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MoU Signed by the Republic of Korea Army and KAIST
(From left: KAIST President Sung-Chul Shin and ROKA Chief of Staff Youngwoo Kim) On March 7, the Republic of Korea Army (ROKA) and KAIST signed an MoU and opened special sessions dedicated to the army in order to reinforce research and development capacities. The close partnership between KAIST and ROKA will provide an opportunity to establish advanced combat development systems. Through the MoU, signed by KAIST President Sung-Chul Shin and ROKA Chief of Staff Youngwoo Kim, both organizations will discuss new opportunities for cooperation between academia and military and establish an institute and its curriculum. KAIST is offering special sessions for the army March 5-9, where about 150 executives from ROKA, including the headquarters, education and training command, and logistics command, will participate. These session are expected to enhance the army’s capabilities through education on cutting-edge equipment that will emerge during the Fourth Industrial Revolution. The director of the KAIST Security Convergence Institute, Soo Hyun Kim, said, “KAIST and ROKA will plan and operate various programs together though this partnership as well as special sessions. I hope this cooperation will be an opportunity to enhance the combat development of ROKA.”
Professor Il-Doo Kim Recevies the Song-gok Award
Professor Il-Doo Kim from the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at KAIST received the 20th Song-gok Science and Technology Award from Korea Institute of Science and Technology (KSIT). The Song-gok Science and Technology Award was established to praise the accomplishments of the first president, Hyung-seop Choi, whose penname is Song-gok. The award selects a recipient in the field of materials and technology every other year. Professor Kim, in recognition of his outstanding research and contributions to materials science in Korea, received the award during the 52nd anniversary ceremony of KIST on February 9. Professor Kim focuses on developing nanofiber gas sensors for diagnosing disease in advance by analyzing exhaled biomarkers with electrospinning technology. He has published more than 211 papers and has recorded more than 9,650 citations and 50 h-index. Professor Kim has registered 107 patents and applied 38 patents in Korea while registering 29 patents and applying 16 patents overseas. Also, he transferred four technologies in 2017. Professor Kim is recognized as one of the researchers who is leading nanofiber technology. On January 17, he made a keynote speech at the 5th International Conference on Electrospinning, which was his fourth keynote speech at that conference. Moreover, he received the Technology Innovation Award at the College of Engineering, KAIST on December 19, 2017. Professor Kim said, “It is my great honor to receive the Song-gok Science and Technology Award. I would like to bring distinction to KAIST by taking the lead in the commercializing a nanofiber-based highly sensitive nanosensors, diversifying and commercializing technology using nanofiber.”
MoU by KAIST-Seoul-Seocho-gu for the 4th Industrial Revolution
The opening ceremony of the Yangjae R&CD Innovation Hub was held in Seoul on December 5. More than 400 guests came to the ceremony from major institutes and companies that are based in the hub. KAIST President Sung-Chul Shin, the Mayor of Seoul, Won-soon Park, and the Mayor of Seocho-gu, Eun Hee Cho, signed an MoU for Seoul to be the leading city for successfully realizing the Fourth Industrial Revolution. The three organizations aim to cooperate with one another in various areas, including an economic boost for local job creation, technology development, and the promotion of projects through an industry-academia-institute network and fostering manpower. Yangjae R&CD is the first facility specializing in and dedicated for Artificial Intelligence, which is the major topic of the Fourth Industrial Revolution. The hub is comprised of enterprises specializing in AI, open co-work spaces, conference rooms, an open networking lounge, and spaces for fostering professional manpower. The hub will recruit additional enterprises and individuals who wish to move in. KAIST, an institute containing professors and researchers in the field of AI, and Modulabs, an organization becoming distinguished in AI research, will be in charge of operating the facility together. The Yangjae R&CD Innovation Hub will operate a professional training program with participation from KAIST professors, which aims to produce 500 professionals in AI research and development by 2020. It will also provide inexpensive space as well as consultations and venture capital to startup and venture companies. It plans to find and foster 50 innovation companies by 2020. In particular, the hub will operate a course for new AI business models 24 times over three years. The hub also offers job consultations, academic conferences, public space for companies residing in the hub, a free GPU cluster server, technical training, seminars, forums, investment attraction, overseas expansion, and one-to-one technical consultations. The Yangjae R&CD Zone is the place established for the Fourth Industrial Revolution by Seoul. R&CD is a concept combining Research and Development, Connection, Companies, Community, and Culture. Seoul aims to create the Yangjae Zone as an urban innovation hub for facilitating industry-academia linkage as well as establishing a startup-settlement-growth technical ecosystem.
