Daejeon, South Korea
Daejeon, South Korea

KAIST is a public research university located in Daedeok Innopolis, Daejeon, South Korea. KAIST was established by the Korean government with the help of American policymakers in 1971 as the nation's first research oriented science and engineering institution. KAIST has approximately 10,200 full-time students and 1,140 faculty researchers and had a total budget of US$765 million in 2013, of which US$459 million was from research contracts. From 1980 to 2008, the institute was known as the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology. In 2008, the name was shortened to KAIST.KAIST ranked 60th globally and 12th in Asia in the QS World University Rankings , making it the second in the country, while it came second in the independent regional QS Asian University Rankings , considered as the best Korean institution. Moreover, it was placed 16th in Materials Science and 24th in Engineering and Technology by QS of the same year.Times Higher Education ranked KAIST the third best university under the age of 50 years in the world in its 2014 league table. In 2007 KAIST adopted dual degree programs with leading world universities to offer its students diverse educational opportunities and strengthen academic exchanges; since then with Carnegie Mellon University, the Georgia Institute of Technology, Technische Universität Berlin, and the Technische Universität München. Wikipedia.

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News Article | April 17, 2017
Site: www.eurekalert.org

An eco-friendly method to synthesize DNA-copper nanoflowers with high load efficiencies, low cytotoxicity, and strong resistance against nucleases has been developed by Professor Hyun Gyu Park in the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering and his collaborators. The research team successfully formed a flower-shaped nanostructure in an eco-friendly condition by using interactions between copper ions and DNA containing amide and amine groups. The resulting nanoflowers exhibit high DNA loading capacities in addition to low cytotoxicity. Flower-shaped nanocrystals called nanoflowers have gained attention for their distinct features of high surface roughness and high surface area to volume ratios. The nanoflowers have been used in many areas including catalysis, electronics, and analytical chemistry. Of late, research breakthroughs were made in the generation of hybrid inorganic-organic nanoflowers containing various enzymes as organic components. The hybridization with inorganic materials greatly enhanced enzymatic activity, stability, and durability compared to the corresponding free enzymes. Generally, the formation of protein nanocrystals requires high heat treatment so it has limitations for achieving the high loading capacities of intact DNA. The research team addressed the issue, focusing on the fact that nucleic acids with well-defined structures and selective recognition properties also contain amide and amine groups in their nucleobases. They proved that flower-like structures could be formed by using nucleic acids as a synthetic template, which paved the way to synthesize the hybrid nanoflowers containing DNA as an organic component in an eco-friendly condition. The team also confirmed that this synthetic method can be universally applied to any DNA sequences containing amide and amine groups. They said their approach is quite unique considering that the majority of previous works focused on the utilization of DNA as a linker to assemble the nanomaterials. They said the method has several advantageous features. First, the 'green' synthetic procedure doesn't involve any toxic chemicals, and shows low cytotoxicity and strong resistance against nucleases. Second, the obtained nanoflowers exhibit exceptionally high DNA loading capacities. Above all, such superior features of hybrid nanoflowers enabled the sensitive detection of various molecules including phenol, hydrogen peroxide, and glucose. DNA-copper nanoflowers showed even higher peroxidase activity than those of protein-copper nanoflowers, which may be due to the larger surface area of the flower- shaped structures, creating a greater chance for applying them in the field of sensing of detection of hydrogen peroxide. The research team expects that their research will create diverse applications in many areas including biosensors and will be further applied into therapeutic applications. Professor Park said, "The inorganic component in the hybrid nanoflowers not only exhibits low cytotoxicity, but also protects the encapsulated DNA from being cleaved by endonuclease enzymes. Using this feature, the nanostructure will be applied into developing gene therapeutic carriers." This research was co-led by Professor Moon Il Kim at Gachon University and KAIST graduate Ki Soo Park, currently a professor at Konkuk University, is the first author. The research was featured as the front cover article of the Journal of Materials Chemistry B on March 28, Issue 12, published by the Royal Society of Chemistry. The research was funded by the Mid-Career Researcher Support Program of the National Research Foundation of Korea and the Global Frontier Project of the Ministry of Science, ICT & Future Planning.


