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Professor Won-Ki Cho Selected as the 2020 SUHF Young Investigator
Professor Won-Ki Cho from the Department of Biological Sciences was named one of three recipients of the 2020 Suh Kyung-Bae Science Foundation (SUHF) Young Investigator Award. The SUHF is a non-profit organization established in 2016 and funded by a personal donation of 300 billion KRW in shares from Chairman and CEO Kyung-Bae Suh of the Amorepacific Group. The primary purpose of the foundation is to serve as a platform to nurture and provide comprehensive long-term support for creative and passionate young Korean scientists committed to pursuing research in the field of life sciences. The SUHF selects three to five scientists through an open recruiting process every year and grants each scientist a maximum of 2.5 billion KRW over a period of up to five years. Since January this year, the foundation received 67 research proposals from scientists across the nation, especially from those who had less than five years of experience as professors, and selected the three recipients. Professor Cho proposed research on how to observe the interactions between nuclear structures and constantly-changing chromatin monomers in four dimensions through ultra-high-resolution imaging of single living cells. This proposal was recognized as one that could help us better understand the process of transcription regulation, which remains a long-standing question in biology. The other awards were given to Professor Soung-hun Roh of Seoul National University and Professor Joo-Hyeon Lee of the University of Cambridge. With these three new awardees, a total of 17 scientists have been named SUHF Young Investigators to date, and the funding to support these scientists now totals 42.5 billion KRW. Professor Inkyung Jung and Professor Ki-Jun Yoon from the Department of Biological Sciences, and Professor Young Seok Ju and Professor Jeong Ho Lee from the Graduate School of Medical Science and Engineering are the four previous winners from KAIST in the years 2017 through 2019. (END)
Simple Molecular Reagents to Treat Alzheimer’s Disease
- Researchers report minimalistic principles for designing small molecules with multiple reactivities against dementia. - Sometimes the most complex problems actually have very simple solutions. A group of South Korean researchers reported an efficient and effective redox-based strategy for incorporating multiple functions into simple molecular reagents against neurodegenerative disorders. The team developed redox-active aromatic molecular reagents with a simple structural composition that can simultaneously target and modulate various pathogenic factors in complex neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease. Alzheimer’s disease is one of the most prevalent neurodegenerative disorders, affecting one in ten people over the age of 65. Early-onset dementia also increasingly affects younger people. A number of pathogenic elements such as reactive oxygen species, amyloid-beta, and metal ions have been suggested as potential causes of Alzheimer’s disease. Each element itself can lead to Alzheimer’s disease, but interactions between them may also aggravate the patient’s condition or interfere with the appropriate clinical care. For example, when interacting with amyloid-beta, metal ions foster the aggregation and accumulation of amyloid-beta peptides that can induce oxidative stress and toxicity in the brain and lead to neurodegeneration. Because these pathogenic factors of Alzheimer’s disease are intertwined, developing therapeutic agents that are capable of simultaneously regulating metal ion dyshomeostasis, amyloid-beta agglutination, and oxidative stress responses remains a key to halting the progression of the disease. A research team led by Professor Mi Hee Lim from the Department of Chemistry at KAIST demonstrated the feasibility of structure-mechanism-based molecular design for controlling a molecule’s chemical reactivity toward the various pathological factors of Alzheimer’s disease by tuning the redox properties of the molecule. This study, featured as the ‘ACS Editors’ Choice’ in the May 6th issue of the Journal of the American Chemical Society (JACS), was conducted in conjunction with KAIST Professor Mu-Hyun Baik’s group and Professor Joo-Young Lee’s group at the Asan Medical Center. Professor Lim and her collaborators rationally designed and generated 10 compact aromatic molecules presenting a range of redox potentials by adjusting the electronic distribution of the phenyl, phenylene, or pyridyl moiety to impart redox-dependent reactivities against the multiple pathogenic factors in Alzheimer’s disease. During the team’s biochemical and biophysical studies, these designed molecular reagents displayed redox-dependent reactivities against numerous desirable targets that are associated with Alzheimer’s disease such as free radicals, metal-free amyloid-beta, and metal-bound amyloid-beta. Further mechanistic results revealed that the redox properties of these designed molecular reagents were essential for their function. The team demonstrated that these reagents engaged in oxidative reactions with metal-free and metal-bound amyloid-beta and led to chemical modifications. The products of such oxidative transformations were observed to form covalent adducts with amyloid-beta and alter its aggregation. Moreover, the administration of the most promising candidate molecule significantly attenuated the amyloid pathology in the brains of Alzheimer’s disease transgenic mice and improved their cognitive defects. Professor Lim said, “This strategy is straightforward, time-saving, and cost-effective, and its effect is significant. We are excited to help enable the advancement of new therapeutic agents for neurodegenerative disorders, which can improve the lives of so many patients.” This work was supported by the National Research Foundation (NRF) of Korea, the Institute for Basic Science (IBS), and the Asan Institute for Life Sciences. Image credit: Professor Mi Hee Lim, KAIST Image usage restrictions: News organizations may use or redistribute this image, with proper attribution, as part of the news coverage of this paper only. Publication: Kim, M. et al. (2020) ‘Minimalistic Principles for Designing Small Molecules with Multiple Reactivities against Pathological Factors in Dementia.’ Journal of the American Chemical Society (JACS), Volume 142, Issue 18, pp.8183-8193. Available online at https://doi.org/10.1021/jacs.9b13100 Profile: Mi Hee Lim Professor firstname.lastname@example.org http://sites.google.com/site/miheelimlab Lim Laboratory Department of Chemistry KAIST Profile: Mu-Hyun Baik Professor email@example.com https://baik-laboratory.com/ Baik Laboratory Department of Chemistry KAIST Profile: Joo-Yong Lee Professor firstname.lastname@example.org Asan Institute for Life Sciences Asan Medical Center (END)
