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Professor Hee-Sung Park Named Scientist of May
(Professor Hee-Sung Park) Professor Hee-Sung Park from the Department of Chemistry was named ‘Scientist of May’ sponsored by the Ministry of Science and ICT and the National Research Foundation of Korea. Professor Park was honored in recognition of his developing a tool to engineer designer proteins via diverse chemical modifications. This approach provides a novel platform for investigating numerous diseases such as cancer and dementia. His research focuses on the production of synthetic proteins and the generation of diverse protein functions as well as the designing and engineering of new translation machinery for genetic code expansion, and the application of synthetic biology techniques for basic cell biology and applied medical science. Post-translational modifications (PTMs) are constantly taking place during or after protein biosynthesis. PTMs play a vital role in expanding protein functional diversity and, as a result, critically affect numerous biological processes. Abnormal PTMs have been known to trigger various diseases including cancer and dementia. Therefore, this technology enables proteins to reproduce with specific modifications at selected residues and will significantly help establish experimental strategies to investigate fundamental biological mechanisms including the development of targeted cancer therapies. Professor Park also received 10 million KRW in prize money.
Two Professors Receive the Asan Medical Award
(Professor Ho Min Kim and Chair Profesor Eunjoon Kim (from far right) Chair Professor Eunjoon Kim of the Department of Biological Sciences and Professor Ho Min Kim from the Graduate School of Medical Science & Engineering won the 11th Asan Medical Award in the areas of basic medicine and young medical scholar on March 21. The Asan Medical Award has been recognizing the most distinguished scholars in the areas of basic and clinical medicines annually since 2007. Chair Professor Kim won the 300 million KRW award in recognition of his research in the mechanism of synaptic brain dysfunction and its relation with neural diseases. The young medical scholar’s award recognizes a promising scholar under the age of 40. Professor Kim won the award for identifying the key protein structure and molecular mechanism controlling immunocytes and neurons. He earned a 50 million KRW prize.
13 KAIST Faculty Named as Inaugural Members of Y-KAST
The Korean Academy of Science and Technology (KAST) launched the Young Korean Academy of Science and Technology (Y-KAST) and selected 73 scientists as its inaugural members on February 24. Among them, 13 KAIST faculty were recognized as the inaugural members of Y-KAST. Y-KAIST, made up of distinguished mid-career scientists under the age of 45, will take the leading role in international collaboration as well as innovative agenda-making in science and technology. The inaugural members include Professor Hyotcherl Ihee of the Department of Chemistry and Dr. Sung-Jin Oh of the Center for Mathematical Challenges at the Korea Institute for Advanced Study (KIAS), affiliated with KAIST. Professor Ihee is gaining wide acclaim in the fields of physics and chemistry, and in 2016, Dr. Oh was the youngest ever awardee of the Presidential Award of Young Scientist. The other Y-KAIST members are as follows: Professors Haeshin Lee of the Department of Chemistry; Mi Young Kim, Byung-Kwan Cho, and Ji-Joon Song of the Department of Biological Sciences; Song-Yong Kim of the Department of Mechanical Engineering; Sang-il Oum of the Department of Mathematical Sciences; Jung Kyoon Choi of the Department of Bio and Brain Engineering; Seokwoo Jeon, Sang Ouk Kim, and Il-Doo Kim of the Department of Materials Science and Engineering; Jang Wook Choi of the Graduate School of EEWS (Energy, Environment, Water and Sustainability); and Jeong Ho Lee of the Graduate School of Medical Science and Engineering. The leading countries of the Academy of Science, which include Germany, Sweden, Belgium, Canada, and Japan, have established the Young Academy of Science since 2010 in order to encourage the research activities of their young scientists and to establish a global platform for collaborative research projects through their active networking at home and abroad. President Myung-Chul Lee of KAST said, “We will spare no effort to connect these outstanding mid-career researchers for their future collaboration. Their networking will make significant impacts toward their own research activities as well as the global stature of Korea’s science and technology R&D. (Photo caption: Members of Y-KAST pose at the inaugural ceremony of Y-KAST on February 24.)