News Article | April 17, 2017
Site: www.cemag.us

An eco-friendly method to synthesize DNA-copper nanoflowers with high load efficiencies, low cytotoxicity, and strong resistance against nucleases has been developed by Professor Hyun Gyu Park and his collaborators in the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology’s (KAIST) Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering. The research team successfully formed a flower-shaped nanostructure in an eco-friendly condition by using interactions between copper ions and DNA containing amide and amine groups. The resulting nanoflowers exhibit high DNA loading capacities in addition to low cytotoxicity. Flower-shaped nanocrystals called nanoflowers have gained attention for their distinct features of high surface roughness and high surface area to volume ratios. The nanoflowers have been used in many areas including catalysis, electronics, and analytical chemistry. Of late, research breakthroughs were made in the generation of hybrid inorganic-organic nanoflowers containing various enzymes as organic components. The hybridization with inorganic materials greatly enhanced enzymatic activity, stability, and durability compared to the corresponding free enzymes. Generally, the formation of protein nanocrystals requires high heat treatment so it has limitations for achieving the high loading capacities of intact DNA. The research team addressed the issue, focusing on the fact that nucleic acids with well-defined structures and selective recognition properties also contain amide and amine groups in their nucleobases. They proved that flower-like structures could be formed by using nucleic acids as a synthetic template, which paved the way to synthesize the hybrid nanoflowers containing DNA as an organic component in an eco-friendly condition. The team also confirmed that this synthetic method can be universally applied to any DNA sequences containing amide and amine groups. They said their approach is quite unique considering that the majority of previous works focused on the utilization of DNA as a linker to assemble the nanomaterials. They said the method has several advantageous features. First, the “green” synthetic procedure doesn’t involve any toxic chemicals, and shows low cytotoxicity and strong resistance against nucleases. Second, the obtained nanoflowers exhibit exceptionally high DNA loading capacities. Above all, such superior features of hybrid nanoflowers enabled the sensitive detection of various molecules including phenol, hydrogen peroxide, and glucose. DNA-copper nanoflowers showed even higher peroxidase activity than those of protein-copper nanoflowers, which may be due to the larger surface area of the flower- shaped structures, creating a greater chance for applying them in the field of sensing of detection of hydrogen peroxide. The research team expects that their research will create diverse applications in many areas including biosensors and will be further applied into therapeutic applications. Park says, “The inorganic component in the hybrid nanoflowers not only exhibits low cytotoxicity, but also protects the encapsulated DNA from being cleaved by endonuclease enzymes. Using this feature, the nanostructure will be applied into developing gene therapeutic carriers.” This research was co-led by Professor Moon Il Kim at Gachon University and KAIST graduate Ki Soo Park, currently a professor at Konkuk University, is the first author. The research was featured as the front cover article of the Journal of Materials Chemistry B on March 28, Issue 12, published by the Royal Society of Chemistry. The research was funded by the Mid-Career Researcher Support Program of the National Research Foundation of Korea and the Global Frontier Project of the Ministry of Science, ICT & Future Planning.


News Article | May 4, 2017
Site: www.eurekalert.org

Professor Seyun Kim's team from KAIST reported the mechanism by which cellular signaling transduction network is exquisitely controlled in mediating innate immune response such as sepsis by the enzyme IPMK (Inositol polyphosphate multikinase) essential for inositol biosynthesis metabolism. In collaboration with Professor Rho Hyun Seong at Seoul National University, the study's first author, Eunha Kim, a Ph.D. candidate in Department of Biological Sciences, performed a series of cellular, biochemical, and physiological experiments searching for the new function of IPMK enzyme in macrophages. The research findings were published in Science Advances on April 21. Professor Kim's team has been investigating various inositol metabolites and their biosynthesis metabolism for several years and has multilaterally identified signaling actions of IPMK (Inositol polyphosphate multikinase) in the control of cellular growth and energy homeostasis. This research showed that specific deletion of IPMK enzyme in macrophages could significantly reduce levels of inflammation and increase survival rates in mice when they were challenged by microbial septic shock as well as endotoxins. This suggests a role for IPMK enzyme in mediating innate inflammatory responses that are directly related to host defense against pathogenic bacterial infection. The team further discovered that IPMK enzyme directly binds to TRAF6 protein, a key player in immune signaling, thus protecting TRAF6 protein from ubiquitination reactions that are involved in protein degradation. In addition, Kim and colleagues successfully verified this IPMK-dependent immune control by employing short peptides which can specifically interfere with the binding between IPMK enzyme and TRAF6 protein in macrophage cells. This research revealed a novel function of IPMK enzyme in the fine tuning of innate immune signaling networks, suggesting a new direction for developing therapeutics targeting serious medical conditions such as neuroinflammation, type 2 diabetes, as well as polymicrobial sepsis that are developed from uncontrolled host immune responses. This research was funded by the Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning.


