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Professor Kwang-Hyun Cho Recognzied by "Scientist of the Month" Award
Professor Kwang-Hyun Cho of KAIST’s Department of Bio and Brain Engineering received the “Scientist of the Month” award in February 2015 from the Ministry of Science, ICT, and Future Planning of the Republic of Korea and the National Research Foundation of Korea. The award was in recognition of Professor Cho’s contribution to the advanced technique of controlling the death of cancer cells based on systems biology, a convergence research in information technology (IT) and biotechnology. Professor Cho has published around 140 articles in international journals, including 34 papers in renowned science journals such as Nature, Science, and Cell in the past three years. His work also includes systems biology textbooks and many entries in international academic encyclopaedia. His field, systems biology, is a new biological research paradigm that identifies and controls the fundamental principles of organisms on a systems level. A well-known tumour suppressor protein, p53, is known to suppress abnormal cell growth and promote apoptosis of can cells, and thus was a focus of research by many scientists, but its effect has been insignificant and brought many side effects. This was due to the complex function of p53 that controls various positive and negative feedbacks. Therefore, there was a limit to understanding the protein with the existing biological approach. However, Professor Cho found the kinetic change and function of p53 via a systems biology approach. By applying IT technology to complex biological networks, he also identified the response to stress and the survival and death signal transduction pathways of cardiomyocytes and developed new control methods for cancer cells. Professor Cho said, “This award served as a momentum to turn over a new leaf.” He added, “I hope convergence research such as my field will bring more innovative ideas on the boundaries of academia.”
KAIST Develops a Method to Transfer Graphene by Stamping
Professor Sung-Yool Choi’s research team from KAIST's Department of Electrical Engineering has developed a technique that can produce a single-layer graphene from a metal etching. Through this, transferring a graphene layer onto a circuit board can be done as easily as stamping a seal on paper. The research findings were published in the January 14th issue of Small as the lead article. This technology will allow different types of wafer transfer methods such as transfer onto a surface of a device or a curved surface, and large surface transfer onto a 4 inch wafer. It will be applied in the field of wearable smart gadgets through commercialization of graphene electronic devices. The traditional method used to transfer graphene onto a circuit board is a wet transfer. However, it has some drawbacks as the graphene layer can be damaged or contaminated during the transfer process from residue from the metal etching. This may affect the electrical properties of the transferred graphene. After a graphene growth substrate formed on a catalytic metal substrate is pretreated in an aqueous poly vinyl alcohol (PVA) solution, a PVA film forms on the pretreated substrate. The substrate and the graphene layers bond strongly. The graphene is lifted from the growth substrate by means of an elastomeric stamp. The delaminated graphene layer is isolated state from the elastomeric stamp and thus can be freely transferred onto a circuit board. As the catalytic metal substrate can be reused and does not contain harmful chemical substances, such transfer method is very eco-friendly. Professor Choi said, “As the new graphene transfer method has a wide range of applications and allows a large surface transfer, it will contribute to the commercialization of graphene electronic devices.” He added that “because this technique has a high degree of freedom in transfer process, it has a variety of usages for graphene and 2 dimensional nano-devices.” This research was sponsored by the Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning, the Republic of Korea. Figure 1. Cover photo of the journal Small which illustrates the research findings Figure 2. Above view of Graphene layer transferred through the new method Figure 3. Large surface transfer of Graphene
A Key Signal Transduction Pathway Switch in Cardiomyocyte Identified
A KAIST research team has identified the fundamental principle in deciding the fate of cardiomyocyte or heart muscle cells. They have determined that it depends on the degree of stimulus in β-adrenergic receptor signal transduction pathway in the cardiomyocyte to control cells' survival or death. The findings, the team hopes, can be used to treat various heart diseases including heart failure. The research was led by KAIST Department of Bio and Brain Engineering Chair Professor Kwang-Hyun Cho and conducted by Dr. Sung-Young Shin (lead author) and Ph.D. candidates Ho-Sung Lee and Joon-Hyuk Kang. The research was conducted jointly with GIST (Gwangju Institute of Science and Technology) Department of Biological Sciences Professor Do-Han Kim’s team. The research was supported by the Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning, Republic of Korea, and the National Research Foundation of Korea. The paper was published in Nature Communications on December 17, 2014 with the title, “The switching role of β-adrenergic receptor signalling in cell survival or death decision of cardiomyocytes.” The β-adrenergic receptor signal transduction pathway can promote cell survival (mediated by β2 receptors), but also can result in cell death by inducing toxin (mediated by β1 receptors) that leads to various heart diseases including heart failure. Past attempts to identify the fundamental principle in the fate determining process of cardiomyocyte based on β-adrenergic receptor signalling concluded without much success. The β-adrenergic receptor is a type of protein on the cell membrane of cardiomyocyte (heart muscle cell) that when stimulated by neurohormones such as epinephrine or norepinephrine would transduce signals making the cardiomyocyte contract faster and stronger. The research team used large-scale computer simulation analysis and systems biology to identify ERK* and ICER** signal transduction pathways mediated by a feed-forward circuit as a key molecular switch that decides between cell survival and death. Weak β-adrenergic receptor stimulations activate ERK signal transduction pathway, increasing Bcl-2*** protein expression to promote cardiomyocyte survival. On the other hand, strong β-adrenergic receptor stimulations activate ICER signal transduction pathway, reducing Bcl-2 protein expression to promote cardiomyocyte death. Researchers used a systems biology approach to identify the mechanism of B-blocker****, a common drug prescribed for heart failure. When cardiomyocyte is treated with β1 inhibitor, strong stimulation on β-adrenergic receptor increases Bcl-2 expression, improving the chance of cardiomyocyte survival, a cell protection effect. Professor Kwang-Hyun Cho said, “This research used systems biology, an integrated, convergence research of IT (information technology) and BT (biotechnology), to successfully identify the mechanism in deciding the fate of cardiomyocytes based on the β-adrenergic receptor signal transduction pathway for the first time. I am hopeful that this research will enable the control of cardiomyocyte survival and death to treat various heart diseases including heart failure.” Professor Cho’s team was the first to pioneer a new field of systems biology, especially concerning the complex signal transduction network involved in diseases. Their research is focused on modelling, analyzing simulations, and experimentally proving signal pathways. Professor Cho has published 140 articles in international journals including Cell, Science, and Nature. * ERK (Extracellular signal-regulated kinases): Signal transduction molecule involved in cell survival ** ICER (Inducible cAMP early repressor): Signal transduction molecule involved in cell death *** Bcl-2 (B-cell lymphoma 2): Key signal transduction molecule involved in promotion of cell survival **** β-blocker: Drug that acts as β-adrenergic receptor inhibitor known to slow the progression of heart failure, hence used most commonly in medicine. Picture: A schematic diagram for the β-AR signalling network
Broadband and Ultrathin Polarization Manipulators Developed
Professor Bumki Min from the Department of Mechanical Engineering at KAIST has developed a technology that can manipulate a polarized light in broadband operation with the use of a metamaterial. It is expected that this technology will lead to the development of broadband optical devices that can be applied to broadband communication and display. When an object or its structure is analyzed by using a polarized light such as a laser, the results are generally affected by the polarized state of the light. Therefore, in an optics laboratory, the light is polarized by various methods. In such cases, researchers employ wave plates or photoactive materials. However, the performance of these devices depend vastly on wavelength, and so they are not suitable to be used as a polarizer, especially in broadband. There were many attempts to make artificial materials that are very photoactive by using metamaterials which have a strong resonance. Nonetheless, because the materials had an unavoidable dispersion in the resonance frequency, they were not adequate for broadband operation. Professor Min’s research team arranged and connected helical metamaterials that are smaller than the wavelength of light. They verified theoretically and experimentally that polarized light can be constantly rotated regardless of the wavelength by super-thin materials that have thickness less than one-tenth of the wavelength of the light. The experiment which confirmed the theory was conducted in the microwave band. Broadband polarized rotational 3D metamaterials were found to rotate the polarized microwave within the range of 0.1 GHz to 40 GHz by 45 degrees regardless of its frequency. This nondispersive property is quite unnatural because it is difficult to find a material that does not change in a wide band. In addition, the research team materialized the broadband nondispersive polarized rotational