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On-chip Drug Screening for Identifying Antibiotic Interactions in Eight Hours
(from left: Seunggyu Kimand Professor Jessie Sungyun Jeon) A KAIST research team developed a microfluidic-based drug screening chip that identifies synergistic interactions between two antibiotics in eight hours. This chip can be a cell-based drug screening platform for exploring critical pharmacological patterns of antibiotic interactions, along with potential applications in screening other cell-type agents and guidance for clinical therapies. Antibiotic susceptibility testing, which determines types and doses of antibiotics that can effectively inhibit bacterial growth, has become more critical in recent years with the emergence of antibiotic-resistant pathogenic bacteria strains. To overcome the antibiotic-resistant bacteria, combinatory therapy using two or more kinds of antibiotics has been gaining considerable attention. However, the major problem is that this therapy is not always effective; occasionally, unfavorable antibiotic pairs may worsen results, leading to suppressed antimicrobial effects. Therefore, combinatory testing is a crucial preliminary process to find suitable antibiotic pairs and their concentration range against unknown pathogens, but the conventional testing methods are inconvenient for concentration dilution and sample preparation, and they take more than 24 hours to produce the results. To reduce time and enhance the efficiency of combinatory testing, Professor Jessie Sungyun Jeon from the Department of Mechanical Engineering, in collaboration with Professor Hyun Jung Chung from the Department of Biological Sciences, developed a high-throughput drug screening chip that generates 121 pairwise concentrations between two antibiotics. The team utilized a microfluidic chip with a sample volume of a few tens of microliters. This chip enabled 121 pairwise concentrations of two antibiotics to be automatically formed in only 35 minutes. They loaded a mixture of bacterial samples and agarose into the microchannel and injected reagents with or without antibiotics into the surrounding microchannel. The diffusion of antibiotic molecules from the channel with antibiotics to the one without antibiotics resulted in the formation of two orthogonal concentration gradients of the two antibiotics on the bacteria-trapping agarose gel. The team observed the inhibition of bacterial growth by the antibiotic orthogonal gradients over six hours with a microscope, and confirmed different patterns of antibiotic pairs, classifying the interaction types into either synergy or antagonism. Professor Jeon said, “The feasibility of microfluidic-based drug screening chips is promising, and we expect our microfluidic chip to be commercialized and utilized in near future.” This study, led by Seunggyu Kim, was published in Lab on a Chip (10.1039/c8lc01406j) on March 21, 2019. Figure 1. Back cover image for the “Lab on a Chip”. Figure 2. Examples of testing results using the microfluidic chips developed in this research.
More Donations Arrive to Establish the New Medicine Research and Development Center on Campus
A raft of businesses continues to make donations to establish a new medicine research and development center on campus. The Department of Biological Sciences at KAIST is leading the fundraising campaign. On November 9, 2015, Nikon Instruments Korea Co., Ltd. contributed USD 8,500 to the fundraising, followed by Carl Zeiss AG and Three-Shine Inc., which donated USD 12,800 and 8,500, respectively. Bruno Lin, an Executive Director at Carl Zeiss AG in Korea, said, “I’m very glad to participate in this fundraising initiative for the Biological Sciences Department at KAIST, one rapidly reaching out to the world.” From the left in the picture are Vice President Tae-Hoon Kim, Director Gyu-Hyeok Lee, and Executive Director Bruno Lin of Carl Zeiss AG, Byung-Ha Oh, Dean of the Biological Sciences Department, and Professor Eunjoon Kim. From the left in the picture are Byung-Ha Oh, Dean of the Biological Sciences Department, President Chun-Gui Park of Three-Shine Inc., and Professor Daesoo Kim. President Chun of Three-Shine Inc., said, “We hope that the Department of Biological Sciences at KAIST, aided by the construction of new research center, will produce practical research achievements and stand on the frontier of new medicine development research in Korea.” The New Medicine Research and Development Center will be equipped with state-of-the-art, purpose-built research facilities to support convergent, interdisciplinary research in biomedicine.
Op-Ed by Professor David Helfman: Global Science and Education in Korea for the 21st Century
Professor David Helfman from the Department of Biological Sciences and Graduate School of Nanoscience and Technology contributed an op-ed, “Global Science and Education in Korea for the 21st Century, to the Korea Herald on February 20, 2013. For the article, please click the link below: http://www.koreaherald.com/view.php?ud=20130220000623.
Op-Ed by Prof. David Helfman: Global Science and Education in the 21st Century
Professor David Helfman from the Department of Biological Sciences and Graduate School of Nanoscience and Technology(https://sites.google.com/site/cellsignalinglaboratory/home) recently wrote an Op-Ed in the January 2013 issue of Journal of Happy Scientists and Engineers that ispublished by the Ministry of Science, Education and Technology, the Republic of Korea. In the article entitled “Global Science and Education in the 21st Century,” Professor Helfman addressed three important issues in science and education, which will have a great impact for the development of world-leading universities in Korea. For the article, please see the attachment.
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