Professor Ki-Jun Yoon selected as the 2019 SUHF Young Investigator
< Professor Ki-Jun Yoon > Professor Ki-Jun Yoon from the Department of Biological Sciences was named one of four recipients of the 2019 Suh Kyung-Bae Science Foundation (SUHF) Young Investigator Awards. The SUHF is a non-profit organization established in 2016 and funded by a personal donation of 300 billion KRW in shares from Chairman and CEO Kyung-Bae Suh of the Amorepacific Group. The primary purpose of the foundation is to serve as a platform to nurture and provide comprehensive long-term support for creative and passionate young Korean scientists committed to pursuing research in the field of life sciences. The SUHF selects three to five scientists through an open recruiting process every year, and grants each scientist a maximum of 2.5 billion KRW over a period of up to five years. Since January this year, the foundation received 83 research proposals from scientists across the nation, especially from those who had less than five years of experience as professors, and selected the four recipients, including Professor Yoon. Professor Yoon was recognized for his contributions to the advancement of research on how post-transcriptional mechanisms may modulate stem cell properties. His research project involves deciphering the molecular mechanisms controlling RNA metabolism in neural stem cells during normal development, and how alterations in RNA regulatory programs lead to human brain disorders. < (From left) Professor Joo-Hong Park, Professor Yuree Lee, Chairman and CEO Kyung-Bae Suh, Professor Eunjung Lee, Professor Ki-Jun Yoon, ⓒ Amorepacific Group > The other awards were given to Professor Joo-Hong Park and Professor Yuree Lee of Seoul National University, and Professor Eunjung Lee of Boston Children's Hospital and Harvard Medical School. The awards ceremony was held on September 18 at the Amorepacific Headquarters in Seoul. With these four new awardees, a total of 14 scientists have been named as SUHF Young Investigators to date. (END)
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.
Professor Joonho Choe Appointed as the President of the KSMCB
Professor Joonho Choe of the Biological Sciences Department at KAIST has been elected the 25th president of Korean Society for Molecular and Cellular Biology (KSMCB). His presidency will last one year, beginning on January 1, 2016. Established in 1989, the Society has served as the largest academic gathering in the field of life sciences, holding an international conference every fall. It has more than 12,400 fellows. Professor Choe served as the vice president of KSMC as well as the editor of its journal, Molecules and Cells. He said, “The 2016 International Conference of the KSMCB will take place on October 12-14, 2016 at the COEX Convention and Exhibition Hall in Seoul. This year, we are preparing 20 symposiums and will invite four international renowned keynote speakers in the field including a Nobel Laureate. We hope many people, students and young researchers in particular, from academia and industry will join the conference.” Professor Choe received his doctoral degree from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) after graduating from Seoul National University with his bachelor and master’s degrees.
KAIST College of Life Sciences and Bioengineering Signs MOU with Harvard
KAIST’s College of Life Sciences and Bioengineering recently signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Harvard University’s Center for Brain Science on July 20, which will allow for joint research and exchange in researchers between the two institutions. Headed by Director Kenneth Blum, Harvard’s Center for Brain Science leads the world in brain-related research. The new MOU will allow for research cooperation, exchanges of professors, researchers, and students, joint usage of infrastructure and research materials, and finally, sharing of research assignments. The Dean of the College of Life Sciences and Bioengineering Sang Yup Lee, who concerted efforts to form the MOU said, “This agreement will bring together two of the world’s leading brain-related research teams, and I hope that combining their expertise will bring great advances in brain science and engineering. KAIST’s College of Life Science and Bioengineering, which is known for its creative interdisciplinary research, is producing exemplary research results in the field of brain science from its Biological Sciences and Bio and Brain Engineering departments. In addition to cooperation with Harvard, KAIST has also formed partnerships with Emory University, Japan’s RIKEN Brain Institute, and Germany’s Max Planck Institute. Not only does it have a worldwide network pertaining to brain research, but KAIST has also engaged in cooperative research with prominent domestic institutions such as, Asan Medical Center, the Korea Research Institute of Bioscience and Biotechnology, the Korea Research Institute of Standards and Science, and the SK Corporation. Through these connections, KAIST has managed to lead in mutually cooperative brain interdisciplinary research.
KAIST Professor Named International Research Grant Reviewer
Prof. Kwang-Hyun Cho of the Department of Bio and Brain Engineering, KAIST, was appointed as a research grant review committee member of the international Human Frontier Science Program (HFSP) for 2008-2009, university authorities reported. The HFSP is a funding agency that supports international collaboration in interdisciplinary, basic research in the life sciences. It was initiated in 1989 by G7 countries as the sole funding program for international researches in neuroscience and molecular biology. The HFSP now has a membership of 35 countries and Korea joined the program in 2004. Prof. Cho will be responsible for reviewing grant applications in the field of systems biology. Prof. Cho received B.S., M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in electrical engineering from KAIST in 1993, 1995, and 1998, respectively. He has been working as a director of the KAIST Institute for the BioCentury and KAIST"s Laboratory for Systems Biology and Bio-Inspired Engineering. He has been serving on editorial advisory boards of various international science journals, including Systems and Synthetic Biology (Springer, Netherlands, from 2006), BMC Systems Biology (BMC, London, U.K., from 2007) and Gene Regulation and Systems Biology (Libertas Academica, New Zealand, from 2007). He is a senior member of the Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society (EMBS) affiliated with the Institute of Electronics and Electrical Engineers (IEEE). His research interests cover the areas of systems science with bio-medical applications, especially systems biology and bio-inspired engineering based on molecular systems biology.
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