property by designing the metamaterial in a way that it has chirality, which determines the number of rotations proportional to the wavelength. Professor Min said, “As the technology is able to manipulate ultrathin polarization of light in broadband, it will lead to the creation of ultra-shallow broadband optical devices.” Sponsored by the Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning of the Republic of Korea and the National Research Foundation of Korea, this research was led by a PhD candidate, Hyun-Sung Park, under the guidance of Professor Min. The research findings were published online in the November 17th issue of Nature Communications. Figure 1 – Broadband and Ultrathin Polarization Manipulators Produced by 3D Printer Figure 2 – Concept of Broadband and Ultrathin Polarization Manipulators
KAIST studnets win 2014 Creative Vitamin Project Competition
A team of KAIST students have won the grand prize for the “2014 Creative Vitamin Project Competition” held on May 28, 2014 in Seoul. The event was co-hosted by the Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning, National Information Society Agency, and Korea IT Convergence Technology Association. The Creative Vitamin Project is the Korean government’s initiative to grow the Korean economy and generate job creation by applying science and technology, information and communications technology in particular, to the existing industry and social issues. The winners were Hyeong-Min Son, a student in the master’s program in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, KAIST and Su-Yeon Yoo, a Ph.D. student from the Graduate School of Information Security, KAIST. Son and Yoo proposed a sustainable crop protection system using directional speakers. This technique not only efficiently protects crops from harmful animals, but also effectively guides the animals outside the farmland. Kwang-Soo Jang, the Director of the National Information Society Agency, said, “This competition provides an opportunity to develop public consensus and interest in the Creative Vitamin Project. We hope that through the participation of all citizens, the project can become an instrument to realizing the creative economy.”
Clear Display Technology Under Sunlight Developed
The late Professor Seung-Man Yang The last paper of the late Professor Seung-Man Yang, who was a past master of colloids and fluid mechanics Practical patterning technology of the next generation optical materials, photonic crystals The mineral opal does not possess any pigments, but it appears colorful to our eyes. This is because only a particular wavelength is reflected due to the regular nano-structure of its surface. The material that causes selective reflection of the light is called photonic crystals. The deceased Professor Seung-Man Yang and his research team from KAIST’s Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering Department ha ve developed micro-pattern technology using photolithographic process. This can accelerate the commercialization of photonic crystals, which is hailed as the next generation optics material. The research results were published in the April 16th edition of Advanced Materials, known as the most prestigious world-renowned journal in the field of materials science. The newly developed photonic crystal micro-pattern could be used as a core material for the next generation reflective display that is clearly visible even under sunlight. Since it does not require a separate light source, a single charge is enough to last for several days. Until now, many scientists have endeavored to make photonic crystals artificially, however, most were produced in a lump and therefore lacked efficiency. Also, the low mechanical stability of the formed structure prevented from commercialization. In order to solve these problems, the research team has copied the nano-structure of opals. Glass beads were arranged in the same nano-structure as the opal on top of the photoresist material undergoing photocuring by ultraviolet light. The glass beads were installed in the photoresist materials, and UV light was selectively exposed on micro regions. The remaining region was developed by photolithographic process to successfully produce photonic crystals in micro-patterns. The co-author of the research, KAIST Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering Department’s Professor Sin-Hyeon Kim, said, “Combining the semiconductor process technology with photonic crystal pattern technology can secure the practical applications for photonic crystals.”He also predicted “This technology can be used as the key optical material that configures the next generation reflective color display device with very low power consumption.” The late Professor Seung-Man Yang was a world-renowned expert in the field of colloids and fluid mechanics. Professor Yang published over 193 papers in international journals and continued his research until his passing in last September. He received Du Pont Science and Technology Award in 2007, KAIST Person of the Year 2008, Gyeong-Am Academy Award in 2009, as well as the President’s Award of the Republic of Korea in March 2014. The researchers devoted the