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Biological Sciences and Biotechnology
Mecca for cutting-edge convergence studies to investigate essentials of vital human phenomenon

Biological Sciences, based on the understanding of each and every biological phenomenon in living organisms, is the cutting-edge scholarship which will constitute of the fundamentals in the 21st century knowledge-based society. The results of scholarship are being utilized for the enhancement of human welfare. Since the turn of the century, the College of Biological Sciences and Biotechnology has been making continuous efforts to reform learning, teaching and research environment by actively participating into the New University Regional Innovation (NURI) Project and the Brain Korea 21 (BK 21) Project. As the government designates the Chungcheon region as one of “National 5+2 Supra Economic Region” in which bio/pharmaceutical and medical industry will be specialized, the college is preparing for a new initiative, the establishment of the training center for bio/pharmaceutical and medical professionals to meet the needs of industry.

Tel+82-42-821-5572 Homepagehttps://cbb.cnu.ac.kr/
Biological Sciences

“Biological Sciences(BS)“ is undergraduate program for the education of necessary academic sectors in examining all the levels from the cell, the basic unit of a living creature, to an individual organism, population, and community. The course works of BS contain diverse subjects such as molecular biology, genetics, physiology, ecology, biodiversity and their evolution, and aims to cultivate competent people with a basic knowledge of bioscience and a high adaptive ability through various experiments, fieldworks, and actual practices as well as theoretical lectures. After completing these courses, students can enter relevant companies, or can become professors, researchers, and doctors by entering graduate school or medical school. Students who wish to become middle school teachers may choose the teacher training course.