Professor Dong Ho Cho Awarded at the Haedong Conference 2017
Professor Dong Ho Cho of the School of Electrical Engineering at KAIST received an award at the 13th Haedong Conference 2017 in Seoul on the first of December. The Korean Institute of Communications and Information Sciences recognized Professor Cho for his significant contributions in the field of mobile communication networks. He has carried out groundbreaking research on mobile systems, including architecture, protocols, algorithms, optimization, and efficiency analysis. As a result, he has produced 73 papers in renowned international journals, 138 papers at international conferences, and filed 52 international patents and 121 domestic patents. In addition, he transferred 14 of the patents he filed to Korean and international companies.
Distinguished Professor Lee Named International Fellow of the CAS
Distinguished Professor Sang Yup Lee from the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at KAIST was awarded the title of distinguished professor and international fellow from the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), and honorary professor from its affiliated organization the Tianjin Institute of Industrial Biotechnology (TIB). The CAS recognized Distinguished Professor Lee for his significant contributions to biotechnology. He has made significant pioneering academic achievements in the area of systems metabolic engineering, which produces useful chemicals from microorganisms. Not only did he develop the first and best source technology in that field, but also came out with processes for the production of biofuel and environmentally-friendly chemicals.” As a global leader in systems metabolic engineering, Distinguished Professor Lee has also been appointed as an honorary professor at Jiangnan University in Wuxi, China. Distinguished Professor Lee was listed in the ‘Top 20 Translational Researchers of 2014’ selected by the renowned international journal Nature Biotechnology. Moreover, he was the first Asian recipient of the James E. Bailey Award in 2016 and Marvin J. Johnson Award in 2012, which are given to scholars in the field of biotechnology. He is also one of 13 global scientists who are foreign members of the renowned academic societies the National Academy of Engineering and the National Academy of Sciences in the US. Furthermore, he received the ‘2017 Korea Best Scientist Award’ from the president of Korea in July. Finally, his founding field, systems metabolic engineering, was chosen as one of the ‘Top 10 Emerging Technologies of 2016’ by the World Economic Forum. The Chinese Academy of Sciences, established in November 1949, is an academic organization that carries out research on basic sciences and natural sciences in China. It defined its science and technology system to include the fields of basic sciences, natural sciences, and high technology. While having a base in Beijing, its branch academies are located in 12 main cities along with 117 affiliates and 100 national key labs.
Research Center for Smart Submerged Floating Tunnel Systems Opens
(Distinguished guests including President Shin (fourth from the right) and Director Lee (third from left) at the opening ceremony) The Research Center for a Smart Submerged Floating Tunnel Systems was recently established at KAIST with the purpose of taking the lead in developing fundamental and applicable technology for submerged floating tunnels as well as fostering creative and talented people. Haeng-Ki Lee, a professor in the Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering at KAIST is heading the center. KAIST held its opening ceremony on September 7, 2017 in the Applied Engineering Building located on the main campus. Distinguished guests, including KAIST president Sung-Chul Shin, the President of the Korea Institute of Ocean Science and Technology Gi-Hoon Hong, the President of the Korean Society of Civil Engineering Young-Seok Park, and the Director in the Division of Engineering at the National Research Foundation of Korea Joong-Kon Park attended the ceremony. The National Research Foundation of Korea provides Engineering Research Center (ERC) projects which find and foster groups with outstanding research performance in a field of engineering. The projects support these groups so that they can strengthen their global competitiveness while enhancing national competence in basic research. The ‘Research Center for Smart Submerged Floating Tunnel Systems’ was selected as one of the ERC projects in 2017. For the next seven years, the research center will work to develop a submerged floating tunnel system resistant depths greater than 100 meters. To achieve its goal, the center has defined crucial research topics including: i) a structural analysis program and integrated design technology specific for submerged floating tunnel systems, ii) high-durability marine construction materials and submerged construction integrated systems, and iii) safety and maintenance integrated technology for smart submerged floating tunnel systems. The ‘Research Center for Smart Submerged Floating Tunnel Systems’ will devote itself to developing a variety of fundamental and applicable technology that will be leading global maritime construction. Moreover, it will concentrate on fostering professional research manpower in related areas. The Director of the Center Lee said, “The center will cooperate with KAIST researchers who are experts in various fields, including structures, materials, construction, and maritime research. Based on this collaboration, the center will contribute to achieving autonomous technologies by developing fundamental and applicable technology related with submerged floating tunnel systems. It will also take the role of a leading global research hub in the field of submerged floating tunnels as well as construction technologies.”
