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2020-02 25

[Academics][Researcher of the Month] Establishing the Basis for Drug Development

Membrane proteins are proteins that function as the gatekeepers of cells, controlling all interactions between cells. Due to its crucial role in cell activity, the protein is often recognized as the factor in many diseases. However, there have been limitations in figuring out the structure of protein due to its vulnerability in modification, without effective amphiphiles that stabilize the protein. Professor Chae Pil Seok (Department of Bionano Engineering, ERICA Campus) recently made progress in facilitating the research on membrane protein by producing a new type of amphiphiles—the TEMs. Professor Chae Pil Seok (Department of Bionano Engineering, ERICA Campus) developed a new type of amphiphiles. Amphiphiles—more commonly, detergents—are necessary tools to isolate membrane proteins from biological membranes for studies. “Amphiphiles with hydrophobic properties were found to have advantages in the stabilization of otherwise vulnerable membrane proteins,” said Chae. For a few decades, a molecule named DDM (dodecylmaltoside) was primarily used in the research as the amphiphiles. Unfortunately, the molecule could not provide the required stability for a large number of protein. Thus, many scholars devoted themselves to inventing the new amphiphilic molecules that could replace DDM. Many scholars, including Chae, are working on to develop new amphiphilic molecules that could replace the conventional amphiphiles. Chae registered success in such a trend, developing 1,3,5-Triazine-Cored Maltoside Amphiphiles, also known as TEMs. Chae’s team, a joint research team from Stanford University, Texas Tech University, Imperial College London, Copenhagen University, and Tsinghua University, introduced variations in the alkyl chain linkage and an amine-functionalized diol linker by designing and synthesizing 1,3,5-triazine-cored dimaltoside amphiphiles derived from cyanuric chloride. “TEMs have significant potential in membrane protein study for their structural diversity and universal stabilization efficacy for several membrane proteins,” said Chae. The professor expects TEMs to play a crucial role in the development of new pharmaceuticals for terminal illnesses. Chae's team will continue their research on membrane protein and amphiphiles. Chae seeks to continue his research on developing a better amphiphile. “I would like to implement a system that can maximize the stability of membrane protein in aqueous solution,” he said. Moreover, Chae is digging deeper into the process of membrane protein modification, especially focusing on post-translational modifications in his current research on native mass spectrometry with Professor Ying Ge of the University of Wisconsin. Chae is building the groundwork for treating incurable diseases through continuous research on figuring out the structure of membrane protein. Oh Kyu-jin alex684@hanyang.ac.kr

2020-02 16

[Academics][Excellent R&D] Stepping Stone to Overcome Stratospheric Conditions

Aircraft usually fly at the top of the troposphere or the lower end of the stratosphere. Although there is less turbulence and weather constraints in the stratosphere, launching an aircraft into the stratosphere is difficult because there exists no efficient battery that can stand the harsh conditions of the atmosphere as of now. Here to change this dilemma is Professor Kim Han-su (Department of Energy Engineering) who is working on developing a secondary battery that can withstand the harsh conditions of the stratosphere. Professor Kim Han-su (Department of Energy Engineering) is developing a secondary battery that can withstand the harsh conditions of the stratosphere. In order to survive in the stratosphere, the battery must have high-density (meaning it can store more energy in the given mass) as well as be resistant to low temperatures. Kim’s solution was to use the sulfide electrolyte based all-solid-state secondary battery. The fire-retardant characteristics of the battery ensured the battery’s stability. However, there remained a problem that all-solid-state batteries have relatively lower energy density compared to other secondary batteries on the market. Thus, Kim’s team is currently in the progress of attempting to use high-density lithium in the battery development process to create a battery that has high energy density and is temperature resistant. Kim’s research is especially valuable since the batteries can be used in drones, which are expected to substitute satellites in the future. According to the Korea Aerospace Research Institute (KARI), it takes about 30 million won per kilogram to launch a satellite. Scientists expect the drones in the stratosphere to perform the same but in a cost-efficient way. “Most of what we anticipate from satellites can be embodied by drones,” said Kim. “Even though we cannot replace the satellites’ roles in observing outer space, drones can be an alternative in a practical sense.” Kim's research is expected to support future military and commercial drones. Kim expressed his goals in creating a battery that can be utilized for both military and commercial purposes. The common facts of today are the products of yesterday’s research. The effort of Kim’s team will be a stepping stone to an unprecedented technology. Oh Kyu-jin alex684@hanyang.ac.kr

