Faculty and research

and research
Research fields
  • Structural Biolog

  • Immunology

  • Molecular Medicine

  • Neuroscience

  • Plant Sciences

We are interested in the structure and function of proteins involved in all areas of biological sciences. Our research uses state-of-the-art technology in X-ray crystallography, electron microscopy and computational methods for understanding drug-targeted proteins. With the Cryo-EM facility and the 3rd/4th-generation synchrotron at PAL, we will provide the basic knowledge/information for developing new drugs with huge potential.

1. Bioinformatics

We provide the computing tools and information to solve problems and create hypotheses in all areas of biological sciences.

2. Genomic Stability and Cancer

We focus on the DNA damage and repair that play a critical role in a genomic stability. Therefore, we provide a mechanism for cancer prevention or therapeutic attack.

3. Structure-based drug development

We focus on the search, design, and optimization of an antibody and a small molecule that increase specific affinity for target protein.

4. Membrane Protein Science

We provide molecular mechanism of membrane proteins that mediated transport of ion and molecules across lipid bilayer or detect molecules outside the cell and activate internal signal transduction pathway.

Immunology is an academic field that reveals the etiology of various immune diseases such as infections, tumors, autoimmune disorders, and allergies and seeks treatments based on basic research that identifies the development and function of various immune cells present in vivo. For these studies, we are equipped with the world's best germ-free and antigen-free mouse facilities and a state-of-the-art level of flow cytometry and imaging equipment. We are developing bacteria-derived polysaccharides, monoclonal antibodies, aptamers and extracellular vesicles for the treatment and control of various immune diseases.

The main research areas in this field are as follows.
1. Pathogen & Biodefense

We investigate the proliferation processes of pathogenic viruses, develop diagnostic and therapeutic tools for them, and study the mechanisms of anti-viral innate and adaptive immunity of host cells.

2. Microbiome

We investigate the interactions of various microorganisms present in the gut and identify their effects on the host immune system to discover microorganisms capable of treating cancer, autoimmunity and allergic diseases

3. Cancer Immunology

We investigate the mechanism of anti-cancer immunotherapeutic agents that have recently shown breakthrough cancer treatment outcomes, and conduct basic and clinical studies to discover new targets and apply them to patient treatment.

We pursue the fundamental understandings of the cell using cutting edge approach in the field of cell biology, biochemistry, and bioinformatics. Our ultimate goal is to provide new insights into diagnosis and treatment by elucidating molecular mechanisms of how many cellular events are regulated in various physiological and pathological conditions. We particularly focus on (i) providing a new approach for cancer diagnosis through stem-cell based disease modeling and epigenetics, (ii) identifying drug targeting molecules by elucidating the mechanistic details of disease-specific prosteostasis and organelle dynamics.

1. Stem Cell and Cancer Biology

Based on in-depth study of stem cell biology, the principles of cell fate determination and organismal development will be explored, which lay out a framework for therapeutics development along with the cutting-edge organoid-based disease modeling.

2. Proteostasis and Organelle Dynamics

Research on protein and organelle homeostasis advances our knowledge regarding the importance of cellular dynamics in a variety of diseases and thereby provide new drug targeting molecules.

3. Epigenetics and Systems Biology

Epigenetics involving remodeling of chromatin and DNA modifications combined with systems biology that integrates multiple disciplines lay the foundations for quantitative analysis of genomic data and systems-level dynamics modeling towards understanding of complexity in living organisms.

The major function of our brain is to controls most of our behaviors and to processes various information coming from the sensory organs. We study the function of our brain at the molecular, cellular and neural circuitry level to better understand how it works. Our research focuses are brain circuitry of memory function, synaptic plasticity, neurogenetics in the basic research field. And in the application field, development of models and treatment strategies of neuropsychiatric disorders and brain imaging. The major research areas of Neuroscience unit are as follows.

1. Neural Circuits and Behavior

To investigate the molecular, cellular mechanisms and neural circuitry of memory involved in fear and addiction by behavioral studies of animal models and electrophysiological techniques in neurons.

2. Neurodevelopmental and Psychiatric Disorders

To investigate the molecular mechanisms of neurological and psychiatric disorders caused by functional abnormalities in the brain development using stem cell and animal disease models.

3. Neurogenetics and Neurogenomics

To investigate the molecular mechanisms of structural and functional changes in individual synapses which ultimately lead to activity-dependent gene expression and cell-wide adaptation mechanism that permit synaptic and behavioral plasticity to be long-lasting.

We aim to make breakthrough discoveries in life sciences using model and cultivated plant systems, which helps produce excellent plant varieties for food security and industrialization. In basic sciences our researches focus on elucidating the molecular mechanisms of plant development, differentiation, signaling networks, protein localization, protein transport, membrane transporters, plant immunity, plant genetic diversity and recombination. In applied sciences, we seek to develop biotechnologies for producing biomass, biofuel, biomaterials, pathogen-resistant plant, phytoremediation and plant breeding.

1. Biomass

we conduct cutting-edge scientific research that leads to breakthroughs in our understanding of growth, development, differentiation and genetic diversity in model and cultivated plant systems. In particular, our researches focus on control of plant vascular development, membrane transporters and genomic recombination to maximize biomass and contribute to food security and conservation.

2. Plant Immunity:

we aim to understand the mechanism of plant immune system against pathogens based on microbiology, molecular biology, genetics and bioinformatics. We use model, natural and cultivated plants for our researches. We are developing the invaluable biotechnologies that prevent reduction in plant production due to pathogen infections.

3. Green Biotechnology

we are developing plants as a system for production of green biomaterials in particular recombinant proteins. Using the plant-produced proteins, we aim to develop highly valuable protein-based products such as pharmaceuticals, green biosimilar and green vaccines, and also environmentally sound and highly efficient enzyme-based production processes.