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Antivirus Industry the Centerpiece of New Deal R&D Initiatives
- KAIST launches post-COVID-19 R&D initiatives for smart mobile medical systems. - KAIST will make the antivirus industry the centerpiece of what it is touting as the KAIST New Deal R&D initiative, which will drive new growth engines for preparing for the post-coronavirus era. According to the new initiative, KAIST will concentrate on creating antivirus technologies, infectious disease-related big data management, and non-contact services platforms as key future R&D projects. President Sung-Chul Shin launched the COVID-19 R&D Initiative task force last month, composed of more than 50 professors from the Graduate School of Medical Science and Engineering, the Department of Biological Sciences, the College of Engineering, and the Department of Industrial Design. The task force came up with key research agendas that will promote smart mobile medical systems in the years ahead. “We will devote all of our R&D capacities to pursue a smart healthcare society,” said President Shin. “Our competitiveness in the fields of AI, ICT, materials, and bio-technology holds significant potential for building a healthy society powered by smart medical systems in Korea,” he added. The smart medical systems focus mainly on building an Epidemic Mitigating Mobile Module (EMMM). The EMMM will manage epidemics via the three phases of prevention, emergency response, and treatment, with the development of each phase’s technological modules. The EMMM will also build an AI big data platform to assist with clinical applications and epidemic management. Technologies applicable for the prevention phase include developing recyclable antivirus masks, plasma virus sterilizers, and smart breathable protective gowns. KAIST researchers will also focus on developing diagnosis modules that will identify epidemics more quickly and accurately. Most significantly, KAIST aims to develop technologies for anti-infection medical services such as the transformable negative pressure ambulance module and negative pressure room, which are specially developed for respiratory infections. The new R&D initiatives will center on virus therapies and treatments, specifically pushing forward vaccine and robotics studies. As caring robots and delivery robots will become common as main caregivers via noncontact services, research focusing on robotics will be significantly enhanced. Even before launching the new R&D initiatives, researchers have started to present new technologies to help address the pandemic. Professor Il-Doo Kim’s team in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering developed a washable nano-fiber filtered face mask that is preparing for commercialization. GPS tracking of infections has expanded comprehensively to detect both indoor and outdoor activities of infected patients. Professor Dong-Soo Han from the School of Computing developed Wi-Fi positioning software built into mobile phones that can trace both activities and is now preparing to roll it out. Virologist Ui-Cheol Shin from the Graduate School of Medical Science and Engineering is carrying out research on a universal T-cell vaccine that can block the Betacoronaviruses. It is reported that that new epidemics such as SARS, MERS, and COVID-19 carry Betacoronaviruses. Research teams in the Graduate School of AI are conducting various research projects on building prediction models for outbreaks and spreads using big data. (END)
KAIST Awarded the IPBC R&D Institution Team of the Year
KAIST was awarded the R&D Institution Team of the Year during the annual IPBC (Intellectual Property Business Congress) Asia 2019 held in Tokyo October 28-30. IPBC is a conference dedicated to IP value creation strategies hosted by IAM Media, a world’s leading IP business media platform. IPBC Asia 2019 recognized the institutions and businesses that employed innovative IP strategies and management to produce the greatest IP value in 11 categories covering automotive, electronics, healthcare and biotechnology, internet and software, R&D institutions, semiconductors, industrials, mobile and telecommunications, Asia IP deals, Asia teams, and Asia individuals. This year, KAIST was recognized as one of the most active patentees in the Asia-Pacific region by significantly increasing its IP value through licensing and tech transfers. Associate Vice President Kyung Cheol Choi of the Office of University-Industry Cooperation remarked, “We are so delighted to prove the strong research capacity of KAIST. This will help us accomplish our vision of being a leading university that creates global impact.”
