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2016-10 19

[Faculty]Bionano Technology Leading the Medical Industry

Professor Choo Jae-beom of the Department of Bionano Engineering is a researcher who studies bionano microfluidics, a study which practical applications to systems in which small volumes of fluids are handled, and develops models that help diagnose different diseases such as respiratory tract infection, and cancer. As shown through his research, “Wash-free magnetic immunoassay of the PSA cancer marker using SERS and droplet microfluidics,” the significance of his research is that it will allow doctors to detect such diseases in patients within a short period of time. The previous study that Choo had worked on was using pregnancy diagnostic apparatus and the strips to discover different types of diseases. The diagnoses took about 5 weeks, which is usually how long it takes for expectant mothers to find out whether they are pregnant or not. Diagnoses using the microfluidic chips instead of pregnancy diagnostic apparatus will now only take about one week. What is more important is that it will give much more accurate results compared to the last model. When diseases such as MERS or Zika suddenly appears, there are two things to be taken care of. First, there must be a vaccine to cure the disease and second, the diagnosis of the disease should be quick to discover the new virus. If such diseases hadn’t been known to humankind, there would be no medicine available in the first place. This is why Choo’s research is so important. Shortening the time to analyze the DNA structures of the disease taken from a patient’s blood sample, then decoding it to suggest a cure for the illness will help save many more lives. ▲ Professor Choo is holding the silicon mold Professor Choo’s research points toward methods in detecting prostate cancer at an early stage using microfluidic chips instead of strips. Using strips used to have the method of developing the pregnancy diagnostic apparatus to detect different types of viruses but the new research has taken the equipment to a whole different level. The new hypersensitive protein diagnosis platform technology is carried out through a semiconductor process to build a silicon mold. Nanoparticles with the microfluidic chips are added inside a mold to hold the samples altogether so that when blood sample is mixed together, the nanoparticles will decidedly combine with the viruses. Once the particles are hit with laser beams, the concentration rate of the virus will be revealed. Knowing the concentration of such viruses is important since all diseases have cut-off points to determine whether the patient is actually contaminated with the virus or not. The goal of Choo and his research team is to develop an early diagnosis system for infectious diseases using the microfluidic system and through that, developing the vaccine that can just eliminate the viruses. Since the old methods of analyzing the DNA results in a higher percentage of error and takes much longer, Choo is trying to develop his model to be more sensitive, accurate and fast in terms of detecting the viruses. Microfluidic chips and an optical measuring system combined allows the blood sample to become naturally absorbed within the channel. By measuring the strength of the signals, the virus concentration can be detected. There are different types of nanoparticles, involving elements such as gold (Au) or silver (Ag) and a combination of other elements as well. This is because certain signals are captured when hit with laser beams, and the specific types of disease-provoking protein and DNAs are washed out and the leftover particles within the mold will result in a higher concentration of virus. ▲ Professor Choo explains about the microfluidic chip Myocardial infarction, cancer, or hormone disorders used to be what Choo focused on in the present studies along with the help of several doctors. Because new, unknown infectious diseases like MERS will become such an issue in the future, he will be working to develop a method to diagnose them in a short period of time. The technique being used now takes a whole lot of time since it requires a certain amount of blood sample from the patient, with particles needing to be separated using a centrifuge. More procedural steps follow. Strip methods are convenient but with the low sensitivity detection, it is hard to be sure whether the patient is infected with a certain virus or not. This is why decoding blood samples using the microchip reading method, which is fast, precise, and does not require much processes compared to the other analysis methods, is the future study that Choo will be focusing on. Kim Seung-jun Photos by Moon Ha-na