2020-01 26

[Academics][Excellent R&D] Bridging the Educational Gap through Welfare

People refer to education as the passport to the future. Nowadays, education is considered a type of welfare—provided from cradle to grave. However, school education cannot help but be emphasized due to its role in society. Here is Professor Song Ji-hoon (Department of Educational Technology) who is leading the research on the execution of welfare in school education. Professor Song Ji-hoon (Department of Educational Technology) is leading an institution that specializes in educational welfare. Song is the incumbent president of the Institute for Educational Research—a Hanyang-affiliated research institute on educational welfare. Educational welfare not only considers the infrastructure of a classroom but also the affective filter of the students. The institute is currently building a masterplan of school education with its point of reference. “We are surveying all authorities related to educational welfare,” said Song. There exists controversy on welfare catching up with one’s political stance. Educational welfare cannot escape from this dispute as well, especially in terms of providing the educational environment. “There are two types of welfare: universal welfare and selective welfare,” explained Song. The institute aims to verify educational policies from a utility point of view. For instance, people show different opinions on complimentary school uniforms. What the institute does is to make a report that evaluates the policy from both points of view. The goal is to avoid both reckless management and stigmatization—which are the double-edged swords of the two standpoints. Song also seeks to afford the emotional equilibrium to students through educational welfare. “Success in education derives from immersion,” defined the professor. “Students should be interested in what they learn and who they learn from.” Song emphasized the need for the right atmosphere, which is a key in narrowing down the educational gap. “The institute aims to pave the way for better conditions where students enjoy their school life.” Song proposes both physical and psychological welfare in bridging the educational gap. Nelson Mandela said that education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world. Song’s efforts are being carried over to a long-range plan where education serves as a way of resolving the social polarization in substance. Oh Kyu-jin alex684@hanyang.ac.kr Photos by Lee Hyeon-seon

2020-01 06

[Academics][Researcher of the Month] When Exception Becomes a New Finding

The Human Genome Project (HGP) was an international, collaborative research program that clinched complete mapping and understanding of human genes. HGP offered clues to the resolution of diseases through genetic modifications. The base editors – which inserts, deletes, modifies, and replaces targeted DNA in a genome with engineered nucleases – are technological embodiments that integrate follow-up studies from HGP. Professor Bae Sangsu (Department of Chemistry), who has pointed out unreported issues in Adenine base editors, shared his insights with us. Professor Bae Sangsu (Department of Chemistry) published his new findings of Adenine base editors in Nature Biotechnology. Base editing technology has undergone technological innovations in the last decade. The CRISPR gene editing is the third-generation base editor following zinc finger nuclease (ZFN) gene editing and transcription activator-like effector nucleases (TALENs) gene editing. The method allows the cell’s genome to be cut at the desired location by using a simplified version of the bacterial CRISPR-Cas9 antiviral defense system. The CRISPR gene editing was selected as the 2015 Breakthrough of the Year by Science. The base editing systems are now more influenced by nucleic acid sequences. A nucleic acid sequence is a succession of base-pairs signified by a series of Adenine, Guanine, Cytosine, and Thymine, which determines the biological characteristics of a living organism. Cytosine base editors (CBEs) and adenine base editors (ABEs) are the two major base editors that efficiently enable base substitutions. Recently, some researchers have reported their observations of unexpected ABE-induced cytosine conversions in mouse embryos. These conversions were thought to be exceptional cases. However, Bae’s research team found out that ABEs convert cytosine to guanine or thymine in a narrow editing window and a confined TC*N sequence context. These figures present cytosine editing by ABEs. (Photo courtesy of Bae) “What we found is that cytosine conversion in ABE is a systematic consequence in a certain situation,” said Bae. “Our findings are like bugs in smartphone applications.” This research has proven that the ABE cytosine deamination activity is relatively minor compared to the canonical ABE adenine deamination activity, but is an independent one. “It is clear that CRISPR-based base editing technologies have advanced the genome-editing field,” said Bae. The professor is looking forward to making a better tool by overcoming these unexpected results. His research team is working to develop ABE which does not convert Cytosine as an improvement study. At the same time, Bae is also involved in developing a more efficient CBE through his findings. Bae is trying to carry on his research into the advancement of both ABE and CBE base editors. Some say that even a minor error may turn out to be the one thing necessary to a worthwhile achievement. Bae’s effort to systemize exceptions are set to support the quality of human life by enhancement in base editing technology. Oh Kyu-jin alex684@hanyang.ac.kr Photos by Kim Ju-eun