Two Professors Recognized for the National R&D Excellence 100
< Professor Haeng-Ki Lee (left) and Professor Jeong-Ho Lee (right) > Two KAIST professors were listed among the 2019 National R&D Excellence 100 announced by the Ministry of Science and ICT and the Korea Institute of S&T Evaluation and Planning. Professor Haeng-Ki Lee from the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering was recognized in the field of mechanics and materials for his research on developing new construction materials through the convergence of nano- and biotechnologies. In the field of life and marine science, Professor Jeong-Ho Lee from the Graduate School of Medical Science and Engineering was lauded for his research of diagnostic tools and therapies for glioblastoma and pediatric brain tumors. A certificate from the Minister of Ministry of Science and ICT will be conferred to these two professors, and their names will be inscribed on a special 2019 National R&D Excellence 100 plaque to celebrate their achievements. The professors will also be given privileges during the process of new R&D project selection. (END)
Accurate Detection of Low-Level Somatic Mutation in Intractable Epilepsy
KAIST medical scientists have developed an advanced method for perfectly detecting low-level somatic mutation in patients with intractable epilepsy. Their study showed that deep sequencing replicates of major focal epilepsy genes accurately and efficiently identified low-level somatic mutations in intractable epilepsy. According to the study, their diagnostic method could increase the accuracy up to 100%, unlike the conventional sequencing analysis, which stands at about 30% accuracy. This work was published in Acta Neuropathologica. Epilepsy is a neurological disorder common in children. Approximately one third of child patients are diagnosed with intractable epilepsy despite adequate anti-epileptic medication treatment. Somatic mutations in mTOR pathway genes, SLC35A2, and BRAF are the major genetic causes of intractable epilepsies. A clinical trial to target Focal Cortical Dysplasia type II (FCDII), the mTOR inhibitor is underway at Severance Hospital, their collaborator in Seoul, Korea. However, it is difficult to detect such somatic mutations causing intractable epilepsy because their mutational burden is less than 5%, which is similar to the level of sequencing artifacts. In the clinical field, this has remained a standing challenge for the genetic diagnosis of somatic mutations in intractable epilepsy. Professor Jeong Ho Lee’s team at the Graduate School of Medical Science and Engineering analyzed paired brain and peripheral tissues from 232 intractable epilepsy patients with various brain pathologies at Severance Hospital using deep sequencing and extracted the major focal epilepsy genes. They narrowed down target genes to eight major focal epilepsy genes, eliminating almost all of the false positive calls using deep targeted sequencing. As a result, the advanced method robustly increased the accuracy and enabled them to detect low-level somatic mutations in unmatched Formalin Fixed Paraffin Embedded (FFPE) brain samples, the most clinically relevant samples. Professor Lee conducted this study in collaboration with Professor Dong Suk Kim and Hoon-Chul Kang at Severance Hospital of Yonsei University. He said, “This advanced method of genetic analysis will improve overall patient care by providing more comprehensive genetic counseling and informing decisions on alternative treatments.” Professor Lee has investigated low-level somatic mutations arising in the brain for a decade. He is developing innovative diagnostics and therapeutics for untreatable brain disorders including intractable epilepsy and glioblastoma at a tech-startup called SoVarGen. “All of the technologies we used during the research were transferred to the company. This research gave us very good momentum to reach the next phase of our startup,” he remarked. The work was supported by grants from the Suh Kyungbae Foundation, a National Research Foundation of Korea grant funded by the Ministry of Science and ICT, the Korean Health Technology R&D Project from the Ministry of Health & Welfare, and the Netherlands Organization for Health Research and Development. (Figure: Landscape of somatic and germline mutations identified in intractable epilepsy patients. a Signaling pathways for all of the mutated genes identified in this study. Bold: somatic mutation, Regular: germline mutation. b The distribution of variant allelic frequencies (VAFs) of identified somatic mutations. c The detecting rate and types of identified mutations according to histopathology. Yellow: somatic mutations, green: two-hit mutations, grey: germline mutations.)