[Cheol-Hee Kim]
  • Title : Professor
  • Major : Developmental Genetics
  • Phone : +82-42-821-5494
  • E-mail : zebrakim@cnu.ac.kr
  • Room : Building N11-513
  • Research Interests : Functional study of mental disorder genes
  • We are conducting a systematic zebrafish knockout project to validate candidate genes for mental disorders, including autism. Knockout (KO) zebrafish for the Miles-Carpenter syndrome gene (ZC4H2) were created and KO animal exhibited abnormal swimming, defective eye movement and pectoral fin contractures. We observed a striking reduction in GABAergic interneurons. Analysis of cell-type-specific markers showed a specific loss of V2 interneurons in the brain and spinal cord. Loss of function of ZC4H2 thus likely results in altered connectivity of neuronal circuits, infantile spasm and intellectual disability. The second case is related to autism spectrum disorders (ASDs). ASDs comprise a wide range of neurodevelopmental disorders, characterized by deficits in social behavior, along with repetitive behaviors and impaired communication. Though the exact causes for ASD remain poorly understood, genetic mutations resulting in altered gene function have been implicated causally in ASD. Intragenic mutations in DYRK1A, which have been shown previously to be associated with clinical aspects of Down syndrome, have been associated recently with microcephaly and ASD-like symptoms. We provide a case study of an individual with a 21kb microdeletion within the DYRK1A locus, who has both microcephaly and ASD. We show that dyrk1aa KO fish have microcephaly and impaired social interactions through two newly developed behavioral tests: social interaction and shoaling assays. Also, we confirmed that behavior analysis for ASD through our dyrk1aa KO zebrafish is experimentally tractable, and propose these social behavioral assay methods in zebrafish as a tool for the widespread study of ASD candidate genes.
[Donghwan Shim]
  • Title : Assistant Professor
  • Major : Plant Bioinformatics
  • Phone : +82-42-821-6279
  • E-mail : dshim104@cnu.ac.kr
  • Research Interests
    - Plant Big-data Analysis including Phenomics
    - Comparative Genomics and Transcriptomics
    - Biomarker development using artificial intelligence(AI)
  • Plant Bioinformatics and New plant science research combined ICT & BI
    Since the human genome project, NGS (Next generation sequencing) technology has developed rapidly, and the TGS (Third Generation Sequencing) era has arrived. As it becomes possible to decipher diverse and complex genome information, research on plant genomes and transcriptomes has also been diversified and broadened. In our laboratory, we are conducting research through the analysis of genomes and transcriptomes of various plants using advanced DNA and RNA sequencing technology. Based on the analysis results, research is conducted on a wide range of topics, from biomarker development using artificial intelligence, species identification marker development, molecular diagnosis, and evolutionary characterization studies. In addition, we are developing an automatic urban forest management system through the diagnosis of plant health and diseases using 3D hyperspectral image analysis. Therefore, we always aim for new plant science research that combines biology and artificial intelligence.
[Eun-hee Kim]
  • Title : Professor
  • Major : Cell Signaling & Tumor Biology
  • Phone : +82-42-821-5495
  • E-mail : eunhee@cnu.ac.kr
  • Room : Building N11-412
  • Programmed cell death is a part of the normal life cycle of many cell types and has emerged as an essential regulatory mechanism. Therefore, programmed cell death failure leads to various diseases including neurodegenerative diseases and cancer. Control of cell death can protect neurons from neurodegeneration and sensitize tumor cells to anti- cancer drug treatment. Big pharmaceutical companies put major efforts on developing cell death-regulating drugs. Thus, studying with known genes as targets would be disadvantageous for late-comers. To this end, our laboratory aims to select novel death- regulatory genes and understand their molecular mechanisms.
  • Our lab is interested in - Understanding molecular mechanisms of cell death
    - Pathogenesis mechanism of diseases by dysregulation of cell death
    - Drug development related such diseases
  • Current research involves - Identification and validation of novel death proteins as drug targets
    - Screening and optimization of small molecules targeting death proteins
    - Development of disease animal models
[Hankuil Yi]
  • Title : Associate professor
  • Major : Plant molecular genetics & biochemistry
  • Phone : +82-42-821-6410
  • E-mail : hankuil.yi@cnu.ac.kr
  • Structure/function relationship and evolution mechanism of SNC1 and RPP4 disease resistance (R) protein
  • R proteins in plants are used to detect the presence of pathogens and initiate the defense signaling against invading pathogens. Because of the deleterious effects in growth and development, the expression levels of R proteins are tightly controlled in various ways but affected by surrounding environmental conditions. Using SNC1 and RPP4, which encode R proteins with TIR (Toll/Interleukin 1 receptor) domain, we are investigating (1) structural determinants for the functions of these R genes in different growth conditions and (2) the mechanism responsible for SNC1 hypermutation in the bal mutant background after mutagen treatment.
  • Substrate-specificity and biochemical properties of plant enzymes
  • Rapid increase in numbers of plant species with whole genome sequences provides challenges in characterizing the specificity of evolutionarily related biochemical enzymes. Especially it is true for plants because genome-wide duplication and allopolyploidy leading to functional divergence of related genes, and species-specific biochemical pathways are widespread in plants. With comparative genomics approach based on the functional information obtained from the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana and other plant species, we are characterizing biochemical specificities of enzymes from Brassicaceae plants involved in specific steps in sulfur and lipid metabolism.
[Heon Man Lim]
  • Title : Professor
  • Major : Molecular Biology
  • Phone : +82-42-821-6276
  • E-mail : hmlim@cnu.ac.kr
  • Research Interests
  • Two-level inhibition of galK expression by Spot 42: Degradation of mRNA mK2 and enhanced transcription termination before the galK
  • Spot 42-mediated degradation of the galK-specific mRNA, mK2, and Spot 42-mediated Rho-dependent transcription termination at the end of galT. Because the concentration of Spot 42 drops during the transition period of the polarity type switch, these results demonstrate that type 1 polarity is the result of alleviation of Spot 42-mediated galK down-regulation.
  • Spot 42 binding to different gal mRNAs results in differential consequences in the galactose operon.
  • Spot 42, small RNA of 109 nucleotide-long functions through base-pairing of the 3 Regions in its 5’ half to target mRNA sequences. The Region I, II and III form 8-10 uninterrupted base-pairings with corresponding sequences of the target gal mRNAs. Out of 6 gal mRNAs, 4, mK1, mM1, mK2, and mT1, harbor the same Spot 42 binding site in different locations relative to their ends. We investigated the role of base-pairings of the 3 Regions on gal mRNA production.
[Hyunju Ro]
  • Title : Professor
  • Major : Cellular Differentiation
  • Phone : +82-42-821-5496
  • E-mail : rohyunju@cnu.ac.kr
  • Research interests
  • Ubiquitin-dependent protein modification process is critical not only for the target proteins destruction but also for the cellular signaling, protein trafficking, endocytosis, DNA damage tolerance and kinase activation. The protein ubiquitylation is mediated by the consecutive action of E1 ubiquitin activating enzyme, E2 ubiquitin conjugating enzyme, and E3 ubiquitin ligase, which determines substrate specificity. In human, there are at least 600 different E3 ubiquitin ligases estimated to be expressed. Several types of human diseases are implicated in the defective protein ubiquitylation, reflecting the importance of the protein ubiquitylation in the cellular physiology. To data, the ubiquitin-dependent protein modification mechanism has been extensively studied in in vitro and homogenous cell culture systems. However, the in vivo functions of individual E3 ubiquitin ligases during vertebrate embryonic development still remain as an enigma. The early vertebrate embryonic development is largely dependent upon the crosstalk and collaboration of Wnt, TGFβ and FGF signaling. The combined action of the signaling pathways initially determines dorso-ventral body axis followed by anterior-posterior axis and left-right body asymmetry. The aforementioned signaling pathways are also important at the post-embryonic pathogenesis. For example, over the 85% of human colon cancer patient harbors mutated adenomatous polyposis coli (APC) gene that encodes a scaffold protein negatively regulating the Wnt signaling. Although TGFβ has been known as a cancer suppressor, it is also involved in cancer metastasis. Therefore, it is important to fully understand the intricate signaling cascades of the TGFβ signaling for the diagnosis and treatment of TGFβ related human diseases. In addition, aberrant regulation of RAS-RAF-MAPK signaling pathway, which can be activated by FGF/EGF/VEGF stimuli, is the one of the main causative factors of the cardio-facio-cutaneous (CFC) syndrome and malignant melanoma. Since these signaling pathways play important roles for the embryonic axis formation as well as diverse post- embryonic pathogenesis, it is valuable to study the molecular mechanisms using early developing embryos with suitable model system to gain insights into genetic disorders elicited by aberrant modulation of the signaling pathways.