KAISTian of the Year 2016: Professor Hee-Sung Park
Professor Hee-Sung Park of the Department of Chemistry has been named the KAISTian of 2016. President Sung-Mo Kang awarded him at the New Year ceremony on January 2, 2017. The KAISTian of the Year recognizes the most outstanding professor whose research and scholarship made significant achievements for the year. The Selection Committee announced that Professor Park was chosen as the 16th awardee in recognition of his developing new methods to incorporate unnatural amino acids into proteins. Earning his Ph.D. in chemical engineering at KAIST in 2000, Professor Park has been a professor at KAIST since 2009. His research focuses on the production of synthetic proteins and the generation of diverse protein functions as well as the designing and engineering of new translation machinery for genetic code expansion, and the application of synthetic biology techniques for basic cell biology and applied medical science. He developed a tool to engineer designer proteins via diverse chemical modifications, providing a novel platform for investigating numerous diseases such as cancer and dementia. Post-translational modifications (PTMs) are constantly taking place during or after protein biosynthesis. PTMs play a vital role in expanding protein functional diversity and, as a result, critically affect numerous biological processes. Abnormal PTMs have been known to trigger various diseases including cancer and dementia. Therefore, this technology, that enables proteins to reproduce with specific modifications at selected residues, will significantly help establish experimental strategies to investigate fundamental biological mechanisms including the development of targeted cancer therapies. Professor Park’s research results appeared in the September 28, 2016 edition of Science. For more on Professor Park's research, please visit: http://kaistcompass.kaist.ac.kr/?issues=fall-2016&magazine=a-chemical-biology-route-to-site-specific-authentic-protein-modifications http://science.sciencemag.org/content/early/2016/09/28/science.aah4428 http://www.kaist.ac.kr/html/en/news/podcast.html (Podcast: Season 6 Episode 7: When good proteins go bad )
J. Fraser Stoddart, a Former Visiting Professor at KAIST, Wins the 2016 Nobel Prize in Chemistry
J. Fraser Stoddart, who is Northwestern University’s Board of Trustees Professor of Chemistry and head of the Stoddart Mechanostereochemistry Group, received the 2016 Nobel Prize in Chemistry. He shares it with Professor Jean-Pierre Sauvage of the University of Strasbourg in France and Professor Bernard Feringa of the University of Groningen in the Netherlands. Professor Stoddart’s relationship with KAIST dates to his term as a visiting professor from 2011 to 2013 at the Environment, Energy, Water and Sustainability (EEWS) Graduate School. The Nobel Committee awarded the prize to Professor Stoddart in recognition of his pioneering work on artificial molecular machines, a.k.a., nanomachines. A molecular machine is an assembly of a discrete number of molecular components designed to perform machine-like movements as the result of appropriate external stimuli. Like their counterparts in the macroscopic world, molecular machines control mechanical movements and rotations in response to an energy input such as chemical reactions, light, or temperature. The most complex molecular machines, for example, are proteins in cells. Chemists have attempted to imitate these structures for potential applications including smart nanomedicines to track diseases such as cancer cells and deliver drugs to fight them. Other applications include next-generation miniature semiconductor chips, sensors, energy storage, space exploration, and armaments. In 1991, Professor Stoddart developed artificial molecular machines based on a rotaxane. A rotaxane is a mechanically-interlocked molecular architecture in which a dumbbell-shaped molecule is encircled by a molecular ring called a macrocycle. He presented important research on the production of rotaxanes and demonstrated that a macrocycle could move along or rotate freely around the axle, a dumbbell-shaped molecule. Professor Stoddart is also an expert in molecular electronics using molecules on the nanoscale as switches in computers and other electronic devices. In 2007, he created a large-scale ultra-dense memory device with reconfigurable molecular switches, the size of white blood cells but capable of storing information. This was a significant achievement towards the development of molecular computers that are much smaller and more powerful compared to today’s silicon-based computers. KAIST has enjoyed a strong relationship with Professor Stoddart since he served as a visiting professor at the EEWS Graduate School from 2011 to 2013. The graduate school invited him to participate in the Korean government’s science and education program to foster world-class universities in the nation. At KAIST, he taught a course entitled “Nanomachines at the Scale of Molecules.” He also collaborated with Korean researchers on various projects including the publication of a joint research paper, “A Radically Configurable Six-State Compound,” in Science (January 25, 2013) with Professor Jang Wook Choi from the EEWS Graduate School and researchers from the United States, the United Kingdom, and Saudi Arabia. Two doctors with KAIST ties have links to Professor Stoddart as well. In 2012, Dr. Ali Coskun, who worked with him as a postdoctoral research associate at Northwestern University, became an associate professor at the EEWS Graduate School where he conducts research on secondary batteries and gas storage with artificial molecular machines. Dr. Dong Jun Kim, a KAIST graduate, has been working at the Stoddart Mechanostereochemistry Group as a postdoctoral fellow since 2015. Picture 1: Synthesis of a Rotaxane Described in the Journal of the American Chemical Society (JACS) in 1991 Picture 2: Professor J. Fraser Stoddart Giving a Presentation at a Workshop Hosted by the EEWS Graduate School at KAIST in 2011
