology also allows the creation of personalized medication and has been widely praised by scientists worldwide. However, resistances to the targeted medication have often been found before or during the clinical stage, eventually causing the medications to fail to reach the drug development stage. Moreover, even if the drug is effective, the survival rate is low and the redevelopment rate is high. An active pathway in most tumor cells is the ERK (Extracellular signal-regulated kinases) signaling pathway. This pathway is especially important in the development of skin cancer or thyroid cancer, which are developed by the mutation of the BRAF gene inside the path. In these cases, the MEK (Extracellular signal-regulated kinases) inhibitor is an effective treatment because it targets the pathway itself. However, the built-up resistance to the inhibitor commonly leads to the redevelopment of cancer. Professor Cho’s research team used large scale computer simulations to analyze the fundamental resistance mechanism of the MEK inhibitor and used molecular cell biological experiments as well as bio-imaging* techniques to verify the results. * Bio-imaging: Checking biological phenomena at the cellular and molecular levels using imagery The research team used different mutational variables, which revealed that the use of the MEK inhibitor reduced the transmission of the ERK signal but led to the activation of another signaling pathway (the PI3K signaling pathway), reducing the effectiveness of the medication. Professor Cho’s team also found that this response originated from the complex interaction between the signaling matter as well as the feedback network structure, suggesting that the mix of the MEK inhibitor with other drugs could improve the effects of the targeted anticancer medication. Professor Cho stated that this research was the first of its kind to examine the drug resistivity against the MEK inhibitor at the systematic dimension and showed how the effects of drugs on the signaling pathways of cells could be predicted using computer simulation. It also showed how basic research on signaling networks can be applied to clinical drug use, successfully suggesting a new research platform on overcoming resistance to targeting medication using its fundamental mechanism.
The hereditary factor of autism revealed
Korean researchers have successfully investigated the causes and hereditary factors for autistic behavior and proposed a new treatment method with fewer side effects. This research was jointly supported by the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology and the National Research Foundation as part of the Leading Researcher and Science Research Center Program The research findings were publishing in the June edition of Nature magazine and will also be introduced in the July edition of Nature Reviews Drug Discovery, under the title ‘Autistic-like social behavior in Shank2-mutant mice improved by restoring NMDA receptor function’. The research team found that lack of Shank2 genes in mice, which are responsible for the production of synapse proteins, caused autistic-like behavior. The results strongly suggested that the Shank2 gene was linked to autistic behavior and that Shank2 deficiency induced autistic behaviors. Autism is a neural development disorder characterized by impaired social interaction, repetitive behavior, mental retardation, anxiety and hyperactivity. Around 100 million people worldwide display symptoms of autistic behavior. Recent studies conducted by the University of Washington revealed that 1 out of 3 young adults who display autistic behavior do not fit into the workplace or get accepted to college, a much higher rate than any other disorder. However, an effective cure has not yet been developed and current treatments are limited to reducing repetitive behavior. The research team confirmed autistic-like social behavior in mice without the Shank2 genes and that the mice had decreased levels of neurotransmission in the NMDA receptor. The mice also showed damaged synaptic plasticity* in the hippocampus**. * Plasticity: ability of the connectionbetween two neurons to change in strength in response to transmission of information **Hippocampus: part of the brain responsible for short-term and long-term memory as well as spatial navigation. The research team also found out that, to restore the function of the NMDA receptor, the passive stimulation of certain receptors, such as the mGLuR5, yielded better treatment results than the direct stimulation of the NMDA. This greatly reduces the side effects associated with the direct stimulation of receptors, resulting in a more effective treatment method. This research successfully investigated the function of the Shank2 gene in the nerve tissue and showed how the reduced function of the NMDA receptor, due to the lack of the gene, resulted in autistic behavior. It also provided new possibilities for the treatment of autistic behavior and impaired social interaction
Production of chemicals without petroleum