    The zebrafish model organism is suitable for the study of vertebrate embryonic development and cellular signaling mechanism. The attributes of zebrafish include its small size, fecundity, relatively small genome size and production of optically transparent embryos that undergo exceptionally rapid development ex utero. In addition, the relatively large size of zebrafish embryos, which is approximately 20 times bigger than mouse embryo makes the system amenable to knockdown or gain-of-function experiments using morpholino or mRNA injection respectively, and generate transgenic animal through micro-manipulation with relatively simple equipment (Fig. A). This experimental advantage renders the zebrafish an excellent animal model for the development of human disease models and for high-throughput chemical modifier screening. Importantly the recent advent of TALEN, CRISPR/Cas9-based genome editing technology has overcome the weakness in reverse genetics of zebrafish.
[Kee-Jeong Ahn]
  • Title : Professor
  • Major : Systematic Zoology (Beetle Diversity)
  • Phone : +82-42-821-5492
  • E-mail : kjahn@cnu.ac.kr
  • Homepagecafius.wix.com/korean-beetles
  • Research Interests
  • - Systematics, Phylogeny, Biogeography, and Evolution of the coastal Staphylinidae (Insecta: Coleoptera)
  • - Phylogenetic Relationships of the Aleocharinae (Coleoptera: Staphylinidae)
  • - Revision of the East Asian Aleocharinae (Coleoptera: Staphylinidae)
  • - Systematics of the Staphylinoidea (Insecta: Coleoptera) in Korea
  • - Beetle Diversity in Korea
[Kyoung Mi Kim]
  • Title : Assistant Professor
  • Major : RNA biology, Cellular Senescence
  • Phone : +82-42-821-5498
  • E-mail : km.kim@cnu.ac.kr
  • Room : Building N11-413
  • Research Interests
  • Understanding RNA regulatory mechanism during cellular senescence
  • - Finding of transcriptome that changes during cellular senescence
  • - Study of RNA regulators and their mechanism during cellular senescence Understanding the function of Extracellular Vesicles (EVs)
  • - Study of mechanism and factors involved in biogenesis, secretion, uptake pathway of EVs
  • - Understanding the RNA components and function of extracellular vesicles during cellular senescence
  • - Function of extracellular vesicles as biomarkers in age-related disease
[Kyoung Seok Han]
  • Title : Assistant Professor
  • Major : Neuroscience
  • Phone : +82-42-821-6278
  • E-mail : ksh711@cnu.ac.kr
  • Research Interests
  • Neural communication in the brain
  • Neurons interact with each other via specialized molecular machines such as chemical synapses and electrical synapses. Chemical synapses use neurotransmitters such as glutamate and GABA to transmit signals. Their synaptic cleft is about 20~40 nm, and the signal transmission speed is 0.5~4 ms. Electrical synapses are electrically connected between two neighboring cells and pass directly electric current in both directions, so they interact with each other. The synaptic gap is about 3.5 nm, and the signal transmission speed is 0.2 ms. In addition to chemical and electrical synapses, neurons communicate with each other through the ephaptic transmission. It has been identified the first ephaptic transmission in the cortex in 2011. Ephaptic transmission is a signaling mechanism in which electrical changes in the extracellular region affect adjacent cells. Signal transmission speed is as fast as 0.5 ms. However, the research of ephaptic transmission, a new signaling mechanism between neurons, has not been extensively studied, yet. We are interested in various studies on the physiological and pathological role of ephaptic transmission.
  • The mechanism of invasion in Glioblastoma (GBM)
  • Glioblastoma (GBM) is a grade IV glioma and the most aggressive and deadliest of primary brain cancers; it arises from astrocytes. The overall survival rate of GBM patients is 39.7% at 1 year and 5.5% at 5 years. The highly invasive behavior of GBM cells makes it impossible to completely remove the tumor by surgical intervention, causing treatments to be less effective. Therefore, studying the cellular mechanism of migration and invasion of GBM is important for providing possible therapeutic interventions. We have demonstrated that intracellular Ca2+ signaling contribute to the motility and invasion of GBM. We are going to develop therapeutic interventions targeting ECM and Ca2+ signaling and aim at blocking invasion.
[Kwang-Guk An]
  • Title : Professor
  • Major : Environmental Ecology
  • Phone : +82-42-821-6408
  • E-mail : kgan@cnu.ac.kr
  • Research Interests
  • Stream ecosystem health assessments
  • The purpose of our search is to develop multi-metric ecological models, based on the Index of Biological Integrity (IBI) using fish assemblages and Quantitative Habitat Evaluation Index (QHEI) as a tool for assessments of ecological stream health. Eleven to eight metric systems were adopted for the IBI model to evaluate ecological stream health condition. Several metric attributes of original 12 metrics, suggested by Karr (1981), were modified for a development of the model in Korean waterbodies. The stream health conditions were evaluated as five criteria through the application of the model, and the evaluations were applied to major watersheds of Han-River, Geum-River, Nakdong-River, and Sumjin-River, and Youngsan-River in Korea. The present bioassessment methodology may be used as a key tool to set up specific goals for stream restoration plans as well as a biological measure diagnosing current stream conditions.
  • Nutrient dynamics and reservoir eutrophication
  • Reservoir eutrophication is also one of our major research topics. Limnological parameters are measured from various man-made lakes, and chemical water quality is judged on the basis of the analysis. Also, in situ Nutrient timulation Bioassays (NSBs) have been conducted for determining nutrient limitation on phytoplankton production in various lentic ecosystems. Most our studies showed that phosphorus is the primary nutrient controlling the phytoplankton growth in Korean reservoirs. Algal response in most treatments added only with nitrogen was less than or same as the control, whereas the growth in treatments enriched with phosphorus increased by as much as 2 to 20 fold. Phosphorus limitation was consistent over the experimental period when the bioassay experiments were conducted, but the magnitude of growth response to phosphorus enrichments varied with seasons. Thus, trophic status seems to be more regulated by phosphorus dynamics rather than nitrogen in Korean lentic systems.
  • Ecological modeling and ecological risk assessments
  • We developed empirical models of chlorophyll-a (CHL)- total phosphorus (TP) in Korean reservoirs. The model shows how the Asian monsoon influences relationships between chlorophyll-a (CHL) and total phosphorus (TP). Also, we tested the effect of nitrogen on the algal growth, but the effect was minor due to high ambient concentrations of nitrogen (nitrate- nitrogen). A case study on Taechung Reservoir, Korea showed that a log-log regression model of CHL vs. TP was found to be a quadratic relation, with CHL approaching an asymptote above 50 ugL-1 TP and large variation occurred during summer monsoon. Our result indicates that the seasonal monsoon can indirectly influence phytoplankton responses to nutrients, and should be taken into consideration in developing predictive eutrophication models in the regions that experience this type of seasonal pattern. Also, we conduct risk assessments using ecological target species (fish) within the laboratory to know whether specific chemicals influence the biota in the waterbodies or not. In the analysis, necropsy-based health assessment index (HAI) is evaluated.
[Man-Ho Oh]
  • Title : Professor
  • Major : Receptor Kinases Signaling in Plants
  • Phone : +82-42-821-5497
  • E-mail : manhooh@cnu.ac.kr
  • Research Interests : Receptor kinases signaling in plants
  • Plants respond to developmental and environmental signals in part through membrane-localized receptor kinases that interact with other proteins to initiate a cascade of biochemical events resulting in altered cellular function. The genome of the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana encodes 223 Leucine-Rich Repeat Receptor-Like Kinases (LRR RLKs) with a structural organization similar to that of animal receptor kinases. Several of these plant LRR RLKs have been characterized in some detail and are known to play critical roles in regulating growth, morphogenesis, disease resistance, and responses to stress signals. Key to understanding LRR RLK action in specific signaling pathways is the identification of both membrane-bound and soluble protein partners.