News Article | May 22, 2017
Site: www.rdmag.com

A KAIST research team presented a hybrid animal-robot interaction called "the parasitic robot system," that imitates the nature relationship between parasites and host. The research team led by Professor Phil-Seung Lee of the Department of Mechanical Engineering took an animal's locomotive abilities to apply the theory of using a robot as a parasite. The robot is attached to its host animal in a way similar to an actual parasite, and it interacts with the host through particular devices and algorithms. Even with remarkable technology advancements, robots that operate in complex and harsh environments still have some serious limitations in moving and recharging. However, millions of years of evolution have led to there being many real animals capable of excellent locomotion and survive in actual natural environment. Certain kinds of real parasites can manipulate the behavior of the host to increase the probability of its own reproduction. Similarly, in the proposed concept of a "parasitic robot," a specific behavior is induced by the parasitic robot in its host to benefit the robot. The team chose a turtle as their first host animal and designed a parasitic robot that can perform "stimulus-response training." The parasitic robot, which is attached to the turtle, can induce the turtle's object-tracking behavior through repeated training sessions. The robot then simply guides it using LEDs and feeds it snacks as a reward for going in the right direction through a programmed algorithm. After training sessions lasting five weeks, the parasitic robot can successfully control the direction of movement of the host turtles in the waypoint navigation task in a water tank. This hybrid animal-robot interaction system could provide an alternative solution of the limitations of conventional mobile robot systems in various fields. Ph.D. candidate Dae-Gun Kim, the first author of this research said that there are a wide variety of animals including mice, birds, and fish that could perform equally as well at such tasks. He said that in the future, this system will be applied to various exploration and reconnaissance missions that humans and robots find it difficult to do on their own. Kim said, "This hybrid animal-robot interaction system could provide an alternative solution to the limitations of conventional mobile robot systems in various fields, and could also act as a useful interaction system for the behavioral sciences." The research was published in the Journal of Bionic Engineering April issue.


News Article | May 22, 2017
Site: www.eurekalert.org

A KAIST research team presented a hybrid animal-robot interaction called "the parasitic robot system," that imitates the nature relationship between parasites and host. The research team led by Professor Phil-Seung Lee of the Department of Mechanical Engineering took an animal's locomotive abilities to apply the theory of using a robot as a parasite. The robot is attached to its host animal in a way similar to an actual parasite, and it interacts with the host through particular devices and algorithms. Even with remarkable technology advancements, robots that operate in complex and harsh environments still have some serious limitations in moving and recharging. However, millions of years of evolution have led to there being many real animals capable of excellent locomotion and survive in actual natural environment. Certain kinds of real parasites can manipulate the behavior of the host to increase the probability of its own reproduction. Similarly, in the proposed concept of a "parasitic robot," a specific behavior is induced by the parasitic robot in its host to benefit the robot. The team chose a turtle as their first host animal and designed a parasitic robot that can perform "stimulus-response training." The parasitic robot, which is attached to the turtle, can induce the turtle's object-tracking behavior through repeated training sessions. The robot then simply guides it using LEDs and feeds it snacks as a reward for going in the right direction through a programmed algorithm. After training sessions lasting five weeks, the parasitic robot can successfully control the direction of movement of the host turtles in the waypoint navigation task in a water tank. This hybrid animal-robot interaction system could provide an alternative solution of the limitations of conventional mobile robot systems in various fields. Ph.D. candidate Dae-Gun Kim, the first author of this research said that there are a wide variety of animals including mice, birds, and fish that could perform equally as well at such tasks. He said that in the future, this system will be applied to various exploration and reconnaissance missions that humans and robots find it difficult to do on their own. Kim said, "This hybrid animal-robot interaction system could provide an alternative solution to the limitations of conventional mobile robot systems in various fields, and could also act as a useful interaction system for the behavioral sciences." The research was published in the Journal of Bionic Engineering April issue.