achievement of this year’s research to Professor Yang in his honor. Research was conducted by KAIST Photonic-fluidic Integrated Devices Research Team, as a part of the Creative Research Program funded by the Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning, Republic of Korea. Figure 1. Opal [left] and the nano glass bead arrangement structure within the opal [right] Figure 2. Process chart of the photonic crystal micro-pattern formation based on photolithography Figure 3. Opal structure [left] and inverted structure of the opal [right] Figure 4. Photonic crystal micro-pattern in solid colors Figure 5. Photonic crystal micro-pattern that reflects two different crystals (Red, Green) [left] and pixelated pattern of photonic crystal in three primary colors (Red, Green, Blue) [right] that is applicable to reflective displays
Spillover Phenomenon Identified Using Model Catalyst System
Researchers at KAIST have identified spillover phenomenon, which has remained controversial since its discovery in the early 1960s. KAIST Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering’s Professor Min-Gi Choi and his team has explained the "spillover phenomenon," using their own model catalyst system where platinum is selectively located within the amorphous aluminosilicate. The research results were published on the 25th February online edition of Nature Communications. Spillover refers to a phenomenon that occurs when hydrogen atoms that have been activated on the surface of metals, such as platinum, move to the surface of the catalyst. It was predicted that this phenomenon can be used to design a catalyst with high activity and stability, and thus has been actively studied over the last 50 years. However, many cases of the known catalysts involved competing reactions on the exposed metal surface, which made it impossible to directly identify the presence and formation mechanism of spillover. The catalysts developed by the researchers at KAIST used platinum nanoparticles covered with aluminosilicate. This only allowed the hydrogen molecules to pass through and has effectively blocked the competing reactions, enabling the research team to study the spillover phenomenon. Through various catalyst structure and reactivity analysis, as well as computer modeling, the team has discovered that Brönsted acid sites present on the aluminosilicate plays a crucial role in spillover phenomenon. In addition, the spillover-based hydrogenation catalyst proposed by the research team showed very high hydrogenation and dehydrogenation activity. The ability of the catalyst to significantly inhibit unwanted hydrogenolysis reaction during the petrochemical processes also suggested a large industrial potential. Professor Min-Gi Choi said, “This particular catalyst, which can trigger the reaction only by spillover phenomenon, can be properly designed to exceed the capacity of the conventional metal catalysts. The future goal is to make a catalyst with much higher activity and selectivity.” The research was conducted through funds subsidized by SK Innovation and Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning. The senior research fellow of SK Innovation Seung-Hun Oh said, “SK Innovation will continue to develop a new commercial catalyst based on the technology from this research.” Juh-Wan Lim and Hye-Yeong Shin led the research as joint first authors under supervision of Professor Min-Gi Choi and computer modeling works were conducted by KAIST EEWS (environment, energy, water, and sustainability) graduate school’s Professor Hyeong-Jun Kim.
KAIST held its 2014 Commencement Ceremony
The KAIST Commencement Ceremony for 2014 was held on Friday, 21st February, at Sports Complex, KAIST. On this day, a total of 2,619 students received their degrees. This included 499 doctorates, 1,220 masters, and 900 students with bachelor’s degrees. Since its establishment in 1971, KAIST has produced 9,881 Ph.D., 25,161 MA and 13,693 BA, which amounts to 48,735 scientific and engineering personnel. The former Minister for Science and Technology of the Republic of Korea, Dr. KunMo Chung, received an honorary doctorate for his effort in establishing the Korea Advanced Institute of Science (KAIS) to foster talented scientists and engineers, thus contributing to the significant growth of Korea that has led it to stand as a scientifically advanced nation today. The student graduating with summa cum laude was Jang-Geun Kim from the Department of Biological Sciences. Mr. Kim received the Minister of Science, ICT and Future Planning Award. Mr. Kim said, “I am honored to receive the award from the minister. I hope a lot of talented students will go onto science and engineering field, so that Korea can earn a place among the technologically elite countries.” Jang-Geun Kim will continue his study of genomic medicine at KAIST graduate school. President Steve Kang spoke to the graduates: “The whole nation has given their wholehearted support to KAIST so that students can study in a good environment. Please have great aspirations and hopes, and continue to broaden your knowledge and solve the challenges that humanity is facing today, so our country and the world can advance.”