Synthesized Microporous 3D Graphene-like Carbons
Distinguished Professor Ryong Ryoo of the Chemistry Department at KAIST, who is also the Director of the Center for Nanomaterials and Carbon Materials at the Institute for Basic Science (IBS), and his research team have recently published their research results entitled "Lanthanum-catalysed Synthesis of Microporous 3D Graphene-like Carbons in a Zeolite Template" on June 29, 2016 in Nature on a new method to synthesize carbons having graphene structures with 3D periodic micropores, a trait resulted from using a zeolite as a template for the synthesis. The research team expects this technology to find a range of useful applications such as in batteries and catalysts. Graphene, an allotrope of carbon, which was discovered more than a decade ago, has led to myriad research that seeks to unlock its vast potential. Zeolites, commonly used microporous solid catalysts in the petrochemical industry, have recently attracted attention in the field of material science as a template for carbon synthesis. Zeolites’ individual crystal is distinguished by its unique 1 nanometer (nm)-size pore structures. These structures facilitate the accommodation of carbon nanotubes inside zeolites. In their paper, the research team showed that these nanoporous systems are an ideal template for the carbon synthesis of three-dimensional (3D) graphene architecture, but zeolite pores are too small to accommodate bulky molecular compounds like polyaromatic and furfuryl alcohol that are often used in carbon synthesis. Small molecules like ethylene and acetylene can be used as a carbon source to achieve successful carbonization within zeolite pores, but it comes at a great cost. The high temperatures required for the synthesis cause reactions of carbons being deposited randomly on the external surfaces of zeolites as well as their internal pore walls, resulting in coke deposition and consequently, causing serious diffusion limitations in the zeolite pores. The team from the IBS Center for Nanomaterials and Carbon Materials solved this conundrum with a novel approach. First author Dr. KIM Kyoungsoo explains: “The zeolite-template carbon synthesis has existed for a long time, but the problem with temperatures has foiled many scientists from extracting their full potential. Here, our team sought to find the answer by embedding lanthanum ions (La3+), a silvery-white metal element, in zeolite pores. This lowers the temperature required for the carbonization of ethylene or acetylene. Graphene-like sp2 carbon structures can be selectively formed inside the zeolite template, without carbon deposition at the external surfaces. After the zeolite template is removed, the carbon framework exhibits the electrical conductivity two orders of magnitude higher than amorphous mesoporous carbon, which is a pretty astonishing result. This highly efficient synthesis strategy based on the lanthanum ions renders the carbon framework to be formed in pores with a less than 1 nm diameter, just like as easily reproducible as in mesoporous templates. This provides a general method to synthesize carbon nanostructures with various topologies corresponding to the template zeolite pore topologies, such as FAU, EMT, beta, LTL, MFI, and LTA. Also, all the synthesis can be readily scaled up, which is important for practical applications in areas of batteries, fuel storage, and other zeolite-like catalyst supports.” The research team began their experiment by utilizing La3+ ions. Dr. KIM elucidates why this silvery-white element proved so beneficial to the team, “La3+ ions are unreducible under carbonization process condition, so they can stay inside the zeolite pores instead of moving to the outer zeolite surface in the form of reduced metal particles. Within the pores, they can stabilize ethylene and the pyrocondensation intermediately to form a carbon framework in zeolites.” In order to test this hypothesis, the team compared the amount of carbon deposited in La3+-containing form of Y zeolite (LaY) sample against a host of other samples such as NaY and HY. The experimental results indicate that all the LaY, NaY, and HY zeolite samples show rapid carbon deposition at 800°C. However, as the temperature decreases, there appears to be a dramatic difference between the different ionic forms of zeolites. At 600°C, the LaY zeolite is still active as a carbon deposition template. In contrast, both NaY and HY lose their carbon deposition functions almost completely. The results, according to their paper published in Nature, highlight a catalytic effect of lanthanum for carbonization. By making graphene with 3D periodic nanoporous architectures, it promises a wide range of useful applications such as in batteries and catalysts but due to the lack of efficient synthetic strategies, such applications have not yet been successful. By taking advantage of the pore-selective carbon filling at decreased temperatures, the synthesis can readily be scaled up for studies requiring bulk quantities of carbon, in particular high electrical conductivity, which is a highly sought aspect for the production of batteries. YouTube Link: https://youtu.be/lkNiHiB8lBk Image 1: (Top to Bottom) Zeolite Template: Microporous Aluminosilicate; Zeolite ion exchanged with La3+ ions in aqueous solution; and Zeolite Template with La3+ ions Image 2: (Top to Bottom) Catalytic carbonization progressed at La3+ ions-exchanged sites using ethylene as a carbon precursor. Carbon is highlighted in grey; Zeolite template removed in an acid solution (HF/ HCl); Microporous 3D graphene-like carbon