    However, the functions and interacting protein networks of the vast majority of this large family of signal transduction molecules remain unknown. Besides a broad study of protein interactions, a selected group of LRR RLKs will be functionally characterized at a detailed biochemical level, including those LRR RLKs interacting with other proteins. The large number of Arabidopsis LRR RLKs suggests extensive possibilities for protein-protein interaction and thus, the diversification and amplification of signaling pathways. Using interdisciplinary approaches from plant genetics, biochemistry, mass spectrometry and proteomics, an extensive network of LRR RLK interacting proteins and signal transduction including brassinosteroid hormone and small peptides will be generated.
[Mi Yoon Chung]
  • Title : Assistant Professor
  • Major : Plant Ecolgy
  • Phone : +82-42-821-6556
  • E-mail : mychung@cnu.ac.kr
  • Research Interests:
    My research interests are to infer and better understand ecological processes, and they consist largely of four parts: (1) understanding of the ecological and evolutionary processes of plant populations using neutral molecular markers, (2) conservsation genetics of endangered plant species, (3) distribution of mycorrhizal roots in terrestrial orchids, and (4) plant adaptation to environmental changes.


    The purpose of my research is to contribute to the conservation of biodiversity by providing knowledge about conservation and restoration of plant species through basic ecology and population genetic studies.

    To achieve this goal, the ongoing research in my lab is to infer changes in past population size and estimate historical and contemporary gene flow (seed or pollen) between populations of rare and endangered plant species using allozymes, microsatellites (SSRs), and single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) as molecular markers.

[Tae-Soo Jang]
  • Title : Assistant Professor
  • Major : Plant Systematics
  • Phone : +82-42-821-6555
  • E-mail : jangts@cnu.ac.kr
  • Research Interests
  • Plant systematics; Karyotype and genome evolution; Polyploidy; Accessory genetic material (B-chromosomes and supernumerary segments - origin and evolution); Molecular cytogenetics; Plant breeding systems.
  • Systematics and chromosomal evolution in flowering plants
  • Plants exhibit diverse speciation, and can be characterized by the evolution between closely related species. One of the most important views as adaptive force for plant speciation is hybridization, which can lead to an increase in genetic diversification with potential source in the evolutionary history of new species, and polyploidization, which is accompanied by rapid genetic changes as well as gene expression and phenotypic variation. Although both hybrids and polyploids suffer from numerous chromosomal rearrangements and more subtle changes in sequence composition, they still continue to generate species diversity for contributing to speciation events. The ultimate aims of the ongoing research in the lab are (1) to obtain cytogenetically derived hypotheses on extent, dynamics, and mechanisms involved in chromosomal evolution and diversification in flowering plants; and (2) not only to test a phylogenetic context based on molecular and morphological characters to assess the importance of plant evolution but also to understand the role of chromosomal changes between intraspecific lineages; and (3) to thoroughly investigate the chromosomal features based on molecular cytogenetic approaches.
  • Evolutionary consequence of flowering plant breeding systems
  • Male sterility is a common feature in the evolution of plant breeding systems such as gynodioecy and dioecy, and it has been of great interest to evolutionary biologists. Gynodioecy is a breeding system in which populations contain females and hermaphrodites. Although gynodioecy has evolved independently several times in flowering plants, it is considered to be a rare and unstable outbreeding system. To elucidate the breeding system, floral morphological, micromorphological characters as well as internal structures in floral organs by using scanning electron microscopy (SEM) could be potential values for understanding the evolutionary significance in flowering plants.
[Woongghi Shin ]
  • Title : Professor
  • Major : Protist Evolution and Phylogenetics
  • Phone : +82-42-821-6409
  • E-mail : shinw@cnu.ac.kr
  • Research Interests
  • Ultrastructure
  • Protist is a large and diverse group of eukaryotic organisms,which belong to the kingdom Protista. Some of them are obviously phototrophs,while others are either osmotrophs,mixotrophs or phagotrophs. Aim of my study is to clarify evolutionary trend of selected ultrastructural features which are 1) basal body complex,2) feeding apparatus,and 3) microtubular cytoskeleton.
  • Molecular phylogeny
  • Recent advances in systematics,particularly the use of molecular data analyzed with objective methods,have made it practical to reconstruct the history or evolution of protists. Information on how photosynthetic protists are related to each other can be used to infer how protists evolved. I have sequenced many genes (especially,nuclear- and plastid-encoded),which are given us a lot of information regarding phylogeny of photosynthetic protists. Now my lab is trying to understand phylogenetic relationships among taxa and evolution of protists. Selected Publication
[Youn-il Park]
  • Title : Professor
  • Major : Plant Functional Genomics
  • Phone : +82-42-821-5493
  • E-mail : yipark@cnu.ac.kr
  • Research Interests
  • Photosynthetic organisms optimize their photosynthetic performance in response to ever-changing light environments by virtue of a range of photosensory and signaling systems. Sensing light cues are mediated by photoreceptors that consist of apoproteins and chromophores including tetrapyrroles, flavins or p-coumaric acid, vitamin B12, and pterins. Among these chromophores, bilin species like biliverdin, phycocyanobilin and phytochromobilin derived from the oxidative degradation of heme are ubiquitous in phytochrome superfamily photoreceptors. Till today, cyanobacterial phytochromes characterized in depth are mostly originated from unicellular freshwater Synechocystis sp. PCC 6803 or nitrogen-fixing multicellular filamentous cyanobacteria Nostoc punctiforme ATCC29133 and Anabaena sp. PCC 7120. However, light sensing and signaling machinery are barely known in mat-forming cyanobacteria from extreme environments such as saline lagoons, thermal springs, or soda lakes. Such habitats featuring high content of carbonates and high levels of pH contain unicellular (Rhabdoderma, Euhalothece, and Synechococcus) and multicellular filamentous (Microcoleus, Phormidium, and Mastigocladus) cyanobacteria. Recently, we sequenced a dozen genomes of extremophilic cyanobacteria including Microcoleus, Rhabdoderma, Euhalothece that was diverged between 0.67 ~ 1.5 BYA and systematic approaches are undertaken to explore biochemical and biological functions of mostly bilin based photoreceptors primarily aiming for our understanding.


