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2020-05 03

[Academics][Excellent R&D] How Data Science Connects with Society

Data science is the use of the scientific method to obtain useful information from computer data. As it gives new insights into a vast amount of data, there exists an interdisciplinary approach in social science to compensate for what they might have missed through traditional methods with data science. Professor Cha Jae-hyuk (Division of Computer Science and Engineering) developed a platform that accelerates the convergence of the two disciplines. Professor Cha Jaehyuk (Division of Computer Science and Engineering) established a platform that merges data science with social science. Data science is expected to bring about a new horizon in social science as social issues are becoming more complex. “We are now in a hyper-connected society where small changes bring about significant ripple effects,” explained Cha. Traditional social research methods could easily result in biases as they rely on surveys which only take a small amount of data into consideration. Cha expects computational social science to contribute to the analysis of potential risk factors and to establish sustainable policies for vulnerable, multi-dimensional social issues. Cha is currently working to build a platform that integrates data science into social science. The platform consists of three subgroups that make social models through continuous monitoring and data collection. One deals with societal anxiety through analysis of social networking, whereas another group covers disability rights in relation to social mobility. The third digs deeper into public health issues, especially related to infectious disease control. Cha’s role is the general management of the platform. He added that the research is mainly done in association with seven social scientists and nine data scientists. There are the three subgroups which researchers use to create social models through monitoring and data analysis. (Photo courtesy of the Computational Social Science Center) Cha highlighted the importance of the platform as a channel for conversation. “Interdisciplinary, multidisciplinary, and transdisciplinary approaches open the way into problems that are difficult to address through the methods of traditional disciplines,” said Cha. This platform lets researchers from two disciplines share the outcomes and objectives of the study through visualization. Cha also revealed his plans as a director of the Computational Social Science Center. “I have seen researchers struggling due to academic barriers between the two disciplines,” said the director. Cha expects to foster interdisciplinarians who grasps the essentials of both data science and social science and can bridge the gap between the two fields of study. A breakthrough occurs when we bring down boundaries and encourage disciplines to learn from each other. Cha is opening the way to the resolution of social issues through the convergence of data science and social science. Oh Kyu-jin alex684@hanyang.ac.kr

2020-04 06

[Academics][Excellent R&D] Into the Unknown through Convergence

For a long time, scientists have wanted to figure out how the elements which constitute the universe were formed. Still, there is not much known about this mechanism. Heavy-ion particle accelerators now provide a clue to the generative processes as they reproduce what the universe has been going through since its creation. Professor Kim Yong-kyun (Department of Nuclear Engineering) contributed to the establishment of a new heavy-ion particle accelerator RAON by building the most powerful and accurate μSR (Muon spin rotation). Professor Kim Yong-Kyun (Department of Nuclear Engineering) is engaging in the domestic heavy-ion particle accelerator project called RAON. RAON is a heavy-ion particle accelerator propelled by the Institute of Basic Science, which is a machine that can be used to find undiscovered elements or reenact the formation process of existing elements. It will be the first heavy-ion particle accelerator that uses both Isotope Separation On-Line and In-flight Fragmentation methods. Because the machine is so complex, researchers are conducting the project in collaboration with many other accelerator research groups including Radiation Instrument and Sensor Engineering Lab (RAISE), a Hanyang University Research Laboratory led by Kim. Kim’s team has been specifically working on μSR. μ (Muon) is an unstable elementary particle similar to the electron which is created by collision between high-energy protons and the atmosphere. Owing to its greater mass, μ accelerates slower than electrons in electromagnetic fields. μ lets scientists probe the properties of novel materials as it penetrates far deeper into the matter than X-rays. μ exist all around the world, but is useless because of its short meantime of 2.2 μs (microseconds). “That is why we use heavy-ion particle accelerators to create μ,” explained Kim. μ helps probe the properties of novel materials as μSR has become a tool of measurement. (Photo Courtesy of Kim) μSR measures the decay and spin information with μ produced by the accelerators, offering new insights into the property of a matter. μSR is a technique based on the implantation of spin-polarized μ in the matter and on the detection of the influence of the atomic, molecular or crystalline surroundings on their spin motion. Kim’s team is now building the most powerful and precise μSR in the world. “Our μSR is expected to further the development of new semiconductors and superconductors as well as shed light on material science,” said Kim. Ten years ago, when the government first launched the project of building the domestic heavy-ion particle accelerator, no one in the field believed that there would be a notable achievement. However, within a decade, RAON is becoming the cutting-edge convergence technology of basic science. Kim attributes its success to Korea’s competitiveness in interdisciplinary education between basic science and practical studies. “STEM education in Korea is top-notch,” said Kim. “The Department of Nuclear Engineering's curriculum contributed to a certain extent.” Kim ascribed its success to the education system that highlights interdisciplinary studies. Kim advised students to find new possibilities and integrate different interests, saying “You should challenge yourself to achieve what you aim for.” With these initiatives in mind, Kim is pioneering his way into science and technology that is yet unknown. Oh Kyu-jin alex684@hanyang.ac.kr

2020-03 29

[Academics][Researcher of the Month] A Cause of Parkinson’s Disease Recently Discovered

Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a long-term degenerative disorder of the central nervous system that mainly affects the motor system. The cause of PD is still unknown, other than its suggested correlation with genetic and environmental factors. Professor Lee Sang-hun (College of Medicine) has recently come up with a model that supports the hereditary cause of disease. Professor Lee Sang-hun's (College of Medicine) research presents a new clue about the cause of Parkinson's disease (PD). PD is found to be associated with the degeneration of midbrain-type dopamine (mDA) neurons. Lee’s research team found out that the RNA-binding protein Lin28 plays a role in neuronal stem cell development, and that the gene mutation of Lin28 causes the degeneration of mDA neurons. Also, the experiment showed that when the Lin28 mutation was corrected, the symptoms related to Parkinson’s disease disappeared. Lee came up with an in vitro human embryonic stem cell/human induced pluripotent stem cell‐based disease model. The model proposes that the Lin28 R192G mutation leads to developmental defects and modification of Lin28 opens up the possibility of rescuing the patient from the disease. “People normally think that PD is deeply related to one’s age,” said Lee. “This research suggests that it is also highly likely to be a genetic defect. This finding will provide a more accurate diagnosis model.” Lee's team found out that an RNA-binding protein called Lin28 plays a role in the manifestation and treatment of PD. (Photo courtesy of Lee) Researchers spent four years trying to identify the distinct characteristics that two young PD patients shared with each other. The team conducted numerous biological trials to prove their findings. The model was a reward for their ceaseless efforts, taking them a step closer to finally identifying the cause of PD. However, there is still no cure for PD or for many other neurodegenerative diseases. Lee said he intends to develop a practical treatment during his last five years of tenure. “I am now working on projects with bio-venture companies,” explained Lee. “I hope my research enables a more pragmatic approach in overcoming neurodegenerative diseases.” Lee plans to work on pragmatic treatments during his last five years of tenure. Lee asked students to be more ambitious in deciding what they long to achieve. “He who works hard will get the chance to show himself,” advised the professor, leading by example for all young scholars. Oh Kyu-jin alex684@hanyang.ac.kr