2016-10 09

[Faculty]Switching and Upgrading Mobile Device Circuits

Professor Yoo Chang-shik of the Department of Electronic Engineering is a researcher who studies the layouts of integrated, analog and digital circuits at Hanyang University (HYU). For the past year, as shown through his paper, “Switching Battery Charger Integrated Circuit for Mobile Devices in a 130-nm BCD MOSBCDMOS Process,” Yoo has been researching on developing an upgraded integrated circuit for mobile devices that could stand a higher voltage of electric current when charging. His research also encloses data on lengthening the lifespan of mobile phone batteries by retaining the right 'profile' shape when plugged in, which is the key determinant of long-lasting batteries. Battery Charging and Charging Profile According to Yoo’s research, a battery, when charging, must formulate and maintain the proper shape of the charging profile. That is, the time of charging and the battery voltage must meet at the right point, as shown in the diagram below- otherwise, the battery will be short-lived in the long run. When an application is in process, BCDMOS (Bipolar Complementary Metal Oxide Semiconductor) is activated. BCDMOS is an intricate type of an integrated circuit that can tolerate high currencies of electric voltage. Circuits of mobile devices, however, are incapable of enduring such high current and manifest a considerable rate of power consumption. To improve this aspect, Yoo saw the need for a stronger PMIC (Power Management Integrated Circuit) so that the BCDMOS would prevent the high electric voltage from damaging the device itself. PMICs are integrated circuits that handle and manage electric power. Charging profile for a lithium-ion battery. Photo courtesy of Professor Yoo's research paper Additionally, if the mobile device is used when it is being charged, not only the speed of charging slows down but also the amount of power consumed doubles. While this happens, the function of dividing the power for the phone to be used and charged at the same time is crucial. It was essential that Yoo managed both functions in harmony so that the final outcome would be progressive. Possible configurations for a mobile system where a battery charger supplies power (a) only to battery and (b) to both battery and system. Photo courtesy of Professor Yoo's research paper Yoo’s Research and its Meaning Yoo's academic principle as an engineer is not to be a scientist, but to be a practical engineer. Yoo places significance on the fact that his paper is the first to be academically published on the subject material, despite numerous others that virtually cover the necessity of his own research. He puts meaning to his work of systematically putting into an organized research paper what has already been created, in support of the fact that research done at a university can actually be utilized in real life. In this sense, Yoo does not expect a dramatic change or improvement in the field of electronic engineering and mobile devices, since there are plenty that have been put in use already. Nonetheless, he is proud to have turned the import-oriented item PMIC into a domestic product that can be manufactured here in Korea- a necessary development in the powerful semiconductor-producing country. Yoo is currently investing his time in developing a better PMIC. He is working on a project that goes by the name of “Designing an Innovative Analog”. Analogs are systems of displaying the successive changes in electric current or voltage, which is completely different from the digital system, which is required to operate visible and audible functions. He believes in the significance of analogs' roles as humans interact with their devices through touch screens, sound, and vision. With these functions falling behind, digital products will be met by critical hindrance on their way towards advancement. In this sense, improving the sound quality, screen definition, and manual systems of a device is indispensable. “We engineers are not scientists; we are not striving to create what is best. We’re simply making attempts to create what is moderately good at an adequate timing by appropriately applying already-existent principles and theories unveiled by scientists. That’s what engineers do,” remarked Yoo. He wanted the students of his department to invent and present to the world what they themselves need and benefit from. "In order to create something that the world needs, they have got to see the necessity of it first." Jeon Chae-yun Photo by Kim Youn-soo

2016-09 25 Important News

[Faculty]Protecting Our Water Sources

Professor Han Myung-soo of the Department of Life Science is a researcher whose interests lie in algal phenomena such as red and green tides. Recently, he revealed the reason behind the unusual red tide caused by a sudden growth of planktons, frequenting the Korean waters in his paper titled “A mutualistic interaction between the bacterium Pseudomonas asplenii and the harmful algal species Chattonella marina (Raphidophyceae),” which was selected as the paper of the week. You may have heard that one of the side effects of global warming is red and green tides, or ‘algal bloom’ where algae suddenly flourish and cover vast areas of waters. The rise in ocean temperature, as well as in lakes, rivers and other types of freshwater causes the algae to flourish, threatening organisms as well as to people who equate freshwater as drinking water. Water pollution is another cause, with eutrophication creating excellent conditions for these photosynthetic unicellulates. ▲Cochlodinium causes red tides, which have a detrimental effect on water biology as well as humans. Photos courtesy of Shinhanilbo and CIMT Not only does red and green tides affect physical health biology and people, the perishing of fish in fish farms impacts fisherman economically, adding to the fact that this is aesthetically displeasing. The unicellular algae have evolved to protect themselves from possible predators, by producing harmful toxins that may cause diarrhea, amnesia, or even paralysis. "There have actually been cases where people have died, tens at a time due to drinking water or consuming shellfish affected by harmful algae. The fact that these toxins cannot be destroyed in boiling water makes it an even bigger danger," mentioned Han. However, the rise in water temperature and eutrophication alone cannot explain the cause of harmful algae suddenly 'blooming' in certain conditions. "Yes, these algae being plants, they thrive in warm, nutritious conditions with lots of light. It is usual for red and green tides to last for one or two weeks. However, in the last couple of decades, we have seen a single type of algae dominate all three adjacent waters of the Korean peninsula from late August into the end of November. This is the most unusual phenomenon, and have puzzled many scientists," commented Han. Thus, Han and his lab set up a theory that a third biological factor must be contributing to the abnormal blooming of algae. Focusing on Cochlodinium, the algae that are affecting the Korean waters the most, Han looked into bacteria that may be interacting with the algae. “We came to recognize that a type of bacteria called pseudomonas asplenii may be the biological factor we were looking for. It has already been revealed by other researchers that this bacteria produces minerals, that allows algae to flourish even in adverse conditions,” Han said. He and his lab gathered field samples from nearby waters twice a week, monitoring how the algae was blooming, as well as the activity of the bacteria. “It was a long-term project. The monitoring process spans months, not to mention that algal bloom didn’t always occur where we wanted it to. If we couldn’t get field samples, we would have to wait until the next red tide, which could occur the next year for all we know,” Han explained. Han applied the field of molecular biology to his research. “We used something called ‘next generation sequencing,’ which allowed us to conduct a quantitative and qualitative analysis on the bacteria. We found out that the bacteria grew in number and thrived at the same rate and time as the algae.” Now that a new mechanism has been revealed, this new development may lead to forecasting technologies that may prevent damages caused by algal tides. He added, “We think that there may be mutualistic interaction and coexistence between the algae and bacteria, but we haven’t figured out exactly what the algae provides for the bacteria. Our next goal is to reveal that part, as well as studying the cause of green tides which occur in fresh water. I’m glad that we have experts in diverse fields to conduct combined researches between fields.” ▲Han takes pride in his work, saying that the ability to collaborate with different fields is the strength and tradition of his lab. Nam-Hyung Kim Photo by Younsoo Kim

