What does the Department of Life Sciences do?

Life science is an area of composite science that studies life-related phenomena and functions of organisms to improve medicine, environment preservation and other areas of human welfare. Life science interprets the true relationship between humans and nature by having a better understanding of the nature of human.

First emerged in the 1930s in the U.S. and other advanced countries, life science began to gain wide application from the 1960s.
Molecular Biology provides explanations to various biological phenomena ─ such as cell proliferation, movement, heredity, evolution, adjustment ─ by using structures, properties and interactions of biomacromolecules involved in the phenomena. Thanks to impressive progresses made in the field, we now can express some marvelous life phenomena in scientific terms. All these form building blocks of life science. However, based on the reflection that science technology has been heavily tilted toward materialism, thereby bringing about unexpected side-effects such as environmental problems and incurable diseases, life science made itself a new field of scientific study that goes beyond the boundary of general natural science to even consider ethical and moral values of our time, with human life in its center.

Our seven global research goals include: ① explaining various aspects of life phenomena and living organisms ② explaining the natural environment ③ explaining mental activities ④ improving health and medicine ⑤ securing food resource ⑥ finding industrial applications of organisms and their functions ⑦ addressing population issues. Among them, priorities will be given to research studies on controlling aging, medicine technologies such as artificial organs, functional simulation of biomaterials and its application, explaining thinking processes, information processing and medicinal application, and discovering bioactive materials and their applications.

This explains why life science is hailed as the field of study in the 21st century, inviting competent talent with a huge potential of unveiling the marvels of life. As genome research, cloning techniques and treatment for incurable diseases are gaining more and more attention, life science demands best scientists from around the world who can keep up with higher values and diversified demands in the field in this highly globalized information era. At the same time, they are expected to bring creative and integrated ideas to create new knowledge-based values in the field going forward.

Background of foundation

Back in Mar. 1989, two years after the foundation of POSTECH, the Department of Life Sciences became the first department under the given name in Korea, with an ambitious goal of obtaining global recognition with its research performance. Life Science came in the eye of a typhoon with rapid development of natural science. The Department of Life Sciences pursues comprehensive academic education combining natural and applied sciences and converging Physics, Chemistry and other engineering fields. To that end, we have been keeping our faculty with experts from many different backgrounds. In addition, we are committed to strengthen experiment-oriented curriculum on a small number of selected students and enhance the quality of graduate courses focused on Ph.D. programs. The Department of Life Sciences carries out high-impact research based on focused financial support from the university as well as research funds granted to professors by the government and companies.

Research Center and Facilities

Along with POSTECH Biotech Center, a joint research organization with POSCO founded in Jul. 2003 based on 34 billion KRW investment, there are many collaborations that we are actively involved, such as Basic Research Lab Program (BRL),
Global Research Lab Program (GRL) supported by Ministry of Education, Science and Technology and projects commissioned by Ministry of Health and Welfare. In addition, professor Hong-gil Nam was selected a National Honor Scientist and earned an annual research grant of 1.7billion KRW for 10 years. Our facilities and infrastructure, ranging from library, greenhouse, behavior rooms, radioactive isotope labs, and common instrument rooms, help carry out state-of-the-art experiments and comprehensive research.

Future of Life Sciences and career prospect

Going forward, technology-and-information¬¬–intensive industries will drive national competitiveness. Biotech, new medicine, new agricultural pesticides, environmental preservation based on life science are some of examples. In the information front, biotechnology venture companies are being fostered along with projects such as Biotech 2000. At the same time, many top Korean companies are making targeted investments in life science as their key driver in the 21st century. Thus, we expect all our students to become ambitious leading experts in their own fields of life science in universities, companies and research centers home and abroad and contribute to creating new high added value industries.