'Flying Drones for Rescue'
(Video Credit: ⓒNASA JPL) < Team USRG and Professor Shim (second from the right) > Having recently won the AI R&D Grand Challenge Competition in Korea, Team USRG (Unmanned System Research Group) led by Professor Hyunchul Shim from the School of Electrical Engineering is all geared up to take on their next challenges: the ‘Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency Subterranean Challenge (DARPA SubT Challenge)’ and ‘Lockheed Martin’s AlphaPilot Challenge’ next month. Team USRG won the obstacle course race in the ‘2019 AI R&D Grand Challenge Competition’ on July 12. They managed to successfully dominate the challenging category of ‘control intelligence.’ Having to complete the obstacle course race solely using AI systems without any connection to the internet made it difficult for most of the eight participating teams to pass the third section of the race, and only Team USRG passed the long pipeline course during their attempt in the main event. They also demonstrated, after the main event, that their drone can navigate all of the checkpoints including landing on the “H” mark using deep learning. Their drone flew through polls and pipes, and escaped from windows and mazes against strong winds, amid cheers and groans from the crowd gathered at the Korea Exhibition Center (KINTEX) in Goyang, Korea. The team was awarded three million KRW in prize money, and received a research grant worth six hundred million KRW from the Ministry of Science and ICT (MSIT). “Being ranked first in the race for which we were never given a chance for a test flight means a lot to our team. Considering that we had no information on the exact size of the course in advance, this is a startling result,” said Professor Shim. “We will carry out further research with this funding, and compete once again with the improved AI and drone technology in the 2020 competition,” he added. The AI R&D Grand Challenge Competition, which was first started in 2017, has been designed to promote AI research and development and expand its application to addressing high-risk technical challenges with significant socio-economic impact. This year’s competition presented participants with a task where they had to develop AI software technology for drones to navigate themselves autonomously during complex disaster relief operations such as aid delivery. Each team participated in one of the four tracks of the competition, and their drones were evaluated based on the criteria for each track. The divisions were broken up into intelligent context-awareness, intelligent character recognition, auditory intelligence, and control intelligence. Team USRG’s technological prowess has been already well acclaimed among international peer groups. Teamed up with NASA JPL, Caltech, and MIT, they will compete in the subterranean mission during the ‘DARPA SubT Challenge’. Team CoSTAR, as its name stands for, is working together to build ‘Collaborative SubTerranean Autonomous Resilient Robots.’ Professor Shim emphasized the role KAIST plays in Team CoSTAR as a leader in drone technology. “I think when our drone technology will be added to our peers’ AI and robotics, Team CoSTAR will bring out unsurpassable synergy in completing the subterrestrial and planetary applications. I would like to follow the footprint of Hubo, the winning champion of the 2015 DARPA Robotics Challenge and even extend it to subterranean exploration,” he said. These next generation autonomous subsurface explorers are now all optimizing the physical AI robot systems developed by Team CoSTAR. They will test their systems in more realistic field environments August 15 through 22 in Pittsburgh, USA. They have already received funding from DARPA for participating. Team CoSTAR will compete in three consecutive yearly events starting this year, and the last event, planned for 2021, will put the team to the final test with courses that incorporate diverse challenges from all three events. Two million USD will be awarded to the winner after the final event, with additional prizes of up to 200,000 USD for self-funded teams. Team USRG also ranked third in the recent Hyundai Motor Company’s ‘Autonomous Vehicle Competition’ and another challenge is on the horizon: Lockheed Martin’s ‘AlphaPilot Challenge’. In this event, the teams will be flying their drones through a series of racing gates, trying to beat the best human pilot. The challenge is hosted by Lockheed Martin, the world’s largest military contractor and the maker of the famed F-22 and F-35 stealth fighters, with the goal of stimulating the development of autonomous drones. Team USRG was selected from out of more than 400 teams from around the world and is preparing for a series of races this fall, beginning from the end of August. Professor Shim said, “It is not easy to perform in a series of competitions in just a few months, but my students are smart, hardworking, and highly motivated. These events indeed demand a lot, but they really challenge the researchers to come up with technologies that work in the real world. This is the way robotics really should be.” (END)
Distinguished Professor Sang Yup Lee Announced as the Eni Award Recipient