2016-09 21

[Faculty]Collaborative Work of 12 Oriental Scholars

Classics, just like any other subject, is a field that requires a lot of in-depth knowledge to decipher and comprehend. Those with little or no familiarity with the subject might feel daunted with its contents and stay well away. Being aware of this commonly-mistaken perception of non-classicists, the 12 scholars including Professor Kim Tae-yong (Department of Philosophy) of Hanyang University, devoted their time and effort in publishing ‘The Four Books.’ They paved the road for the Oriental Classics to become an easy read. First starting as a small group in 1992 that discussed desirable paths in which our society should take after Oriental philosophy, it eventually became what is now called the Research Institute of Oriental Classics, consisting of Chinese and Korean philosophy experts. Joining the crew in 2009 from the invitation of professor Kim Byung-chae, the former vice-president of Hanyang University, Kim has been with the crew for eight years until the ultimate accomplishment—the translation of the ‘Four Books’ from Chinese into Korean. The Four Books There are lots of other Oriental philosophy books that deal with the same lessons but the ‘Four Books’ distinguish themselves by not writing any of the old words in Chinese, but putting them into easy-reading translations. The ‘Four Books’ are translated versions of Confucian classics in the archaic Chinese language into the modern Korean language, which are divided into four series: The Analects of Confucius, Mencius, Moderation, and University. Professor Kim said that translations of the metaphorically-illegible classics should be available so that more people could approach them without being troubled. Non-experts could feel less tortured to study them as well. In this sense, he hopes that the completion and publication of the ‘Four Books’ will lay a bridge to melting down the preconception that Oriental Classics is infinitely challenging. He also holds the view that Oriental philosophy is not necessarily more strange or difficult than Western philosophy. ▲The completion of the Four Books can be witnessed with these hard copies, published by Minumsa publishing company in August 2016. In brief, The Analects of Confucius is composed of dialogues of Confucius’s disciples about his teachings and lessons that were gathered after his death. Mencius handles the thoughts and perspectives of Mencius, who succeeded Confucius and tried to expand and intensify his teachings. Finally, Moderation and University delivers the scriptures of Confucianist roots that helps an individual to elevate to a higher spiritual place by governing one’s mind. “If you take a moment to think about it, Oriental philosophy is embedded in our day-to-day speech and behavior. Such common notions include practicing filial piety, respecting the elderlies, and stressing emphasis on love among siblings. These concepts may feel new to the head but they’re blended in our culture,” commented Kim. The society that we live in today is faced with globalization and multi-culturalism. “In such a condition,” the professor adds, “the acceptance and promulgation of Western philosophy and its culture into our own without any filtering have a great impact on our people’s perspective towards Oriental philosophy-simply fearing it.” ▲Professor Kim thinks Oriental philosophy is just as familiar to us as Western philosophy. Maintaining Unity When he was first introduced to the work, Kim hesitated whether to take on the task because his main area of study was slightly digressive from the primary concern of the books. Nonetheless, after the publication of the books, he came to realize that his decision was worthy and began to view ‘Lao-tzu,’ his primary concern of studying, more objectively, which he plans to research further on. In the process of translating the books, combining different ideas and coming to an agreement among the 12 scholars had been a fastidious task. Translating the books from archaic Chinese words was unquestionably laborious but finding the middle ground of different interpretations and translations among the scholars was also a big trouble. Despite many disputes over the matter of compromising, the driving force that bound the scholars together was their sense of responsibility. They felt responsible for contriving the most appropriate translation for the future generation, as they will be seeking for a good start-up material to begin Oriental studies with. Thus, in a sense, the books were produced to become a guide in the field. The Books as Teachers Just as first impression matters by having a long-lasting impact on a person, when studying a subject, the first teacher can determine how the study will go forth in subsequent times. Professor Kim hopes that the ‘Four Books’ serve as the first teacher to those who want to study Oriental philosophy and open the door for them to go further into the discipline. ▲ Professor Kim and the 11 scholars worked on the Four Books in hopes of connecting Oriental philosophy with our daily lives. In the book University, the four-character idiom (‘格物致知’) –each character meaning formality, material, achieving, and knowing—that holds the meaning ‘gaining knowledge by the study of things’ exemplifies the professor’s assertion that Oriental philosophy dwells nearby in our daily lives. The idiom employs the concept found in a university, where knowledge is accumulated through years of studying. The knowledge acquired could be the foundation of both good and bad deeds, depending on the will of the learner. This also gives rise to the thought that straightening out one’s mindset and earnestly taking into account the true meanings of knowledge are one of the highlights of Oriental philosophy. The completion of the books, as the professor hopes, will do its job in its mission as a teacher for all. Jeon Chae-yun Photo by Moon Hana