Systems metabolic engineering of microorganisms allows efficient production of natural and non-natural chemicals from renewable non-food biomass In our everyday life, we use gasoline, diesel, plastics, rubbers, and numerous chemicals that are derived from fossil oil through petrochemical refinery processes. However, this is not sustainable due to the limited nature of fossil resources. Furthermore, our world is facing problems associated with climate change and other environmental problems due to the increasing use of fossil resources. One solution to address above problems is the use of renewable non-food biomass for the production of chemicals, fuels and materials through biorefineries. Microorganisms are used as biocatalysts for converting biomass to the products of interest. However, when microorganisms are isolated from nature, their efficiencies of producing our desired chemicals and materials are rather low. Metabolic engineering is thus performed to improve cellular characteristics to desired levels. Over the last decade, much advances have been made in systems biology that allows system-wide characterization of cellular networks, both qualitatively and quantitatively, followed by whole-cell level engineering based on these findings. Furthermore, rapid advances in synthetic biology allow design and synthesis of fine controlled metabolic and gene regulatory circuits. The strategies and methods of systems biology and synthetic biology are rapidly integrated with metabolic engineering, thus resulting in "systems metabolic engineering". In the paper published online in Nature Chemical Biology on May 17, Professor Sang Yup Lee and his colleagues at the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST), Daejeon, Korea present new general strategies of systems metabolic engineering for developing microorganisms for the production of natural and non-natural chemicals from renewable biomass. They first classified the chemicals to be produced into four categories based on whether they have thus far been identified to exist in nature (natural vs. nonnatural) and whether they can be produced by inherent pathways of microorganisms (inherent, noninherent, or created): natural-inherent, natural-noninherent, non-natural-noninherent, and non-natural-created ones. General strategies for systems metabolic engineering of microorganisms for the production of these chemicals using various tools and methods based on omics, genome-scale metabolic modeling and simulation, evolutionary engineering, synthetic biology are suggested with relevant examples. For the production of non-natural chemicals, strategies for the construction of synthetic metabolic pathways are also suggested. Having collected diverse tools and methods for systems metabolic engineering, authors also suggest how to use them and their possible limitations. Professor Sang Yup Lee said "It is expected that increasing number of chemicals and materials will be produced through biorefineries. We are now equipped with new strategies for developing microbial strains that can produce our desired products at very high efficiencies, thus allowing cost competitiveness to those produced by petrochemical refineries." Editor of Nature Chemical Biology, Dr. Catherine Goodman, said "It is exciting to see how quickly science is progressing in this field – ideas that used to be science fiction are taking shape in research labs and biorefineries. The article by Professor Lee and his colleagues not only highlights the most advanced techniques and strategies available, but offers critical advice to progress the field as a whole." The works of Professor Lee have been supported by the Advanced Biomass Center and Intelligent Synthetic Biology Center of Global Frontier Program from the Korean Ministry of Education, Science and Technology through National Research Foundation. Contact: Dr. Sang Yup Lee, Distinguished Professor and Dean, KAIST, Daejeon, Korea (firstname.lastname@example.org, +82-42-350-3930)
KAIST Confers Honorary Degree to CMU President Cohon
By DongJae Lee The KAIST Herald Staff Reporter On February 24, Dr. Jared L. Cohon, President of Carnegie Mellon University (CMU), visited KAIST to receive an honorary degree in science and technology and gave a lecture to the university’s students. Dr. Cohon is the eighth president of CMU and has held numerous other public and university positions. During his presidency, CMU has expanded globally and now takes part in joint programs around the world, including those with universities in Korea, Australia, India and Qatar. KAIST and CMU have been collaborating since 2005 in research projects, student and faculty exchange and dual degree programs. Before the 2012 Commencement Ceremony, Dr. Cohon met with The KAIST Herald and other news agencies for an interview. The interview started with Dr. Cohon giving a brief introduction of CMU. Like KAIST, CMU has a small but special composition and is dedicated to science and technology as well as business and the fine arts. CMU, founded in 1900, is also relatively young by US standards but has nonetheless grown into a world-class university. The power behind this rapid growth can be expressed by four key values: innovation and change, problem-solving, interdisciplinary cooperation, and hard work. The slogan “My heart is in the work” clearly expresses the values of CMU. One interesting aspect of CMU is its fine arts and business fields. While CMU is dedicated to science and technology, it also has many respected alumni in the aforementioned fields including Andy Warhol, a leading figure in pop art, and Randy Pausch, the author of The Last Lecture. CMU alumni have together won 6 Academy Awards, 22 Emmy Awards, over 100 Tony Awards and 20 Nobel Prizes. Regarding CMU’s joint projects with KAIST, as well as student and faculty exchanges, Dr. Cohon mentioned joint Ph.D. programs in Civil and Environmental Engineering and Mechanical Engineering and a joint Master’s program in Software Engineering. Currently, the Civil and Environmental Engineering joint Ph.D. program has one participant and the Software Technology Institute joint Master of Software Engineering program has 6 participants. Dr. Cohon mentioned that receiving an honorary degree in KAIST is a tremendous honor and that he is grateful to be recognized by such a wonderful university like KAIST.