    Photosynthetic biofuel production is one of the alternative forms of energy supply to fossil fuels since its use is controversially considered as the main reason for high oil prices and global warming. However, natural algal strains should be redesigned to increase their low lipid productivities for the sake of biofuel production. Additionally, cell harvesting and post-harvesting steps should become more cost-effective. Recently, oiling algae concept has been introduced to overcome this limitation. To manipulate carbon partitioning and skip algae harvesting and breakage steps, a spatio-temporal inducible rather than constitutive gene expression system is required. Accordingly, we are working on light-inducible switches, which are potentially useful in genetically manipulating Nannochloropsis sp. for designer oiling algae.
Curriculum
Microbiology & Molecular Biology
Introduction

The educational goal in the Department of Microbiology and Molecular biology at CNU is to meet the strong demands for research scientists and professionals in modern life sciences. The department has nine professors and several adjunct faculty members who are affiliated with research institutes or biotechnology companies. The current enrollment for the undergraduate program is 150 students. The graduate programs currently have 40 students in MS degree program and 30 students in PhD program.

Over the past 10 years, significant progress has been made toward developing excellent education programs and improving research activities and facilities. The curriculum is designed to make students acquainted with the basic disciplines of microbiology and molecular biology. Especially, for undergraduate students, the department offers intensive laboratory courses covering the whole range of microbiology and molecular biology. Research programs focus largely on the basic disciplines of life science at the biochemical, genetic, molecular and cellular level. However, many applied researches are also carried out in cooperation with industrials and governmental agencies. Since the CNU is located in “Taedok Science Town”, the department has developed cooperative research programs with the institutes and biotechnology companies in the Science Town.

Most of undergraduate students and all graduate students in the department are financially supported by scholarships from various funding sources, such as Creative Korea (CK) program, Brain Korea (BK) 21+ program and research grants. This department is one of the top educational and research institutes for life science in Korea.

Career Opportunities

Most of undergraduate students are employed after graduation or go to graduate school, and almost all of graduate students are employed in biotechnology companies or research institutes right after graduation.

Faculty
[Maeng, Pil-Jae]
  • Title : Professor
  • Major : Molecular Cell Biology
  • Phone : +82 42-821-6415
  • E-mail : pjmaeng@cnu.ac.kr
  • Room : Building N11 - 504
  • Research Interests
  • Stress resistance- and metabolic disease-related functions of the enzymes involved in TCA cycle and glutamate metabolism in yeast

    As in multicellular organisms, the unicellular eukaryotic microorganism Saccharomyces cerevisiae is subjected to stress-induced programmed cell death (PCD). We are studying on the mechanism of the stress-induced PCD in the yeast cells lacking the enzymes involved in TCA cycle or glutamate metabolism, e.g., citrate synthase and glutamate dehydrogenase. We also concentrate our efforts on developing the yeast model of metabolic diseases caused by malfunctioning of the TCA cycle or glutamate metabolism.

  • Genetic network of development and secondary metabolism in filamentous fungi

    The filamentous fungus A. nidulans has two distinct types of reproductive event, asexual and sexual cycles, which offer many common developmental themes. To understand the molecular genetic and biochemical mechanism governing the whole process of the life cycle, we have performed global gene expression profiling and cluster analysis of A. nidulans during vegetative growth and sexual/asexual differentiation. On the basis of the transcriptome profiling, we are performing functional characterization of several novel putative transcription factors expected to be involved in sexual/asexual differentiation and secondary metabolite production.