Professor Dan Keun Sung Endows Scholarship in Honor of His Retirement
Professor Dan Keun Sung in the School of Electrical Engineering contributed a 100 million KRW scholarship fund this month to KAIST to mark his retirement after more than three decades of work. “As my retirement date comes closer, I have been thinking about what I could do for the school. I wanted to leave something behind, even though it’s small, for my lifelong school and students. I am hoping that this scholarship fund will benefit the members of KAIST.” This isn’t his first time making a donation to KAIST. In 2013, Professor Sung donated ten million KRW, which was his cash prize from the 9th Haedong Academic Award of The Korean Institute of Communications and Information Sciences (KICS). At that time, Professor Sung had the chance to create a scholarship fund in his name; however, he wanted to highlight that the scholarship fund was for ‘someone,’ not created by ‘someone.’ In that sense, his scholarship fund was created with no name to benefit students in the School of Electrical Engineering. His colleagues and students supported his idea. Professor Seonghwan Cho, students, and alumni also participated in fund raising efforts, which reached 55 million KRW in total. Professor Sung emphasized, “Donations should always be remembered, no matter how small they are.” He then explained his purpose for creating the scholarship fund by saying, “Fundraising can be truly meaningful to contributors, knowing that their money is going to supporting the school and students.” Professor Sung, a fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) Communication Society, started his post at KAIST in 1986. For the past 30 years, he has devoted himself to fostering young scholars and studying in the area of information and communication. He also participated in developing technologies for the resource management of various future cellular components, such as satellites, switchboards, and signaling networks.
Structural Insights into the Modulation of Synaptic Adhesion by MDGA for Synaptogenesis
Synapses connected by various synaptic adhesion molecules are communication spaces between neurons for transmitting information. Among various synaptic adhesion molecules, neuroligins are arguably the most widely studied class of postsynaptic adhesion molecules, which mainly interact with presynaptic neurexins to induce excitatory or inhibitory synapse development. Recently, the membrane-associated mucin (MAM) domain-containing GPI anchor protein 1 (MDGA1) has been characterized as a key suppressor of Neuroligin-2/Neurexin-1β-mediated inhibitory synapse development, but how it acts remains a mystery. In a recent issue of Neuron, published on June 21, 2017, a research team led by Professor Ho Min Kim at the Graduate School of Medical Science and Engineering of KAIST reported the three-dimensional structure of MDGA1/Neuroligin-2 complex and mechanistic insights into how MDGAs negatively modulate synapse development governed by Neurexins/Neuroligins trans -synaptic adhesion complex. MDGA1 consists of six Ig-like domains, fibronectin type III repeat domain, and MAM domain . The crystal structure of MDGA1/Neuroligin-2 complex reveals that they form the 2:2 hetero-tetrameric complex and only the Ig1-Ig2 domains of MDGA1 are involved in interactions with Neuroligin-2. The structural comparison between the MDGA1/Neuroligin-2 and Neurexin-1β/Neuroligin-1 complexes intriguingly indicates that the Neuroligin-2 region binding to MDGA1 largely overlaps with that of Neurexin-1β, but the interaction interface of the MDGA1/Neuroligin-2 complex is much larger than that of the Neurexin-1β/Neuroligin-1 complex. This explains why Neuroligin-2 binds stronger to MDGA1 than Neurexin-1β, and how the favored MDGA1 binding to Neuroligin-2 sterically blocks the interaction between Neuroligin-2 and Neurexin-1β, which is critical for the suppression of inhibitory synapse development. “Although we found that MDGA Ig domains (Ig 1 and Ig 2) are sufficient to form a complex with NL2, other extracellular domains, including Ig 3–6, FN III, and MAM domains, may also contribute to stable cis-interactions between MDGA1 and Neuroligin-2 by providing conformational flexibility. Therefore, further structural analysis of full-length MDGA will be required,” Professor Kim said. Neuroligin-2 specifically promotes the