Areas of Research

Faculty and Areas of Research

21 faculty members and more than 130 researchers (including 34 PhD researchers) in our department are carrying out excellent quality research that has huge impacts on identifying unknown biological phenomena in their own field. Postgraduates get to choose their research area and academic advisor early on according to their interest and are encouraged to interact with research teams overseas to do joint projects and form deeper disciplinary insights as well as to learn cutting-edge techniques. Considering the latest trends in life science and its distinctiveness as a field of study, we place our focus on four major research areas.
Research Areas of Life Sciences

  • Structural and Moecular Biology

  • Molecular Medicine

  • Cellular and Developmental Biology

  • Plant Science
Development of novel bio-molecules and the discovery of disease makers and drug target genes through structural biology, biochemistry, and bioinformatics. X-ray crystallography and molecular biology approaches to elucidate structural interactome including protein-protein interactions and protein-ligand binding mechanisms. Bioinformatics and systems biology approaches to discover protein localization, protein interaction and targeting mechanisms of cell signaling molecules. Systemic and quantitative analysis of molecular evolution and biological network to study cancer drug sensitivity and resistance mechanism to improve current drug developmental processes.
New trends in life sciences are to improve the quality of life with conquering diseases based on basic science and interdisciplinary research. The Molecular Medicine group of Department of Life Sciences, POSTECH leads various biological fields in the world from identification of diseases, immunity, cell signaling, and gene transcription/translation mechanism at cellular and molecular levels to development of diagnosis and therapeutics. Our group is focusing on development of novel regulatory molecules and understanding of their function, development of vaccine and therapeutic agents for viral infection and inflammation by systematic integration of gene transcription and translation, understanding of defense mechanism and its principle. And we eventually try to apply these scientific achievements to clinical treatments for allergic disease, autoimmune disease, transplantation, and etc.
Establishment of a complex organism from a single cell followed by growth and ageing is a major component in the life events and understanding of underlying mechanism touches the fundamentals of biology. In the field of cell and developmental biology, we investigate the various biological phenomena at multiple levels from cell to organism using cutting-edge experimental techniques encompassing molecular, biochemical, genetic, and neurobiological approaches. Based on the outcome, we attempt to provide useful information to elucidate the pathophysiological mechanisms underlying the diseases caused by malfunction of the normal biological processes and to ultimately contribute to the advance of therapeutic approaches.
① We investigate complex and elaborate regulatory processes underlying the development of an organism from a single cell including cellular differentiation, morphogenesis, and organogenesis, which will lead us to the advanced therapeutics as well as to biological understanding various diseases.
② We attempt to genetically analyze major players associated with ageing, thereby understand the biological program controlling organismal ageing at the molecular level. From this, we pursue novel mechanistic insights into the pathogenesis of various age related disorders.
③ We investigate the role of the intracellular communication molecules, including soluble factor and nanosome, and membrane proteins in the signal transduction among cells, which will lead us to the mechanisms underlying tumor growth, metastasis, and immune response and to the useful information for the development of novel diagnostics and therapeutics.
④ We investigate the information transmission process in neural circuits from the various angles to understand higher brain functions, to grasp pathological mechanisms underlying various neuropsychiatric disorders at the molecular level, and ultimately to establish the system to identify novel therapeutics.
The Plant Sciences Group is actively pursuing to understand fundamental biological processes involved in plant development and growth from the stage of germination to that of senescence in model organisms. We also aim to translate the basic and fundamental principles of plant systems into plant biotechnology for rebuilding crop traits and resolving environmental issues. The major research topics are as follows.
① Using Arabidopsis, we are investigating the mechanisms of how eukaryotic cells produce their cellular proteins, in particular organellar proteins, and of how these cellular proteins are dynamically and spatially regulated at the molecular, biochemical, cellular, genetic levels in order to elucidate the functions and operating principles of various organelles, and ultimately to understand the operating principles of eukaryotic cells. In addition, we would like to develop cellular tools and methods to reprogram plant cells to produce a large amount of valuable proteins and secondary metabolites. With an aim to contribute to the production of Biofuel, we are also investigating basic mechanisms of lipid production in plants and microalgae. We identified several genes that can increase lipid content of seed oil, and continue our search of genes that confer heavy metal tolerance and oil accumulation in plant and microalgae. In addition, we are developing plants for phytoremediation, which can clean up contaminated sites in an environmentally-friendly and economic manner. As the form and function of plants is mainly determined by efficient communication among cells, tissues and organs, and cross-talks with environmental stimuli, we aim to understand how plants integrate environmental cues into intrinsic developmental programs such as phytohormone signaling networks. We are also investigating epigenetic regulations of the induced resistance against various pathogens in genome level, prompting to understand symbiotic interactions between plants and bacteria, and revealing how plants control cambial activities, vasculature development, and biomass production. To this end, we are taking ‘systems biology’ approaches with interdisciplinary researches, which provides a comprehensive research tool to understand these complex interactions viewed as the keys to understanding life.