(Distinguished Professor Sang Yup Lee) Distinguished Professor Sang Yup Lee from the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering will be awarded the 2018 Eni Advanced Environmental Solutions Prize in recognition of his innovations in the fields of energy and environment. The award ceremony will take place at the Quirinal Palace, the official residence of Italian President Sergio Mattarella, who will also be attending on October 22. Eni, an Italian multinational energy corporation established the Eni Award in 2008 to promote technological and research innovation of efficient and sustainable energy resources. The Advanced Environmental Solutions Prize is one of the three categories of the Eni Award. The other two categories are Energy Transition and Energy Frontiers. The Award for Advanced Environmental Solutions recognizes a researcher or group of scientists that has achieved internationally significant R&D results in the field of environmental protection and recovery. The Eni Award is referred to as the Nobel Award in the fields of energy and environment. Professor Lee, a pioneering leader in systems metabolic engineering was honored with the award for his developing engineered bacteria to produce chemical products, fuels, and non-food biomass materials sustainably and with a low environmental impact. He has leveraged the technology to develop microbial bioprocesses for the sustainable and environmentally friendly production of chemicals, fuels, and materials from non-food renewable biomass. The award committee said that they considered the following elements in assessing Professor Lee’s achievement: the scientific relevance and the research innovation level; the impact on the energy system in terms of sustainability as well as fairer and broader access to energy; and the adequacy between technological and economic aspects. Professor Lee, who already won two other distinguished prizes such as the George Washington Carver Award and the PV Danckwerts Memorial Lecture Award this year, said, “I am so glad that the international academic community as well as global industry leaders came to recognize our work that our students and research team has made for decades.” Dr. Lee’s lab has been producing a lot of chemicals in environmentally friendly ways. Among them, many were biologically produced for the first time and some of these processes have been already commercialized. “We will continue to strive for research outcomes with two objectives: First, to develop bio-based processes suitable for sustainable chemical industry. The other is to contribute to the human healthcare system through development of platform technologies integrating medicine and nutrition,” he added.
KAIST and KOICA Invited Dominican Republic Officials for Workshop
KAIST will host a two-week workshop for Dominican Republic officials and scholars in collaboration with KOICA (Korea International Cooperation Agency) beginning October 23 at KAIST. The workshop aims to encourage academia-industry cooperation as one of the Projects for Human Resource Development for Science and Technology at KOICA. Dominican participants including the assistant minister of the Ministry of Higher Education, Science and Technology (MESCYT) and deans of engineering colleges at major universities will enjoy lectures from experts and visit enterprises known for excellent academia-industry collaboration. According to the Center for Overseas Development, at which Professor WonJoon Kim in the School of Business and Technology Management at KAIST holds the position of director, the workshop is designed to develop human resources in the science and technology (S&T) area, share knowledge on research and development in the field of academia-industry cooperation, and help the participants acquire know-how for managing partnerships between related organizations and industries. During the workshop, KAIST plans to transfer know-how and share knowledge on its academia-industry cooperation R&D system, in hopes that the workshop will help the Dominican Republic foster its manpower in higher education. The workshop organizers hope that the officers and scholars will be able to apply what they will learn for establishing and carrying out detailed action plans for academia-industry cooperation policies in an effective manner. “This workshop provides an opportunity to learn about the development of S&T in Korea, academia-industry cooperation R&D, and fostering manpower in advanced S&T. Through the knowledge sharing, we can have a better understanding of academia-industry cooperation as well as education on advanced manpower,” said Pedro Antonio Eduardo, the assistant minister of MESCYT. He added, “I hope that this workshop will further detailed cooperation between the two countries for Korean high-tech enterprises’ overseas expansion and advanced manpower education. The development model in Korea has many essential elements, so learning its engine for growth and polytechnic manpower education will help develop my country’s industry sector.” The Project for Human Resource Development for Science and Technology is one of the official development assistance projects running from last year until 2019. It promotes R&D activities for S&T in the Dominican Republic, encouraging academia-industry cooperation by improving trainers in charge of advanced manpower education.
