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Professor Jie-Oh Lee awarded 'Scientist of the Year'​
View : 12021 Date : 2007-12-21 Writer : ed_news


Professor Jie-Oh Lee of the Department of Chemistry was awarded the ‘Scientist of the Year’ prize for identifying the three-dimensional structure of protein that causes sepsis, and it was announced by the Korean Science Reporters Association (KOSRA) on November 26th.

“Humans have about 30,000 different kinds of proteins, and they all have different structures, just like our faces,” said Professor Lee. “It is extremely helpful to know the three-dimensional shape of proteins when you are trying to understand what their functions in an organism are and trying to develop medicine for them.”

When looking for the three-dimensional structure, protein must first be crystallized and radiated with x-ray, so that reflected x-ray can be interpreted. The three-dimensional structure of sepsis immunity proteins TLR1-TLR2 and TLR4-MD2 could not be found until now because they would not even crystallize.

“I began to doubt if it was even possible to crystallize them because we went through so many failures,” reflected Professor Lee.

In August of last year, after about three years of research, the team finally came up with a new idea. The team decided to ‘stick’ the sepsis immunity protein to protein that easily crystallizes. If the combined structure of sepsis immunity protein and the known protein could be identified, the structure of sepsis immunity protein would be a combined structure subtracted by the known structure.

The three-dimensional structure was obtained with x-ray radiation from combined protein crystal. The combined protein was derived from an insect cell with altered DNA.

“This method seems very simple but no one ever tried it or no one ever succeeded in it,” said Professor Lee.

The result was a horseshoe shaped protein structure. The research team also expects the new protein-combining technology to contribute to the development of a new immune system treatment medicine.

The prize-awarding ceremony was held on November 26th in an event hosted by the Korean Hospital Association.

Also, Professor Ryong Ryoo of the Department of Chemistry was selected as the National Scientist last month.



By KAIST Herald on  November, 2007
 

Professor Jie-Oh Lee awarded 'Scientist of the Year' 이미지