Prof. Jae-Kyu Lee Campaigns on "Bright Internet" Worldwide
Professor Jae-Kyu Lee (pictured on the right) from the College of Business at KAIST is one step closer to fulfilling his dream of achieving the “Bright Internet,” a campaign that he first proposed as he became the president of the Association for Information Systems (AIS) in June 2015. On December 12, 2015, Professor Lee signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) at a convention center in Fort Worth, Texas, between the AIS and the International Telecommunication Union (ITU)—a specialized agency of the United Nations that is responsible for issues related to information and communication technologies—on a collaborative research and development program to make the Internet safer for everyone. The MOU pursues building a trusted international information and communication technology (ICT) infrastructure by proposing telecommunication policies, developing international standards, and organizing interdisciplinary conferences. The Bright Internet is an initiative to protect online users from cyber terrors, privacy breaches, and cyber-crimes. Further, it involves putting accountability to those who initiate or deliver cyber threats, thereby eliminating the possible source of Internet related crimes. Following the MOU agreement, Prof. Lee delivered a speech on his campaign at the 2015 International Conference on Information Systems and received positive responses from the audience. The Bright Internet campaign has been selected as visions of various ICT organizations worldwide including the Korea Society of Management Information System and the International Federation of Information Processing. KAIST and Tsinghua University in China adopted it as an academic topic for research and teaching. Prof. Lee claimed that the Internet should be used in a manner based on the values of trust, ethics, and decorum. He further noted that it is important to build Internet environments that not only protect individuals from cyber threats or attacks, but also hold those who commit online crimes accountable for their actions.
Academic Award Established in the Honor of Professor Jae-gyu Lee
An academic award has been established to celebrate the academic achievements of Jae-gyu Lee, a chair professor at KAIST’s Business and Management Department. The Korean Society of Management Information Systems (KMIS) created the “Safe Internet Jae-gyu Lee Academic Award” at the 2015 KMIS Fall Symposium held on November 21, 2015 at the Business and Management building of Yonsei University in Seoul. The award will be presented to researchers operating both in and outside Korea, who strive to achieve a clean and safe Internet environment by preventing cyber terrors, attacks, and crimes. Appointed as the President of the Association for Information Systems (AIS), a global academic organization to advance the field of information systems, in July 2015, Professor Lee has adopted the “safe and clean Internet culture” as the official vision of the AIS. During his inaugural speech, he urged the international community including AIS to work together for better solutions to cyber problems. For the implementation of the Safe Internet Jae-gyu Lee Academic Award, KMIS plans to form a committee to select winners through evaluations and recommendations. The award will be presented from 2016 forward. Also, Professor Lee has recently donated USD 87,000 to KMIS to fund research in safe Internet culture and cyberspace security.
Professor Jae Kyu Lee Appointed the President of Association for Information Systems
Chair Professor Jae Kyu Lee of KAIST’s College of Business was appointed the President of Association for Information Systems (AIS) on July 1, 2015. Professor Lee will serve a one-year term, which will end in June 2016. With four thousand members researching information systems from 90 different nations, AIS is the largest academic society in the fields of information system and business process engineering. Professor Lee has proposed his idea of “the Bright Internet” as the official vision of AIS. Employing this vision, AIS will create technology and systems, as well as sponsor international cooperation to solve fundamental issues of the Internet including concerns over hacking and cyber-related crimes. The extent of damage from cyber-related crimes grows each year. Every day, 56 billion junk emails are sent to computers which are hacked and become “zombie” computers. The social cost of such crimes is estimated to be 400 billion US dollars annually. Based on "the Bright Internet," AIS will build a preventative Internet security system by adopting ground rules that make attackers responsible for the damages from such crimes. The system will also modify technology and other systems to minimize privacy infringement while maintaining security. Finally, the Bright Internet proposes to adopt an international standard for this security system through collaboration with the International Telecommunications Union (ITU). Professor Lee said, “The vision of the Bright Internet started from an awareness that we needed to resolve issues such as Internet addiction, indiscriminate media exposure, and verbal violence. This vision developed by the experts from all around the world will not only bring a revolution of a reliable Internet platform to a global scale but also reshape the Korean Internet platform.”