Professor Dae-Sik Im to Head the Science, Technology and Innovation Office at the Ministry of Science & ICT
(Professor Dae-Sik Im of the Department of Biological Sciences) Professor Dae-Sik Im of the Department of Biological Sciences, a renowned molecular cell biologist, was named to head the Science, Technology and Innovation Office in the Ministry of Science and ICT on August 31. He will be responsible for the oversight of national R&D projects as well as budget deliberation. Joining the KAIST faculty in 2002, he led the Creative Research Center of Cell Division and Differentiation at KAIST. Announcing the nomination of Professor Im, Cheong Wa Dae spokesman Park Soo-Hyun said, “Professor Im will be the best person to lead the innovation of the research infrastructure system for basic research studies. We believe that his expertise and leadership will make a significant impact in enhancing the nation’s science and technology competitiveness. This vice minister position in the Ministry of Science and ICT was newly created in an effort to enhance national science and technology initiatives by President Moon Jae-In. Professor Im said at the news conference, “I would like to make a sustainable, as well as credible, system ensuring the ingenuity of scientists in Korean labs. To this end, I will make every effort to enhance Korea’s innovative research environment in a way to maximize research achievements.”
KAIST and Oberthur Technologies Agree for Research and Development in Mobile Security
Professor Kwangjo Kim of the School of Computing at KAIST has signed a research and development (R&D) agreement with Marc Bertin, the Chief Technology Officer of Oberthur Technologies (OT), a French security solutions firm, on September 18, 2015 in Paris. Under the agreement, KAIST and OT will conduct joint research on mobile security as well as implement an internship program for KAIST graduate students to work either at OT’s R&D center in Korea or in France. OT has established a research center in Korea in July 2014, which was the fourth of its research centers in Asia. Professor Kim said, “Our goal at KAIST is to cultivate top-level security experts in security technologies. By partnering with such a leader in security technologies as OT, we know that we will both help shape tomorrow’s security solution for the IoT (Internet of Things) space.” In the picture, Professor Kwangjo Kim (left) shakes hands with Marc Bertin, the Chief Technology Officer of Oberthur Technologies (right), after the signing of a memorandum of understanding.
Joint Research Center on EEWS with Hyundai Heavy Industries Plans to Open
The research center will conduct collaborative R&D projects on energy, environment, water, and sustainability for the next five years.Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI), the world’s largest shipbuilding company, signed an MOU with KAIST for future business development and joint research collaboration. KAIST and HHI signed an MOU as an agreement to establish the “HHI-KAIST EEWS Research Center (HK Research Center) on June 21st.” The major mission of the HK Research Center is to build a strong base for creating future businesses through developing fundamental, core technology in the field of EEWS and designing business models based on the new technology. Toward this goal, HHI will sponsor the R&D budget and operation expenses of the research center for the next five years. Prior to the signing of the MOU, a delegation from HHI, led by the Vice President, Mr. Si-Young Hwang, visited the Office of EEWS Initiative at KAIST and held a workshop. During the workshop, HHI and KAIST agreed to collaborate in fields such as LNG-propelled ships, solar power generation, energy storage, fuel cells, and CO2 capture. KAIST has run a EEWS graduate program that receives government grants over the last five years, with a research emphasis on energy, environment, water, and sustainability, which are crucial issues to humankind in the 21st century. The EEWS program achieved 24 core technological developments and educates more than 200 masters- and PhD-degree students annually. The EEWS program also emphasizes commercializing its research outcomes. Through the annual Business Planning Competition and Investment Drive, there have been eight new companies founded by alumni and professors over the last five years of the program. The HK Research Center will be an excellent foundation for future education and research in EEWS. Professor Jae-Kyu Lee, the head of the HK Research Center and the director of the EEWS Initiative, said, “This event is a benchmarking example of Industry-KAIST collaboration. We hope that the HK Research Center will be a place for disruptive innovations to translate into creative business opportunities.” MOU signed for Hyundai Heavy Industries-KAIST EEWS Research Center