development of inhibitory synapses, whereas neuroligin-1 promotes the development of excitatory synapses. Recently, not only MDGA1, but also MDGA2 have emerged as synaptic regulators for the development of excitatory or inhibitory synapses. In vitro biochemical analysis in this research clearly demonstrates that Neuroligin-1 and Neuroligin-2 bind to both MDGA1 and MDGA2 with comparable affinity. However, pull-down assays using detergent-solubilized mouse brain membrane fractions show the specific interaction of MDGA1 with Neuroligin-2, but not with Neuroligin-1. “This suggests that unidentified processes may dictate the selective association of MDGA1 with Neuroligin-2 in vivo , ” explained Professor Jaewon Ko at the Daegu Gyeongbuk Institute of Science and Technology (DGIST). A balance between excitatory and inhibitory synapses is crucial to healthy cognition and behavior. Mutations in neuroligins, neurexins, and MDGAs, which can disrupt the excitatory/inhibitory balance, are associated with neuropsychiatric diseases such as autism and schizophrenia. Jung A Kim at KAIST, first author in this study, said, “Our discovery from integrative investigations are an important first step both for a better understanding of Neuroligin/Neurexin synaptic adhesion pathways and MDGA-mediated regulation of synapse development as well as the development of potential new therapies for autism, schizophrenia, and epilepsy.”
2017 World Friends ICT KAIST Sets Off to Ethiopia, Tanzania
KAIST launched the ‘2017 World Friends ICT KAIST’ on 21 June at a ceremony held at the Faculty Club. The event was attended by 40 student volunteers and faculty members including President Sung-Chul Shin and student volunteers. The ‘2017 World Friends ICT KAIST’ is an oversees volunteer program aimed at providing ICT education for students from developing countries and for cultural exchange. The program was organized by the KAIST Leadership Center and sponsored by the National Information Agency (NIA) since 2015. President Sung-Chul Shin delivered words of encouragement to start the opening ceremony, followed by an oath-taking by the volunteer group, safety training, and a commemorative photoshoot. This year’s World Friends ICT volunteer group consisted of 32 students and 2 staff members to lead and to support the team. The group was divided into eight teams including APP-frica, KAI-Tigers, and WITH (4 members per team) to volunteer in Addis Ababa Institute of Technology (AAIT) and Adama Science and Technology University in Ethiopia (ASTU), as well as Nelson Mandela African Institute of Science and Technology (NM-AIST) in Tanzania. The teams will educate local students on ICT and promote cultural exchanges. The volunteer period is from July 7 to August 5, lasting about a month. KAIST conducted primary document examinations and interviews from April 27 to May 18 on volunteer candidates who registered to take part, and selected 32 student volunteers. A total of 68 students registered to volunteer, resulting in a 1:2.1 competition rate. The volunteering program was customized to the local needs of Ethiopia and Tanzania and thus consisted of ICT education, cultural exchanges, volunteering at farms on the weekends, and science experiments. The area with the most focus by the volunteer team is ICT education, which accounts for 70% of the total volunteer activities. The aim is to educate Ethiopian students at AAIT and ASTU on Windows, MS Office, Adobe Photoshop, and using smartphones. In Tanzania, the team is to volunteer with students of NM-AIST to provide ICT application education such as water tank control using appropriate technology and Arduino to local high school students. The team is also planning to promote cultural exchanges by preparing K-Pop dancing, traditional Korean games such as Korean shuttlecock game (jegichagi) and Korean wrestling (ssireum), traditional cooking such as bibimbab and half-moon-shaped rice cake (songpyeon), and teaching the Korean language, as well as preparing cultural performances with local university students. On the weekends, the team will visit local farms to volunteer, and local elementary schools and orphanages to conduct science experiments for children, as well as physical education and art activities. (Photo caption: Volunteers poses with faculty and staff members including President Sung-Chul Shin at a ceremony on June 21.)
