Development of Nanoscience
Humankind has advanced at a remarkable rate thanks to the development of scientific technology, which has enabled human beings to understand the fundamental principles of natural phenomena, and thus to control nature in various ways. Since the quantum revolution of the 1920s, the scope of such understanding has expanded to the level of atoms and elementary particles. By manipulating compositions and structures at atomic and subatomic levels, researchers are now able to make advances in nanoscience, as well as in the design and manufacture of new substances, materials, and devices whose performance surpasses the limits of nature.
Advancement of Biomedical Science
If the 20th century brought material changes to human life through the development of science and technology, the 21st century is expected to bring comparable innovations in medical technology, which has a direct correlation with the quality of human life, including our level of contentment. Starting with Watson and Crick’s discovery of DNA structure in 1953, the scope of medical research on the origins of life and diseases was soon extended to atomic and subatomic levels as well. Today, it is becoming a universal practice to approach biomedical phenomena occurring at the level of organisms and cells via an understanding of their fundamental principles at atomic and molecular levels.
Need for Establishing a Goal-Oriented Nano Research & Education System through the Convergence of Physics, Chemistry, and Life Science
Rooted in such basic sciences as physics, chemistry, and biology, nanoscience and technology is a field that offers tremendous utility as a platform technology. Today, it is being actively applied not only to such high-tech fields as computers, semiconductors, information technology, and the automotive and aerospace industries, but also to various high value-added industries including medicine, bioengineering, energy, environment, agriculture, fiber and textiles, and cosmetics. Indeed, it is a core technology so essential to the advancement of national industries that it could be said that without nanoscience and technology a country’s future would be in question.
In this context, the key aspect that is absolutely necessary for the field of biomedicine to evolve into a next-generation growth engine is the development of nano-bio convergence technologies that take the field beyond the basic understanding of biomedical phenomena to their measurement and manipulation on atomic and molecular levels, and further to the design and creation of new nano-bio drugs with specific, predetermined efficacies.
At the same time, for the results of such research to reap tangible rewards, the development of various corollary technologies capable of gauging the effectiveness of these new nano-bio drugs and delivering them to their precise destinations is also needed. For this reason, the KAIST Graduate School of Nanoscience and Technology places great emphasis on interdisciplinary convergence. Comprising students and faculty members with diverse majors and specializations, the graduate school provides an education and research environment that promotes interdisciplinary exchange among different fields.
During the first semester of their M.A. year, students also have the opportunity to gain knowledge across all areas of the nano-bio field by interacting with faculty in a variety of seminars and lab classes. In addition, each student must complete prerequisites in physics, chemistry, and biology, with the aim of cultivating flexibility and adaptability across the entire nano-bio field.
Cultivation of Creative Scientific Minds
In the 21-century post-genomic age, the kind of talent most required by the field of bioscience and technology are groundbreaking researchers with outstanding creativity. The Graduate School of Nanoscience and Technology is dedicated to producing top-class academic minds capable of combining the fields of life science, nanoscience, and medicine. Our students are trained to be convergence-oriented scientists who can utilize diverse types of information and technology, as well as experimental methods employed in various existing disciplines. They are also trained to exercise the highest degree of creativity upon a solid background of specialized knowledge in medicine and nanoscience, which constitute the foundations of biotechnology as a futuristic growth engine.
Intensive Focus on Key Research Areas
To secure global competitiveness, the Graduate School of Nanoscience and Technology has designated several select areas for intensive research, with a view to becoming the world’s top university in the relevant fields within the coming half decade.
In the nano field, the graduate school plans to develop world-class devices and systems in the areas of biosensors, bio imaging, and more.
In the bio field, the graduate school will focus on the following six areas:
1) Systematic understanding of the mechanisms of major human diseases
2) Research on the function of disease genes at cellular and molecular levels
3) Functional analysis of the domains of key signal transduction proteins
4) Discovery of new bio-drug candidates using designs based on protein structural analysis
5) Development of intelligent biomaterials for cell/gene/drug delivery
6) Development of high production technologies for new bio-drug proteins
Future Leaders of Korean Science Able to Compete with the Graduates of the World’s Top Universities
The Graduate School of Nanoscience and Technology provides students with a solid grounding across the entire field of nano-bio convergence technology, which receives particular emphasis in our curriculum. We also provide a rich practical education through nano fabs and other institutions within and outside KAIST. The result is the production of elite minds who will lead the future of Korean science, and who are capable of competing with the graduates of the world’s finest institutions of higher education.
Yong-Hyun Kim/ Head, Graduate School of Nanoscience and Technology
Office of the Graduate School of Nanoscience and Technology