2019-12 02

[Academics][Researcher of the Month] Power Electronics: A Way of Providing Cost-Efficient Power Supply

Smart devices have become an integral part of our lives. They operate interactively and autonomously, supporting people’s daily lives. Electricity by far provides the main source of convenience. Professor Kim Rae-young (Division of Electrical and Biomedical Engineering) has worked in the field of power electronics to support efficient energy processing. Professor Kim Rae-young (Division of Electrical and Biomedical Engineering) studies power electronics, which deals with cost-effective control and conversion of electricity. Power electronics is the study that covers the control and conversion of electric energy. “When electricity is generated, they have unregulated voltage and frequency, and, thus, are not suitable to use,” said Kim. “Power electronics deals with converting raw electric power into the regulated energy that is available to people.” Power electronics technologies are expected to serve important roles in future society. (Photo courtesy of Kim) Traditionally, the electric power grid system has been highly dependent on large-scale power plants, such as thermal or nuclear power plants, with high-capacity power transmission and distribution lines to generate and to deliver power energy for the last hundred decades. “Unfortunately, building this kind of traditional power grid system is almost impossible in the future,” said Kim. “Nobody wants to have these kinds of large-scale power plants or high-capacity power transmission and distribution lines near their home.” This is why Kim has paid special attention to microgrid technology. A microgrid is a small-scale power grid that can operate independently or collaboratively with other small power grids. “A microgrid provides a personal, local power supply and storage system with multiple and distributed power sources,” said Kim. He aims to build up the microgrid system through the 'Versatile Lego-block Smart Power Electronics Platform.' A model of a Versatile Lego-block Smart Power Electronics Platform (Photo courtesy of Kim) Kim’s platform is connecting energy sources in parallel with the capacity of the microgrid. Kim continued his explanation by citing the example of sunlight generation. “When solar farm collects energy via its panels, voltage and frequency may vary according to weather conditions,” said Kim. “By using the Lego-block platform, a microgrid can offer a homogeneous power supply by making use of other sources of energy simultaneously.” Kim expects his platform to corroborate a more cost-effective way of generating power. Kim wants to expand his research on power electronics in a more practical direction. “I am now working on the 3D space wireless power transmission system,” said Kim. “My goal is to acquire the core technology of cordless charging which shares similarity with Wi-Fi or Bluetooth technology.” Furthermore, Kim is showing progress in constructing a direct current (DC) electric power transmission system in collaboration with KEPCO (Korea Electric Power Corporation). A DC electric power transmission system is expected to improve the stability and economy of an electric power grid system, which leads to cost-efficiency. Kim is working to further his research in a more practical sense. Some people say that what has now been proven was once only imagined. Kim is contributing to the world with innovation as he seeks to provide more convenient, new, and wonderful experiences achieved through power electronics. Oh Kyu-jin alex684@hanyang.ac.kr Photos by Kim Ju-eun