News Article | May 22, 2017
Site: www.rdmag.com

A KAIST research team presented a hybrid animal-robot interaction called "the parasitic robot system," that imitates the nature relationship between parasites and host. The research team led by Professor Phil-Seung Lee of the Department of Mechanical Engineering took an animal's locomotive abilities to apply the theory of using a robot as a parasite. The robot is attached to its host animal in a way similar to an actual parasite, and it interacts with the host through particular devices and algorithms. Even with remarkable technology advancements, robots that operate in complex and harsh environments still have some serious limitations in moving and recharging. However, millions of years of evolution have led to there being many real animals capable of excellent locomotion and survive in actual natural environment. Certain kinds of real parasites can manipulate the behavior of the host to increase the probability of its own reproduction. Similarly, in the proposed concept of a "parasitic robot," a specific behavior is induced by the parasitic robot in its host to benefit the robot. The team chose a turtle as their first host animal and designed a parasitic robot that can perform "stimulus-response training." The parasitic robot, which is attached to the turtle, can induce the turtle's object-tracking behavior through repeated training sessions. The robot then simply guides it using LEDs and feeds it snacks as a reward for going in the right direction through a programmed algorithm. After training sessions lasting five weeks, the parasitic robot can successfully control the direction of movement of the host turtles in the waypoint navigation task in a water tank. This hybrid animal-robot interaction system could provide an alternative solution of the limitations of conventional mobile robot systems in various fields. Ph.D. candidate Dae-Gun Kim, the first author of this research said that there are a wide variety of animals including mice, birds, and fish that could perform equally as well at such tasks. He said that in the future, this system will be applied to various exploration and reconnaissance missions that humans and robots find it difficult to do on their own. Kim said, "This hybrid animal-robot interaction system could provide an alternative solution to the limitations of conventional mobile robot systems in various fields, and could also act as a useful interaction system for the behavioral sciences." The research was published in the Journal of Bionic Engineering April issue.


Patent
Kaist | Date: 2017-07-26

The present invention relates to a multi-conjugate of small interfering RNA (siRNA) and a preparing method of the same, more precisely a multi-conjugate of siRNA prepared by direct binding of double stranded sense/antisense siRNA monomers or indirect covalent bonding mediated by a crosslinking agent or a polymer, and a preparing method of the same. The preparing method of a siRNA multi-conjugate of the present invention is characterized by simple and efficient reaction and thereby the prepared siRNA multi-conjugate of the present invention has high molecular weight multiple times the conventional siRNA, so that it has high negative charge density, suggesting that it has excellent ionic interaction with a cationic gene carrier and high gene delivery efficiency.


The first total synthesis of dimeric securinega alkaloid (-)-flueggenine C was completed via an accelerated intermolecular Rauhut-Currier (RC) reaction. The research team led by Professor Sunkyu Han in the Department of Chemistry succeeded in synthesizing the natural product by reinventing the conventional RC reaction. The total synthesis of natural products refers to the process of synthesizing secondary metabolites isolated from living organisms in the laboratory through a series of chemical reactions. Each stage of chemical reaction needs to be successful to produce the final target molecule, and thus the process requires high levels of patience and creativity. For that reason, the researchers working on natural products total synthesis are often called "molecular artists". Despite numerous reports on the total synthesis of monomeric securinegas, the synthesis of dimeric securinegas, whose monomeric units are connected by a putative enzymatic RC reaction, has not been reported to date. The team used a Rauhut-Currier (RC) reaction, a carbon-carbon bond forming a reaction between two Michael acceptors first reported by Rauhut and Currier in 1963, to successfully synthesize a dimeric natural product, flueggenine C. This new work featured the first application of an intermolecular RC reaction in total synthesis. The conventional intermolecular RC reaction was driven non-selectively by a toxic nucleophilic catalyst at a high temperature of over 150°C and a highly concentrated reaction mixture, and thus has never been applied to natural products total synthesis. To overcome this long-standing problem, the research team placed a nucleophilic moiety at the y-position of the enone derivative. As a result, the RC reaction could be induced by the simple addition of a base at ambient temperature and dilute solution, without the need of a nucleophilic catalyst. Using this newly discovered reactivity, the team successfully synthesized the natural product (-)-flueggenine C from commercially available amino acid derivative in 12 steps. Professor Han said, "Our key finding regarding the remarkably improved reactivity and selectivity of the intermolecular RC reaction will serve as a significant stepping stone in allowing this reaction to be considered a practical and reliable chemical tool with broad applicability in natural products, pharmaceuticals, and materials syntheses." This research was led by Ph.D. candidate Sangbin Jeon and was published in The Journal of the American Chemical Society (JACS) on May 10. This research was funded by KAIST start-up funds, HRHR (High-Risk High-Return), RED&B (Research, Education, Development & Business) projects, the National Research Foundation of Korea, and the Institute for Basic Science