Total Synthesis of Flueggenine C via an Accelerated Intermolecular Rauhut-Currier Reaction
The first total synthesis of dimeric securinega alkaloid (-)-flueggenine C was completed via an accelerated intermolecular Rauhut–Currier (RC) reaction. The research team led by Professor Sunkyu Han in the Department of Chemistry succeeded in synthesizing the natural product by reinventing the conventional RC reaction. The total synthesis of natural products refers to the process of synthesizing secondary metabolites isolated from living organisms in the laboratory through a series of chemical reactions. Each stage of chemical reaction needs to be successful to produce the final target molecule, and thus the process requires high levels of patience and creativity. For that reason, the researchers working on natural products total synthesis are often called “molecular artists”. Despite numerous reports on the total synthesis of monomeric securinegas, the synthesis of dimeric securinegas, whose monomeric units are connected by a putative enzymatic RC reaction, has not been reported to date. The team used a Rauhut-Currier (RC) reaction, a carboncarbon bond forming a reaction between two Michael acceptors first reported by Rauhut and Currier in 1963, to successfully synthesize a dimeric natural product, flueggenine C. This new work featured the first application of an intermolecular RC reaction in total synthesis. The conventional intermolecular RC reaction was driven non-selectively by a toxic nucleophilic catalyst at a high temperature of over 150°C and a highly concentrated reaction mixture, and thus has never been applied to natural products total synthesis. To overcome this long-standing problem, the research team placed a nucleophilic moiety at the γ-position of the enone derivative. As a result, the RC reaction could be induced by the simple addition of a base at ambient temperature and dilute solution, without the need of a nucleophilic catalyst. Using this newly discovered reactivity, the team successfully synthesized the natural product (-)-flueggenine C from commercially available amino acid derivative in 12 steps. Professor Han said, “Our key finding regarding the remarkably improved reactivity and selectivity of the intermolecular RC reaction will serve as a significant stepping stone in allowing this reaction to be considered a practical and reliable chemical tool with broad applicability in natural products, pharmaceuticals, and materials syntheses. ” This research was led by Ph.D. candidate Sangbin Jeon and was published in The Journal of the American Chemical Society (JACS) on May 10. This research was funded by KAIST start-up funds, HRHR (High-Risk High-Return), RED&B (Research, Education, Development & Business) projects, the National Research Foundation of Korea, and the Institute for Basic Science. (Figure 1: Representative dimeric/oligomeric securinega alkaloids) (Figure 2: Our reinvented Rauhut-Currier reaction) (Figure 3: Total Synthesis of (-)-flueggenine C)
FinTech Conference by KAIST, EDHEC-Risk Institute, Princeton, and Tsinghua
KAIST will partner with EDHEC-Risk Institute, Princeton University, and Tsinghua University to host a series of annual rotation conference on FinTech. The inaugural conference will be held in Princeton on April 26 and is entitled ‘Four-University Rotating FinTech Conference: Wealth Management Systems for Individual Investors.’ The conference will facilitate discussion among all interest parties of academics, practitioners, and regulators from around the world. Professor Woo Chang Kim of the Department of Industrial & Systems Engineering will represent KAIST. Professor Kim is also the head of the Center for Wealth Management Technologies at KAIST. In addition to Professor Kim, leading experts from the US, Asia, and Europe will present at the conference, including Andrew Yao (Turing Award recipient and founder of IIIS FinTech Center at Tsinghua University), John Bogle (founder of the Vanguard Group, and president of the Bogle Financial Markets Research Center), Lionel Martellini (director of EDHEC-Risk Institute), John Mashey (Bell Labs/Silicon Valley computer scientist/corporate executive), and John Mulvey (professor and founding member of the Bendheim Center for Finance at Princeton University). This year’s conference will feature following sessions: · Mass-Customization of Goal-Based Investment Solutions: The New Frontier in Digital Wealth Management Services · Goal-Based Investment via Multi-Stage Stochastic Goal Programming for Robo-Advisor Services · Big Data – Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow · Applying Machine Learning Concepts for Asset Allocation and ALM · FinTech: Drawing Strengths from Computing Theories · Savings and Investing to Achieve Retirement Goals: An Update Given Current Market Assumptions · The Rise of Robo-Advisors: A Threat or an Opportunity for the Wealth Management Industry? The conference will include the participation of official partner Samsung Asset Management.