2019-10 06

[Academics][Researcher of the Month] A New Association Between Muscle and Metabolic Syndrome

According to the National Institution of Health (NIH), metabolic syndrome is the name for a group of risk factors that raises your risk for heart disease and other health problems, such as diabetes and stroke. As metabolic diseases become more prevalent over the past few decades, researchers have been working to figure out the underlying cause. Professor Jun Dae-won (College of Medicine) has made a breakthrough over this field by discovering its association with muscle health. Professor Jun Dae-won (College of Medicine) discovered the link between muscle and metabolic diseases. “As people get older, they tend to lose muscle mass. This increases the risk of falls, which might cause the death of the elderly,” said Jun. “However, most of the researchers did not acknowledge why muscular issues lead to the aggravation of metabolic diseases.” Jun’s team, in collaboration with Professor Kim Ji-young’s team, made progress on finding the links between muscle and metabolic syndrome. What caught Jun's eyes was psoas muscle, which is an internal muscle of the loin. Jun made use of this muscle, as it is widely known to be proportional to the total muscle mass. Jun collected 1000 PET-CT (Positron emission tomography–computed tomography) images on psoas muscle and kept an eye on glucose inside the muscle. Jun found out that Fluorine‐18‐labelled fluoro‐2‐deoxy‐d‐glucose (18F‐FDG) uptake of psoas muscle is a promising surrogate marker for existing and incipient metabolic derangement. Jun's team identified Fluorine‐18‐labelled fluoro‐2‐deoxy‐d‐glucose (18F‐FDG) uptake through PET-CT as it provides a clear picture of psoas muscle. (Photo courtesy of Jun) Jun admitted that he could not eliminate all confounding variables, despite endless efforts to minimize them. "There are limitations in clinical trials, as it is not easy to find action mechanisms through these tests. That is the reason why we went abreast with animal testing and cell experiment,” explained Jun. “There may be some hindrance in interpretation due to differences between human and laboratory animals. But they still provide clues to action mechanisms.” Thus, he stated his plans to work on the revalidation of the research, digging deeper into the degree of association. Jun underlined the need for continued endeavor, as it eventually pays off, in an unexpected way at times. Jun highlighted the importance of being industrious and strong-minded. “My original research intended to find the relation between liver function and metabolic syndrome,” said Jun. “Unfortunately, I could not draw meaningful results.” Jun was on the verge of giving up the research. It was his continuous subgroup analysis that led to eureka. Just as what people say, sometimes coincidence is a plan in disguise. Oh Kyu-jin alex684@hanyang.ac.kr Photos by Kim Ju-eun

2019-09 30

[Academics][Excellent R&D] Stratification and Customization: A New Route Towards Curing Rare Intractable Diseases