  • Functional characterization of the novel breast cancer biomarker, MCB-MD2

    Breast cancer is currently diagnosed on the basis of several histopathological features including tumor size, grade, and lymph node status. In addition, hormone receptors (ER, PR) and HER2 expression in tumors are used to classify and monitor its severity and progression. Despite these common biomarker analyses and the information they provide regarding the molecular features and stage of breast tumors, there remains an unmet need for novel diagnostic and prognostic biomarkers for breast cancer with improved sensitivity and specificity. We have developed a novel breast cancer biomarker, MCB-MD2, useful for qRT-PCR-based diagnosis. Currently, we are performing characterization of MCB-MD2 as the novel tumor suppressor in breast cancer.

[Min-Soo Kim]
  • Title : Assistant Professor
  • Major : Microbial Ecology
  • Phone : +82-42-821-6413
  • E-mail : minsookim@cnu.ac.kr
  • Room : Building N11 - 603
  • Research Interests
  • Functional study of mental disorder genes

    We are conducting a systematic zebrafish knockout project to validate candidate genes for mental disorders, including autism. Knockout (KO) zebrafish for the Miles-Carpenter syndrome gene (ZC4H2) were created and KO animal exhibited abnormal swimming, defective eye movement and pectoral fin contractures. We observed a striking reduction in GABAergic interneurons. Analysis of cell-type-specific markers showed a specific loss of V2 interneurons in the brain and spinal cord. Loss of function of ZC4H2 thus likely results in altered connectivity of neuronal circuits, infantile spasm and intellectual disability. The second case is related to autism spectrum disorders (ASDs). ASDs comprise a wide range of neurodevelopmental disorders, characterized by deficits in social behavior, along with repetitive behaviors and impaired communication. Though the exact causes for ASD remain poorly understood, genetic mutations resulting in altered gene function have been implicated causally in ASD. Intragenic mutations in DYRK1A, which have been shown previously to be associated with clinical aspects of Down syndrome, have been associated recently with microcephaly and ASD-like symptoms. We provide a case study of an individual with a 21kb microdeletion within the DYRK1A locus, who has both microcephaly and ASD. We show that dyrk1aa KO fish have microcephaly and impaired social interactions through two newly developed behavioral tests: social interaction and shoaling assays. Also, we confirmed that behavior analysis for ASD through our dyrk1aa KO zebrafish is experimentally tractable, and propose these social behavioral assay methods in zebrafish as a tool for the widespread study of ASD candidate genes.

[Kim, Jinmi]
  • Title : Professor
  • Major : Microbial Genetics
  • Phone : +82 42-821-6416
  • E-mail : jmkim@cnu.ac.kr
  • Room : Building N11 – 506
  • Research Interests
  • Translational regulation mediated by mRNA decapping activators and translation initiation factors

    Control of mRNA translation, stability, and subcellular location is a key aspect of gene expression regulation in eukaryotic cells. We are interested in unveiling the regulatory roles of mRNA decapping activators (Dhh1, Edc3, Scd6, Pat1, Lsm1), or translation initiation factors (Caf20, Eap1). Specific mRNAs, including Ste12 transcription factor or Cln1 cell-cycle regulator, which are preferentially regulated at the translation level during yeast mating or filamentous growth pathway, are targets of our investigation.

  • Gene expression regulation mediated by mRNA localization factors Loc1 and Puf6

    Yeast Loc1 and Puf6 are well-known factors for the asymmetric translation of ASH1 mRNA at the bud tip of daughter cells. We observed that Loc1 and Puf6 also regulate the translation of Ste12 transcription factor. Our current interests are to investigate the localization of Ste12 protein and mRNAs during mating processes. Functional association of Loc1 and Puf6 proteins with Dhh1 decapping activator is under investigation.

  • mRNA granules, P-bodies, and apoptotic cell death in pathogenic yeast Candida albicans

    Under various stress conditions, mRNAs assemble into non-translating mRNPs, which can concentrate in cytoplasmic mRNA granules known as processing bodies (P-bodies) or stress granules. mRNAs in these granules can either be degraded or stored for later translation. The virulence conditions responsible for C. albicans pathogenicity are very much relevant to P-body formation. The core components of P-bodies, Dcp2, Dhh1, Kem1/Xrn1, and Edc3, were identified in C. albicans and their localizations with respect to P-bodies were demonstrated. Deletion of P-body scaffolding protein Edc3 attenuated stress-induced responses, including cell death and ROS accumulation. Our current interest is to investigate the Edc3-dependent gene expression regulation during yeast apoptosis and filamentous growth.

[Park, Hee-Moon]
  • Title : Professor
  • Major : Cellular Differentiation
  • Phone : +82 42-821-6417
  • E-mail : hmpark@cnu.ac.kr
  • Room : Building N11 - 508
  • Research Interests
  • Regulatory circuits of the dual-specificity LAMMER kinase for eukaryotic cell differentiation

    We have found that abolition of a dual-specificity LAMMER kinase exerts profound effects on differentiation of fission yeast Schizosaccharomyces pombe including oxidative stress response, cell division cycle, mating, and so on. Our recent study also revealed that the LAMMER kinase modulates various cellular events by regulating gene-expression and activity of key regulatory proteins in eukaryotic microorganisms. Recently, we found that the LAMMER kinase regulates G1- to S-phase cell cycle progression at transcriptional as well as post-translational level in the fission yeast. At present, we are trying to understand the molecular mechanisms for G1- to S-phase progression and DNA-damage response mediated by LAMMER kinase in fission yeast.