Annual Future Knowledge Service International Symposium
Knowledge Service Research preparing for the future knowledge based society has been academically publicized. The First Annual Future Knowledge Service International Symposium was held in COEX Grand Ball Room Hall by KAIST’s department of Knowledge Service Engineering. Knowledge Service Engineering is a core component to the future knowledge based society and is the convergent result of decision making, recognition sciences, artificial intelligence, IT, and other knowledge management technologies from each of the industries. Therefore Knowledge Service Engineering will innovate the cooperation and communication between humans and machines thereby forming the center point of the development of knowledge society. The symposium was attended by 9 important figures from domestic and foreign academia, government representative, and key figures from industries. The symposium was based around debates concerning the role of the Knowledge Service Engineering in the future knowledge based society. The key note speaker was Chairman of Korea Science and Technology Information Research Institute Park Young Suh and the theme of the speech was ‘Change in Information Environment and Knowledge Service’. Director of National IT Industry Promotion Agency Kang Hyun Gu gave a lecture on the topic of ‘Important Knowledge Service Policies by National IT Industry Promotion Agency’. And from industry experts, Bradley K. Jensen (Manager of Microsoft Industry-Education Cooperation), Lee Kang Yoon (Research Director at IBM), Choi Yoon Shik (Head of Asia Future Human Resource Institute) proposed a direction for research and gave their account on recent trends of knowledge service from the perspective of onsite experience. Academic experts like Fred D. Davis (Professor at State University of Arkansas), Jussi Kantola (Professor at KAIST), Kim Young Gul (Professor at KAIST Management University), Yoon Wan Chul (Professor at KAIST Knowledge Service Engineering) gave the recent trends in academic research. The symposium was held in 3 sessions: ▲Policy of Korean Government ▲Academic Research Trend ▲Recent Trend and Application. More information can be found at http://kss.kaist.ac.kr
Quantum Mechanical Calculation Theory Developed
An Electron Density Functional Calculation Theory, based on the widely used quantum mechanical principles and yet accurate and with shortened calculation period, was developed by Korean research team. *Electron Density Functional Calculation Theory: Theory that proves that it is possible to calculate energy and properties with only simple wave equations and electron densities. The research was conducted by Professor Jeong Yoo Sung (Graduate School of EEWS) and Professor William Goddard with support from WCU Foster Project initiated by Ministry of Education, Science and Technology and Korea Research Foundation. The result was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences Journal. The research team corrected the error when performing quantum calculations that arises from the length of calculation time and incorrect assumptions and developed a theory and algorithm that is more accurate and faster. The use of wave equations in quantum mechanical calculations results in high accuracy but there is a rapid increase in calculation time and is therefore difficult to implement in large molecules with hundreds, or thousands of atoms. By implementing a low electron density variable with relatively less calculation work, the size of calculable molecule increases but the accuracy decreases. The team focused on the interaction between electrons with different spins to improve upon the speed of calculation in the conventional accurate calculation. The team used the fact that the interaction between electrons with different spins increases as it comes closer together in accordance with the Pauli’s Exclusion Principle. In addition the interaction between electrons are local and therefore can ignore the interactions between far away electrons and still get the total energy value. The team also took advantage of this fact and developed the algorithm that decreased calculation time hundredth fold. Professor Jeong commented that, “So far most of the domestic achievements were made by focusing on integrative researches by calculation science and material design communities but these involved short time frames. In areas that required lengthy time frames like fundamentals and software development, there was no competitive advantage. However this research is significant in that a superior solution was developed domestically”.
Bio Pharmaceutical Business Center: Now Open
The Signboard Hanging Ceremony for the Bio Pharmaceutical Business Center for the Integrated Research for the field of Bio Pharmaceutics. 150 representatives from various bio pharmaceutics related businesses and institutes were present for this ceremony. The Ministry of Education, Science and Technology placed the Molecular Process research team, Personalized Drug Delivery Medium research team, and the newly formed Cancer Cell Detection using Blood research team at the Bio Pharmaceutical Business Center at KAIST.