Dr. Sung-Chul Shin Selected 16th President of KAIST
(President Sung-Chul Shin) The KAIST Board of Trustees elected Professor Sung-Chul Shin of the Department of Physics the 16th president of KAIST on February 21. Professor Shin succeeds President Sung-Mo Kang whose four-year term will end on February 23. He is the first KAIST alumnus to serve as its president. The Board of Trustees announced, “We believe that Professor Shin’s scientific achievement, outstanding leadership, and clear vision will serve KAIST faculty, students, and staff very well. He will be the best person to help KAIST leap forward in the four years ahead.” The newly-elected president said, “I am humbled and honored to have been elected to lead such a prestigious institute of Korea. Aiming to be one of the top ten global universities, KAIST will continue to innovate its systems.” Previously, Dr. Shin led the Daegu Gyeongbuk Institute of Science and Technology (DGIST) for six years as president since 2011. Professor Shin joined the KAIST faculty in 1989. He graduated from Seoul National University and then earned his MS degree in condensed matter physics at KAIST in 1977. After earning his Ph.D. in material physics at Northwestern University in 1984, he worked at Eastman Kodak Research Labs as a senior research scientist for five years. Before heading to DGIST, President Shin held key administrative positions at KAIST from the early 1990s including dean of planning, dean of the international office, and vice-dean of student affairs. During President Robert Laughlin’s tenure, the first foreign president at KAIST, he served as vice-president for two years from 2004. He also served on the Presidential Advisory Council on Science and Technology of the Korean government as vice chairperson from 2015 to 2016. A renowned scholar in the field of nanoscience, President Shin’s research focuses on the artificial synthesis and characterization of nonmagnetic materials, magnetic anisotropy, and magneto-optical phenomena. He leads the Laboratory for Nanospinics of Spintronic Materials at KAIST and has published in 290 journals while holding 37 patents. A fellow in the American Physical Society (APS) since 2008, he was the president of the Korean Physical Society from 2011 to 2012. He has been on the editorial board of J. Magnetism and Magnetic Materials from 2009 and was the first Korean recipient of the Asian Union of Magnetics Societies (AUMS) Award, which recognizes outstanding scientists in the field of magnetics. President Shin envisions making KAIST’s research and education more competitive through continuing innovation. His innovation efforts will extend to the five key areas of education, research, technology commercialization, globalization, and future planning. Among his priorities, he emphasizes multidisciplinary studies and leadership training for students. He plans to focus on undeclared major courses for undergraduates to help them expand their experience and exposure to diverse disciplines. This approach will help create well-rounded engineers, scientists, and entrepreneurs by enabling them to develop skills while leveraging a strong connection to the arts, humanities, and social sciences. To better respond to Industry 4.0, which calls for convergence studies and collaborative work, he proposed establishing a ‘Convergence Innovation System’ by strategically selecting 10 flagship convergence research groups. In order to accelerate the technology commercialization and ecosystem of start-ups, he will strengthen entrepreneurship education, making it a prerequisite requirement for students. President Shin said he will spare no effort to incubate and spin-off ventures in which KAIST technology is being transferred. For globalization efforts, he plans to increase the ratio of foreign faculty from 9 percent to 15 percent, while doubling the current foreign student enrollment ratio of 5 percent. For future strategic innovation, he will implement a long-term innovation strategic plan dubbed ‘Vision 2031.’
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