  • Functional analysis of developmental genes in Aspergillus species

    With the aids of various screening technologies such as proteome, DEG (differentially expressed gene) and real-time PCR analysis, we have identified developmental stage-specific genes possibly modulated by the regulatory factors, VeA, NsdD, and etc. in the model filamentous fungus Aspergillus nidulans. At present we are attempting several approaches such as forced mass mating and phospho-proteome analyses to identify novel factors for sexual development in opportunistic human pathogen Aspergillus fumigatus. We are performing the gene disruption with CRISPR/Cas9, suppression test, protein-protein interaction, and morphogenetic analyses in order to characterize function of the genes and regulation mode of gene-expressions in Aspergillus spp.

[Ahn, Jeong-Keun]
  • Title : Professor
  • Major : Molecular Virology
  • Phone : +82 42-821-6418
  • E-mail : jkahn@cnu.ac.kr
  • Room : Building N11 - 614
  • Research Interests
  • The functional analysis of Hepatitis B virus X protein

    Human hepatitis B virus (HBV) is a major pathogen for liver diseases including cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma. Among the HBV proteins, X protein plays critical roles in HBV replication and liver oncogenesis. However, the promiscuous functions of HBx are not elucidated yet. We are trying to validate the various regulatory functions of HBx protein in transcriptional transactivation, signal transduction, and carcinogenesis.

  • The regulatory mechanisms of HSV-1 viral proteins

    Herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) is a neurotropic virus which causes a variety of diseases in human. Among immediate early proteins of HSV-1, ICP27 is essential for viral replication and has multiple functions at transcriptional and post-transcriptional levels. We are dissecting the functional mechanism of ICP27 in the regulation of signal transduction, apoptosis, and viral reactivation. In addition, we also carry the functional analysis of ICP22 and glycoproteins of HSV-1.

  • Ribozyme and RNA interference

    Ribozymes are catalytic RNA molecules which bind target RNA sequences and cleave them in a sequence specific manner. We are developing the highly efficient ribozymes which are suppressing the specific viral gene expressions.

[Kim, Jeong-Yoon]
  • Title : Professor
  • Major : Cellular & Molecular Biotechnology
  • Phone : +82 42-821-6419
  • E-mail : jykim@cnu.ac.kr
  • Room : Building N11 – 606
  • Research Interests
  • Cell Polarity

    Prof. Kim is interested in understanding the molecular mechanisms of cell polarity, especially the signaling pathways for the morphogenetic change during cellular differentiation and development.

    • Hippocampal neurons:

      He studies the molecular functions of GEFs or GAPs for Rho GTPases and their regulatory or effector proteins affecting the formation of dendrites or spines in hippocampal neurons.

    • Yeast:

      He also investigates the roles of the NDR kinase (Cbk1) and its downstream effectors in morphogenesis and interaction of Candida albicans with intestinal epithelial cells.

  • Cellular Aging

    Prof. Kim’s research includes the study on the roles of Sirtuin proteins, which belong to a class III histone deacetylase, in cellular aging process.

    • Neuronal stem cells:

      He is keen on investigating the mechanisms by which sirtuins regulate aging of neuronal stem cells.

    • Yeast:

      He has been studying how Sir2 regulates yeast aging process in response to environmental and metabolic stresses and how Sir2 interacts with key kinases, such as TOR and PKA, in nutrient signaling pathways.

[Kim, Seung-Bum]
  • Title : Professor
  • Major : Microbial Phylogenetics & Environmental Genomics
  • Phone : +82 42-821-6412
  • E-mail : sbk01@cnu.ac.kr
  • Room : Building N11 – 608
  • Research Interests

    My research interests are focused on the ‘Diversity and Functions of Prokaryotes in Environment’, which include the following areas.

  • Actinobacteria:

    Taxonomy, diversity, evolution and bioactive compounds of filamentous actinobacteria, in particular Streptomyces family

  • Genomics and bioinformatics:

    Genome analysis and comparative genomics of prokaryotes, with particular emphasis on filamentous actinobacteria, producers of bioactive compounds and also on acidophilic species

  • Molecular systematics and evolution:

    Taxonomic characterization of prokaryotes in natural environment, and description of novel taxa using polyphasic and multigene approaches.

  • Environmental microbiome:

    Analysis of prokaryotic diversity using next-generation sequencing (NGS) technology, identification of 'core microbiome', and elucidation of its functions based on genomic and transcriptomic approaches

[Lee, Soojin]
  • Title : Professor
  • Major : Molecular Microbiology & Functional Genomics
  • Phone : +82 42-821-6414
  • E-mail : leesoojin@cnu.ac.kr
  • Room : Building N11 – 610
  • Research Interests

    My research interests are focused on the ‘Diversity and Functions of Prokaryotes in Environment’, which include the following areas.

  • New cancer drug targets through extensive DNA microassay analysis

    To identify new cancer drug targets, we examined global changes in gene expression between tumor biopsies and normal tissues. Several unknown genes were identified as genes exhibiting significant differential expression in multiple human cancer tissues. Among those, we identified a gene, Cancer- upregulated gene 2 (CUG2), which is significantly up-regulated in several human tissues such as ovary and liver. Recent our studies also revealed that CUG2 play multiple roles by interacting with various key proteins including CENP-T, an important regulator in the interaction between kinetochore and mitotic spindle during mitosis, and CSN5, a key regulator in the proteasome-mediated protein degradation. CUG2 may play important regulatory roles in cell division and mitosis by modulating the cellular activities of these interacting proteins. Our goal is to investigate the cellular function of the newly-identified cancer-related genes in tumor biogenesis and to develop potentially promising new targets for cancer therapy.