A few years ago, the Ice Bucket Challenge went viral on social networking services and became a popular event all around the world. People either dumped ice water on their heads or donated 100 dollars to support funds for a rare disease called amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). Also referred to as Lou Gehrig’s disease, ALS is a disease that causes the death of neurons which control voluntary muscles. There is still no cure on ALS, with only minor treatments being available. Here is Professor Kim Seung Hyun (College of Medicine), an individual who has devoted his medical career to finding clues to this incurable disease. Professor Kim Seung Hyun (College of Medicine) has been on the field of neuro-degenerative disorders for more than 25 years. Kim has been working in the field of ALS and other neuro-degenerative disorders since 1993. Kim focuses on the issue of medication as he proposes a new model on the drug development process. “Most clinical trials are based on a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach as they do not consider individual differences among people,” said Kim. “Even though people suffer from the same disease, they might be showing different symptoms due to genetic differences. That is why some drugs cannot be commercialized regardless of their medicinal effect on selected specimen.” Kim explained that clinical trials in ALS were headed towards 'one-size-fits-all.' (Photo courtesy of Kim) Kim, who has been conducting research on the unique genetic background of Korean and Asian populations, discovered that Koreans tend to have more Histone deacetylase 6 (HDAC6) gene mutation than people of other ethnicities. Based on these findings, Kim is now working on applying this result to the development of new pharmaceuticals. “My research aims to establish a treatment strategy with a stratified model of Lou Gehrig's Disease,” Kim said. “The next step will be the customization of treatment by prescribing and providing a remedy in accordance with one’s genetic data.” Kim said his objective is to develop a diagnosis platform by utilizing AI technology. “I am endeavoring to build a nomogram that can tell what the patient requires, and I expect the discriminants to become more precise as time goes on.” By citing a 2016 Go match between AlphaGo and Lee Se-dol, Kim continued on. “AlphaGo’s victory attributes to effective processing of data accumulation. AI will lead to an innovative success on providing cures for rare intractable diseases just as AlphaGo read Lee Se-dol’s move and made an irresistible attack.” Kim advised students to be more versatile and challenging. As a renowned medical researcher and top-tier specialist, Kim highlighted the importance of being versatile. “You only deal with the basics at school,” said Kim. “Things have changed and will change even faster. You need to be prepared for globalization and technological advances.” In addition, Kim encouraged students to challenge more. “When I first started as an ALS specialist at Hanyang, I had only one patient for me to work with. However, 25 years of endless effort is what made Hanyang a world-class institution in the field of neurological disorders.” Oh Kyu-jin alex684@hanyang.ac.kr Photos by Kim Ju-eun

2019-09 23

[Academics][Researcher of the Month] Adsorption Desalination, a Road to Innovative Desalination

Desalination is the process of removing salt from seawater, which is refined and utilized for human consumption and irrigation. As many parts of the world suffer from water scarcity, the significance of desalination technology is increasing. There are several ways of performing desalination, but the most widely used ones are Reverse Osmosis (RO) and Forward Osmosis (FO), as they are more economical. However, Professor Kim Young-deuk (Department of Mechanical Engineering, ERICA Campus) is looking beyond those methods as he digs deeper into desalination through evaporation. Professor Kim Young-deuk (Department of Mechanical Engineering, ERICA Campus) is explaining his project on adsorption desalination. Adsorption desalination is a method of desalination which employs low-temperature waste heat as its energy source. It is one of the subfields of desalination, in which evaporation is triggered through the adsorption of heat. According to Kim, this method of desalination has three advantages compared to RO and FO desalination. First, the technology can work not only for desalination, but also for air-conditioning. It can also reduce energy use, consuming less than half of what RO and FO currently require. Finally, it is cost-effective as there is less of a need for big-scale infrastructure. “The source technology of desalination is further developed in other countries,” explained Kim. “And we pay royalty for its use. What I am trying goes along with the government’s policy to localize essential source technology.” Kim is now working on showing more visible performance as his team was nominated as one of the final three for the ‘Alchemist Project,’ a national project launched by the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy in order to support the research and development of innovative technology. Kim's project started from a small device but has improved over the years. (Photo courtesy of Kim) Kim started his project on this topic at the time he came to Hanyang as a professor, which he learned from his postdoctoral fellowship. He commented that his research is still in its early stage, but he is hopeful that the technology will bring a paradigm shift in terms of efficiency and utility. Kim stressed the importance of challenge and experience as a researcher. At the end of the interview, Kim advised the students of Hanyang to challenge and experience as much as possible. “Assuming that you are well-founded on your professional knowledge, you should go beyond and overcome your limits,” said Kim. “It will help you apply your knowledge into a new field and find a niche market.” Oh Kyu-jin alex684@hanyang.ac.kr Photos by Lee Hyeon-seon