Mechanism in regulation of cancer-related key enzyme, ATM, for DNA damage and repair revealed
Professor Kwang-Wook Choi A research team led by Professor Kwang-Wook Choi and Dr. Seong-Tae Hong from the Department of Biological Sciences at KAIST has successfully investigated the operational mechanism of the protein Ataxia Telangiectasia Mutated (ATM), an essential protein to the function of a crucial key enzyme that repairs the damaged DNA which stores biometric information. The results were published on December 19th Nature Communications online edition. All organisms, including humans, constantly strive to protect the information within their DNA from damages posed by a number of factors, such as carbonized materials in our daily food intake, radioactive materials such as radon emitting from the cement of buildings or ultraviolet of the sunlight, which could be a trigger for cancer. In order to keep the DNA information safe, the organisms are always carrying out complex and sophisticated DNA repair work, which involves the crucial DNA damage repair protein ATM. Consequently, a faulty ATM leads to higher risks of cancer. Until now, academia predicted that the Translationally Controlled Tumor Protein (TCTP) will play an important role in regulating the function of ATM. However, since most of main research regarding TCTP has only been conducted in cultured cells, it was unable to identify exactly what mechanisms TCTP employs to control ATM. The KAIST research team identified that TCTP can combine with ATM or increase the enzymatic activity of ATM. In addition, Drosophilia, one of the most widely used model organisms for molecular genetics, has been used to identify that TCTP and ATM play a very important role in repairing the DNA damaged by radiation. This information has allowed the researchers to establish TCTP’s essential function in maintaining the DNA information in cell cultures and even in higher organisms, and to provide specific and important clues to the regulation of ATM by TCTP. Professor Kwang-Wook Choi said, “Our research is a good example that basic research using Drosophilia can make important contributions to understanding the process of diseases, such as cancer, and to developing adequate treatment.” The research has been funded by the Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning, Republic of Korea, and the National Research Foundation of Korea. Figure 1. When the amount of TCTP protein is reduced, cells of the Drosophila's eye are abnormally deformed by radiation. Scale bars = 200mm Figure 2. When the amount of TCTP protein is reduced, the chromosomes of Drosophilia are easily broken by radiation. Scale bars = 10 mm. Figure 3. When gene expressions of TCTP and ATM are reduced, large defects occur in the normal development of the eye. (Left: normal Drosophilia's eye, right: development-deficient eye) Figure 4. ATM marks the position of the broken DNA, with TCTP helping to facilitate this reaction. DNA (blue line) within the cell nucleus is coiled around the histone protein (green cylinder). When DNA is broken, ATM protein attaches a phosphate group (P). Multiple DNA repair protein recognizes the phosphate as a signal that requires repair and gathers at the site.
Opening Ceremony of Genetic Donguibogam held
- Medicine using traditional natural substances • Food product source technology development begins - Over 150,000,000,000 Won for 10 years of work invested to develop source technology - Opening ceremony held on November 26th at 3 p.m. in Bio & Brain Engineering Division Building The research to develop medicine and food source technology using traditional natural substances hasbegun.The opening ceremony of the “Genetic Donguibogam” business group, with KAIST Department of Bio & Brain Engineering Professor Do Heon Lee as the leader, was held on November 26th at 3 p.m. in Dream Hall, Bio & Brain Engineering Division Building, KAIST, Daejeon. The attendees of the opening ceremony included Yo Eop Im, Head of the Future Technology Department of the Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning and around 200 experts in science and technology industry, including the National Research Foundation of Korea, KAIST, the Korea Institute of Science and Technology, Seoul National University and Yonsei University. The business group was established to re-interpret traditional natural substances proved to be effective from experience and improve quality of life by researching its applications; and to develop integrated source technology using traditional natural substances. The group is to invest over 150,000,000,000 Won for 10 years of research to secure natural substance source technology in five stages: interpretation technology, analysis technology, verification technology, bio marker technology and human body effectiveness verification technology. Especially, the focus would be on the use of virtual body computer models and Omics* to analyse the effects of traditional natural substances mixture on human body, and to find new materials for healthcare. This research model, it is hoped, will have a new item to pioneer in the world natural substance market as well as securing a technologically competitive edge in bio industry by developing source technology that investigates the effects of traditional natural substances using cutting edge science. KAIST Department of Bio & Brain Engineering Professor and Head Do Heon Lee of the “Genetic Donguibogam” Business Group said, “We will push forward to develop source energy by integrating IT-BT technology with a computer virtual body to build a cooperation system with medicine and functional food industries.” He continued: “This will enable not only the creation of a new industry, but also customised medicine.” The 12 partners of the group include KAIST, Korea Institute of Science and Technology, Seoul National University and Yonsei University and 200 experts. The research participation area will be widened to foreign research institutes and associated companies. * Terminology Noun) Omics is an academic discipline analysing mass information on metabolism of physiological phenomena in specific cells (transcriptome, proteome and protoplast) with an integrated approach to determine vital phenomena.
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