  • Target validation for new anti-obesity drug development

    We newly identified a gene, neuronal growth regulator 1 (NEGR1), which displayed commonly down-regulated expression in multiple tumor biopsies. This protein is identified as GPI-anchored protein and localized in lipid raft subcompartment of the cell membrane. Recent reports revealed that the genetic variation of human NEGR1 is highly associated with the human overweight. By using NEGR1 knockout mice, we currently investigate the cellular function of human NEGR1 to reveal the molecular basis of the link between NEGR1 and human obesity and to validate NEGR1 as a future anti-obesity drug target.

[Rho, Jaerang]
  • Title : Professor
  • Major : Immunology & Medical Microbiology
  • Phone : +82 42-821-6420
  • E-mail : jrrho@cnu.ac.kr
  • Room : Building N11 – 612
  • Research Interests

    The term "Osteoimmunology" has been coined to encourage an interdisciplinary approach to understanding the cross-talk between bone and the immune system. Despite extensive cross-talk between bone metabolism and the immune system, the mechanisms by which one regulates the other, and the biological implications of such interactions, are poorly understood. It has recently come to be appreciated that the skeletal and immune systems regulate each other to a much greater degree than previously believed. In particular, various pathological conditions which lead to excessive bone loss, such as rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, periodontal diseases, and some tumor-associated bone abnormalities have been shown to be influenced by cellular components (e.g., T lymphocytes) as well as by soluble factors produced by infiltrating lymphocytes (e.g., interferon produced by infiltrating lymphocytes).


    Future preventative treatments for these bone-related diseases that impact the quality of life will require a high degree of specificity and selectivity. In this regard, my research is focused on the molecular analysis of the osteoimmune system. The better understanding of how the osteoimmune system operates in normal and pathological situations is likely to lay the groundwork for future therapies for the variety of diseases that affect both bone and the immune system.

  • Current research projects:
  • (1) Study how osteoclast differentiation or function is regulated
  • (2) Study how TRAF6 modulates RANK- or TLR- mediated signaling in bone or immune system
  • (3) Study how TRAF2 controls TNF-induced inflammation
  • (4) Study how MDSC regulates autoimmune inflammatory disease or cancer development
Convergent Bioscience and Informatics
Introduction

The Department of Convergent Bioscience and Informatics majors in cutting-edge fields encompassing bio-health, synthetic biology, and various life science fields that utilize bio-based big data. Its goal is to nurture talents who will lead the development of the accelerating bio-industry centering on progressive life science and technology. It is a forward-looking department with courses.

In order to contribute to the welfare of mankind, such as disease treatment, food problems, and environmental problems, which require a convergent approach to technologies in the life science field, we operate a multidisciplinary curriculum to foster integrated human resources.

Faculty
[Hankuil Yi]
  • Title : Associate professor
  • Major : Plant molecular genetics & biochemistry
  • Phone : +82-42-821-6410
  • E-mail : hankuil.yi@cnu.ac.kr
  • Structure/function relationship and evolution mechanism of SNC1 and RPP4 disease resistance (R) protein

    Proteins in plants are used to detect the presence of pathogens and initiate the defense signaling againstinvading pathogens. Because of the deleterious effects in growth and development, the expression levels of Rproteins are tightly controlled in various ways but affected by surrounding environmental conditions. Using SNC1 andRPP4, which encode R proteins with TIR (Toll/Interleukin 1 receptor) domain, we are investigating (1) structuraldeterminants for the functions of these R genes in different growth conditions and (2) the mechanism responsible for SNC1 hypermutation in the bal mutant background after mutagen treatment.

  • Substrate-specificity and biochemical properties of plant enzymes

    Rapid increase in numbers of plant species with whole genome sequences provides challenges in characterizing thespecificity of evolutionarily related biochemical enzymes. Especially it is true for plants because genome-wideduplication and allopolyploidy leading to functional divergence of related genes, and species-specific biochemicalpathways are widespread in plants.With comparative genomics approach based on the functional information obtained from the model plant Arabidopsisthaliana and other plant species, we are characterizing biochemical specificities of enzymes from Brassicaceaeplants involved in specific steps in sulfur and lipid metabolism.

[Hyunsoo Kim]
  • Title : Assistant Professor
  • Major : Mass Spectrometry, Proteomics, Bioinformatics/Biostatistics
  • Phone : 042-821-7262
  • E-mail : kimlab@cnu.ac.kr
  • Research Interests

    We focused on the development and application of mass spectrometry-based proteomics techniques to a wide range of biological questions. Our research encompasses the area of bioinformatics and software development, methods development and clinical applications. The integration of all the elements in the proteomics pipeline within one lab facilitates advances in all of them.

    • (1) Proteomic Approaches for Biomarker Discovery: Discovering clinical biomarkers and developing disease diagnosis models using artificial intelligence on liquid chromatography and mass spectrometry-based proteome big data.
    • (2) Diagnostic LC-MS Assay in Clinical Laboratory: Improving and verifying analytical performance based on LC-MS assays and developing internationally standardized in vitro and companion diagnostic assays with new health technology.
    • (3) Software Solution for Big Data Analytics: Developing a tool that can help the clinician’s decision-making process in hospitals using multi-omics big data and artificial intelligence algorithms.