News Article | May 25, 2017
Site: www.sciencedaily.com

A KAIST research team presented a hybrid animal-robot interaction called "the parasitic robot system," that imitates the nature relationship between parasites and host. The research team led by Professor Phil-Seung Lee of the Department of Mechanical Engineering took an animal's locomotive abilities to apply the theory of using a robot as a parasite. The robot is attached to its host animal in a way similar to an actual parasite, and it interacts with the host through particular devices and algorithms. Even with remarkable technology advancements, robots that operate in complex and harsh environments still have some serious limitations in moving and recharging. However, millions of years of evolution have led to there being many real animals capable of excellent locomotion and survive in actual natural environment. Certain kinds of real parasites can manipulate the behavior of the host to increase the probability of its own reproduction. Similarly, in the proposed concept of a "parasitic robot," a specific behavior is induced by the parasitic robot in its host to benefit the robot. The team chose a turtle as their first host animal and designed a parasitic robot that can perform "stimulus-response training." The parasitic robot, which is attached to the turtle, can induce the turtle's object-tracking behavior through repeated training sessions. The robot then simply guides it using LEDs and feeds it snacks as a reward for going in the right direction through a programmed algorithm. After training sessions lasting five weeks, the parasitic robot can successfully control the direction of movement of the host turtles in the waypoint navigation task in a water tank. This hybrid animal-robot interaction system could provide an alternative solution of the limitations of conventional mobile robot systems in various fields. Ph.D. candidate Dae-Gun Kim, the first author of this research said that there are a wide variety of animals including mice, birds, and fish that could perform equally as well at such tasks. He said that in the future, this system will be applied to various exploration and reconnaissance missions that humans and robots find it difficult to do on their own. Kim said, "This hybrid animal-robot interaction system could provide an alternative solution to the limitations of conventional mobile robot systems in various fields, and could also act as a useful interaction system for the behavioral sciences."


News Article | May 8, 2017
Site: www.newscientist.com

In preparation for becoming humanity’s overlords, robots have started controlling turtles. By first getting the reptiles to associate a red light with food, the shell-attached robots can dictate where the turtle moves around a tank, creating a rather unusual parasitic relationship. Even with the huge progress made in recent years, robots still have some serious limitations. Making their motion robust enough to survive the rigours of daily life is an ongoing battle, as is the puzzle of providing them with enough energy to avoid spending hours recharging. Nature, on the other hand, can do this easily. Millions of years of evolution have given rise to an incredible variety of efficient ways for animals to move, so researchers at the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) in Daejeon set about harnessing this factor. Robots were first glued to the backs of five red-eared slider turtles. The robots comprised a processor, a frame that stuck out in front of the turtle’s head holding five red LEDs spaced apart, and a food-ejecting tube. They then had to ride their turtle through five checkpoints in a tank filled with water. The turtles were first conditioned to associate a lit-up LED with food. The robot then simply guided it using the LEDs and fed it snacks as a reward for going in the right direction. Using this process, five robot-turtle pairs successfully completed the course, and each sped up with practice. There are plenty of other animals that could also later be used to give robots a ride, says Dae-Gun Kim at KAIST. “It will be possible to apply it to various animals such as fish and birds according to task purpose,” he says. In the future, Kim and his colleagues also want to be able to harness some of the animal host’s motion to provide the robot with power. “These robots could be used for surveillance, exploration, or anywhere where it’s difficult for humans or robots to reach on their own,” says Nathan Lepora at the University of Bristol, UK. Previously, insects have been controlled using electrodes and radio antennas connected to their nervous systems. This same approach could present ways for parasitic robots to directly control their hosts. “There are definitely ethical considerations, but if robots and animals were able to team up to explore a disaster area, it could be really useful,” says Lepora.

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