Professor Jae-Kyu Lee Elected to Head the Association for Information Systems
Jae Kyu Lee, HHI (Hyundai Heavy Industries, Co., Ltd.) Chair Professor, College of Business at KAIST, was elected to lead the world major academic society, Association for Information Systems (AIS), from July 2015 to June 2016. Professor Lee will be the first Korean to serve the organization as president. From July 2014 to June 2015, he will serve as president-elect. Currently, Professor Lee is the Director of EEWS (Energy, Environment, Water, and Sustainability) Research Center at KAIST, focusing on research and development in finding solutions to critical issues facing humanity. He also played a pivotal role in the conclusion of a memorandum of understanding between HHI and KAIST in June 2013 to establish HHI-KAIST EEWS Research Center within the KAIST campus. The AIS is the premier professional association for individuals and organizations who lead the research, teaching, practice, and study of information systems worldwide. A news article on his appointment: Asian Scientist, May 16, 2014 Korean Engineer To Lead The Association For Information Systems http://www.asianscientist.com/academia/korean-engineer-lead-association-information-systems-2014/
Professor Jae-Kyu Lee Elected to Head the Association for Information Systems
Jae Kyu Lee, HHI (Hyundai Heavy Industries, Co., Ltd.) Chair Professor, College of Business at KAIST, has been elected to lead the world major academic society, Association for Information Systems (AIS), from July 2015 to June 2016. Professor Lee will be the first Korean to serve the organization as president. From July 2014 to June 2015, he will serve as president-elect. Currently, Professor Lee is the Director of EEWS (Energy, Environment, Water, and Sustainability) Research Center at KAIST, focusing on research and development in finding solutions to critical issues facing humanity. He also played a pivotal role in the conclusion of a memorandum of understanding between HHI and KAIST in June 2013 to establish HHI-KAIST EEWS Research Center within the KAIST campus. The AIS is the premier professional association for individuals and organizations who lead the research, teaching, practice, and study of information systems worldwide.
Mechanism in regulation of cancer-related key enzyme, ATM, for DNA damage and repair revealed
Professor Kwang-Wook Choi A research team led by Professor Kwang-Wook Choi and Dr. Seong-Tae Hong from the Department of Biological Sciences at KAIST has successfully investigated the operational mechanism of the protein Ataxia Telangiectasia Mutated (ATM), an essential protein to the function of a crucial key enzyme that repairs the damaged DNA which stores biometric information. The results were published on December 19th Nature Communications online edition. All organisms, including humans, constantly strive to protect the information within their DNA from damages posed by a number of factors, such as carbonized materials in our daily food intake, radioactive materials such as radon emitting from the cement of buildings or ultraviolet of the sunlight, which could be a trigger for cancer. In order to keep the DNA information safe, the organisms are always carrying out complex and sophisticated DNA repair work, which involves the crucial DNA damage repair protein ATM. Consequently, a faulty ATM leads to higher risks of cancer. Until now, academia predicted that the Translationally Controlled Tumor Protein (TCTP) will play an important role in regulating the function of ATM. However, since most of main research regarding TCTP has only been conducted in cultured cells, it was unable to identify exactly what mechanisms TCTP employs to control ATM. The KAIST research team identified that TCTP can combine with ATM or increase the enzymatic activity of ATM. In addition, Drosophilia, one of the most widely used model organisms for molecular genetics, has been used to identify that TCTP and ATM play a very important role in repairing the DNA damaged by radiation. This information has allowed the researchers to establish TCTP’s essential function in maintaining the DNA information in cell cultures and even in higher organisms, and to provide specific and important clues to the regulation of ATM by TCTP. Professor Kwang-Wook Choi said, “Our research is a good example that basic research using Drosophilia can make important contributions to understanding the process of diseases, such as cancer, and to developing adequate treatment.” The research has been funded by the Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning, Republic of Korea, and the National Research Foundation of Korea. Figure 1. When the amount of TCTP protein is reduced, cells of the Drosophila's eye are abnormally deformed by radiation. Scale bars = 200mm Figure 2. When the amount of TCTP protein is reduced, the chromosomes of Drosophilia are easily broken by radiation. Scale bars = 10 mm. Figure 3. When gene expressions of TCTP and ATM are reduced, large defects occur in the normal development of the eye. (Left: normal Drosophilia's eye, right: development-deficient eye) Figure 4. ATM marks the position of the broken DNA, with TCTP helping to facilitate this reaction. DNA (blue line) within the cell nucleus is coiled around the histone protein (green cylinder). When DNA is broken, ATM protein attaches a phosphate group (P). Multiple DNA repair protein recognizes the phosphate as a signal that requires repair and gathers at the site.
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