Interview with the president of Hong Kong University of Science and Technology
The president of Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST), Dr. Tony Chan, who is also a member of KAIST’s President Advisory Council (PAC), had an interview with the Korea Times, November 16, 2011 and shared his thoughts on some fundamental essentials that make a good science and technology university. He visited KAIST Campus on November 10th and had a meeting with students as part of the university’s mentor program between PAC members and the students. For the interview, please visit the link below: http://www.koreatimes.co.kr/www/news/special/2011/11/181_98928.html
2011 International Presidential Forum on Global Research Universities
KAIST’s 4th International Presidential Forum Held in Seoul on November 8, 2011 The largest annual congregation of university presidents in Asia invited leaders from academia, government, and industry for talks on issues related to higher education in the Age of Globalization. Borderless and Creative Education: the ability to cross borders a crucial key to dominate the information era Seoul, Republic of Korea, November 8, 2011—The Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) hosted the “2011 International Presidential Forum on Global Research Universities (IPFGRU)” on Tuesday, November 8, 2011 at the Millennium Hilton Hotel in Seoul. With more than 120 participants from 44 institutions in 27 countries present, the full-day forum provided participants with an opportunity to discuss challenges and responsibilities facing higher education in a time of globalization that has resulted from an ever-growing demand for technological innovation. In his plenary speech, Dr. Robert Birgeneau, Chancellor of UC Berkeley, stressed that “Higher educational intuitions must be prepared to drive innovation and enhance competitiveness by educating a highly trained workforce that will have the critical skills necessary to solve problems and lead in today’s interdependent world.” “Finding solutions to the world’s most challenging problems will depend on the ability to cross borders: national borders, border between different fields of discipline and research, and borders between academe, government, and industry,” said Chancellor Birgeneau to address the importance of “borderless and creative education,” the theme of the forum. Other major keynote speakers were Jörg Steinbach, President of Technische Universität Berlin, Lars Pallesen, President of Technical University of Denmark, Paul F. Greenfield, President of University of Queensland, Marcelo Fernandes de Aquino, President of the University of the Sinos Valley (UNISINOS), and Eden Woon, Vice President of the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. Dr. Nam-Pyo Suh, President of KAIST, gave talks on the university’s new education plan, “The I-Four Education,” at the afternoon session. The four Is are information technology (IT), independent learning, integrated knowledge acquisitions, and an international learning environment. “In this format, there are no formal lectures,” President Suh explained. “A group of students learn together by using the materials available on the internet, doing homework and conducting experiments together. Pre-recorded lectures are delivered in English by I-Four professors, some of them regular KAIST professors and some professors in other countries who participate in the I-Four Program as consulting professors.” He added, “The overall purpose of the I-Four Education Program is to encourage students to learn independently, gain exposure to the best lectures by the most eminent professors in the world, accelerate the development of a global frame of reference in the students by dealing with information available throughout the world, and provide an integrated learning environment by using diverse examples from many disciplines to achieve understanding of basic principles.” The 2011 IPFGRU, the fourth forum since its inception in 2008, rose to prominence in the past years as an international network for leaders of research universities from around the world to share information and exchange views about contemporary issues in higher education. At this year’s forum, entitled “Borderless and Creative Education,” speakers took a deeper look into the transitions and transformations many research universities are undergoing today, delving into the following topics: the development of e-learning and cyber campuses; increased student mobility and international collaborations; multi-disciplinary and convergence approaches in research and education; and methodology of nurturing future global leaders. Participants also discussed experiences and accomplishments earned from their own endeavors to accommodate such changes and presented ways to strengthen internationalization and improve the academic and research competitiveness of universities. The 2011 International Presidential Forum on Global Research Universities (IPFGRU) was organized by KAIST and sponsored by the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology, POSCO, Hyundai Motor Company, Samsung Heavy Industries, S-Oil, and Elsevier Korea.
New York Times, "First, Catch Your Faculty-A Recipe for Excellence"
The World Bank has recently published a new book entitled “The Road to Academic Excellence: The Making of World Class Research Universities.” The report (book) examined the recent experience of 11 universities in 9 countries (for Korea, it sampled Pohang University of Science and Technology, established in 1986) that have undergone transformations in order to become world-class universities. The book has received a wide coverage from the media all around the world since its publication in late September, among others, the latest article by New York Times (NYT), dated October 16, 2011. The gist of the book, i.e., what elements are required should a research university to become “truly prestigious” in the global scene, is well introduced by the NYT article, and here’s the link: New York Times, “First, Catch Your Faculty-A Recipe for Excellence” http://www.nytimes.com/2011/10/17/world/americas/17iht-educLede17.html
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