A Substance with Amazingly Improved Efficiency of Capturing Carbon Dioxides Developed
From left to right: Prof.Ali Coskun, Prof. Cafer T. Yavuz and Prof. Yousung Jung - Selectivity of CO2 increased by 300 times in comparison to nitrogen, published in Nature Communications- KAIST EEWS graduate school’s joint research team led by Prof. Cafer T. Yavuz, Prof. Ali Coskun, and Prof. Yousung Jung has developed the world"s most efficient CO2 absorbent that has 300 times higher carbon dioxide selectivity in comparison to nitrogen. Recently, the importance of CCS* technology, which is about capturing, storing and treating carbon dioxides, has begun to emerge world-widely as a practical alternative for the response to climate change. * CCS : Carbon Capture and sequestration Current carbon dioxide capturing technologies are wet capturing using liquid absorbent, dry capturing using solid absorbent and separation-membrane capturing using a thin membrane like a film. For the places like power plant and forge, where the emission of carbon dioxides is huge, the main task is to maintain the capturing efficiency under extremely hot and humid conditions. The previously studied dry absorbents, such as MOF or zeolite, had the disadvantages of instability in moist conditions and expensive cost for synthesis. On the other hand, the research team"s newly discovered dry absorbent, named ‘Azo-COP’, can be synthesized without any expensive catalysts so the production cost is very low. It is also stable under hot and humid conditions. COP is a structure consisting of simple organic molecules combined into porous polymer and is the first dry carbon dioxide capturing material developed by this research team. The research team introduced an additional functional group called "Azo" to the substance, so that it can selectively capture carbon dioxides among the mixture of gas. Azo-COP, which includes ‘Azo’ functional group, is manufactured easily by using common synthesis methods, and impurities are removed simply by using cheap solvents like water and acetone instead of expensive catalysts. As a result, the manufacturing cost has lowered drastically. Especially, Azo-COP is combined with carbon dioxides by weak attraction force rather than chemical attraction so the recycling energy cost for the absorbent can be reduced innovatively, and it is expected to be used for capturing substances other than carbon dioxides in various areas as it is stable under extreme conditions even under 350 degrees Celsius. This research is supported by Korea Carbon Capture&Sequestration R&D Center(Head: Sangdo Park) and KAIST EEWS planning group. Prof. Cafer T. Yavuz and Prof. Ali Coskun said that “when Azo-COP is used for separation of CO2 and N2, the capturing efficiency has increased by hundred times.” He continued “This substance does not need any catalysts and has great chemical characteristics like water stability and structure stability so is expected to be used in various fields including carbon dioxides capturing” Meanwhile, this research is published in ‘Nature’s stablemate ‘Nature Communications’ on 15th of Jan.
KAIST to Support R&D Plans of Mid-Small Sized Enterprises
KAIST signed a MOU for the ‘Support for R&D Plans for Mid-Small Sized Firms’ with the Small and Medium Business Conference and Korea South-East Power Co. Ltd. KAIST and Korea South-East Power Co. Ltd. will now be improving their cooperation on supporting R&D plans to help the technology development and commercialization for Small and Medium Businesses. Korea South-East Power Co. Ltd. will now select 20 best qualified firms out of its 300 cooperating firms and suggest them as candidates to KAIST Business membership System. The suggested firms will be given: ▲Strategy R&D Planning ▲Consult Difficult Technology ▲Provide Information on Research Labs and Researchers among other various programs. The firms participating in the KAIST Business membership System will be able to minimize risk and increase its possibility for success on Development Technology. KAIST Business membership System is a program provided to firms for a membership fee, in order to create technological innovation and strengthen cooperation between university and industry.
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