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Asia Pacific Biotech News' Special Coverage of Korean Biotechnology
The Asia Pacific Biotech News covered five major biotechnology research projects sponsored by the Korean government in the areas of biofuels, biomedicine, bio-nano healthcare, and biorefinery. The Asia Pacific Biotech News (APBN), a monthly magazine based in Singapore, which offers comprehensive reports on the fields of pharmaceuticals, healthcare, and biotechnology, recently published a special feature on Korea’s biotechnology research and development (R&D) programs. The magazine feature selected five research programs sponsored by the Korean government, which are either part of the Global Frontier or the Climate Change Technology Development Projects. The programs are: Systems Metabolic Engineering Research: Distinguished Professor Sang Yup Lee of the Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering Department at the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) has been leading a research group to develop biorefining technology using renewable non-food biomass to produce chemicals, fuels, and materials that were largely drawn from fossil resources through petrochemical refinery processes. Applying a systems metabolic engineering approach, the group succeeded in modifying the metabolic pathways of microorganisms. As a result, they produced, for the first time in the world, engineered plastic raw materials and gasoline. The team also developed a technique to produce butanol and succinic acid with a higher titer and yield using metabolically engineered microorganisms. Next-generation Biomass Research: Under the leadership of Professor Yong- Keun Chang of the Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering Department at KAIST, the research project, which belongs to the Global Frontier Project, develops biofuels and bioproducts utilizing microalgae typically found in water and other marine systems. Convergence Research for Biomedicine: Professor Sung-Hoon Kim of Seoul National University leads this project that develops targeted new drugs based on convergence research strategies. Bionano Healthcare Chip Research: Director Bong-Hyun Chung of the Korea Research Institute of Bioscience and Biotechnology has integrated information and communications technology, nanotechnology, and biotechnology to develop a diagnostic kit that can screen toxic germs, virus, and toxic materials in a prompt and accurate manner. Biosynergy Research: Led by Professor Do-Hun Lee of the Bio and Brain Engineering Department at KAIST, this research project develops new treatments with a multi-target, multi-component approach in the context of systems biology through an analysis of synergistic reactions between multi-compounds in traditional East Asian medicine and human metabolites. In East Asian medicine, treatment and caring of the human body are considered analogous to the politics of governing a nation. Based on such system, the research focuses on designing a foundation for the integration of traditional medicine with modern drug discovery and development. Director Ilsub Baek at the Platform Technology Division of the Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning, Republic of Korea, who is responsible for the Global Frontier Program and the Technology to Solve Climate Change, said, “It is great to see that Asia Pacific Biotech News published an extensive coverage of Korea’s several key research programs on biotechnology as its first issue of this year. I am sure that these programs will lead to great outcomes to solve many worldwide pending issues including climate change and healthcare in the aging society.” Professor Sang Yup Lee, who served as an editor of the feature, said, “At the request of the magazine, we have already published lead articles on our biotechnology research three times in the past in 2002, 2006, and 2011. I am pleased to see continued coverage of Korean biotechnology by the magazine because it recognizes the excellence of our research. Biotechnology has emerged as one of the strong fields that addresses important global issues such as climate change and sustainability.”
First International Conference on Science and Technology for Society
KAIST co-organized the 2013 International Conference on Science and Technology for Society which was held on November 28 at the Grace Hall in Seoul EL-Tower. More than 300 people, including members of the Global Social Technology Advisory Board, domestic social technology experts, private companies, government officials, private citizens, and students joined the conference to discuss the roles and responsibilities of science and technology for society. R&D policies and technologies for solving social issues were introduced, and discussions were held on desirable directions for technological development. The first speaker, Yasushi Watanabe, Director of RISTEX (Research Institute of Science and Technology for Society) in Japan, introduced the importance of science and technology for society under the title “Change of R&D Paradigm for Society.” Robert Wimmer, GrAT (Center for Appropriate Technology), Vienna University of Technology in Austria, presented “Need-oriented Design & Solutions for Development.” Kiyoaki Murakami, MRI, Japan, presented “Introduction of Platinum Vision” and Robert Ries, University of Florida, U.S.A., presented “Evaluating the Social Impacts of the Built Environment Using Life Cycle Assessment.” Case studies on social enterprises and presentations on R&D for solving social problems were introduced by ICISTS (International Conference for the Integration of Science, Technology and Society), which is a student group at KAIST, National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF), Korea Institute of Machinery and Materials (KIMM), Korea Research Institute of Bioscience and Biotechnology (KRIBB), Korea Institute of Industrial Technology (KITECH), Electronics and Telecommunication Research Institute (ETRI), and Korea Research Institute of Chemical Technology (KRICT).The conference was hosted by the Ministry of Science, ICT, and Future Planning and co-organized by NRF, KIMM, KRIBB, KITECH, ETRI and KRICT.
Six Organizations Join Forces to Induce Projected National Brain Institute to Daejeon
Six major organizations including KAIST have joined forces to help Daejeon City to win the government approval to build the envisioned Korean Brain Institute in Daedeok Research Complex. The six organizations signed a memorandum of understanding on cooperating in establishing the government-funded institute built within the Daedeok Research Complex in the city of Daejeon, at KAIST on Jan. 14. The six organizations are KAIST, the Daejeon City Government, Korea Research Institute of Bioscience and Biotechnology, Korea Research Institute of Standard and Science, Asan Medical Center, and SK Corp., a pioneer in effective therapeutic invention for serious brain disorders. The partnership of the six organizations is expected to bring a broad-based cooperation opportunities and create a massive synergy effect in the brain science researches and the development of new therapeutic treatment for brain disorders by combining their resources and infrastructures. The six organizations have also built an international research network with such globally-renowned brain research institutions as RIKEN, a large natural sciences research institute in Japan, Max Plank Institute in Germany, Federal Institute of Technology, Lausanne, in Switzerland and Brain Research Institute of University of Queensland in Australia. The research network is under the support and guidance of Dennis Choi, a prominent neuroscientist who once served as the President of the Society for Neuroscience and is currently a professor in the Departments of Neurology and biology at Emory University. The tentatively titled Korea Brain Institute is envisioned to help fight brain disorders and create Korea"s new growth engine, as well as lengthening life span, by conducting convergence researches in nero science, brain science and pharmacology. If the consortium of the six organizations wins the government approval to build the proposed institute within the Daedeok complex, the central government and the Daejeon city government are expected to pour a total of 329.7 billion won into the project by 2020.
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