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  • Research of  promotion rates among gender with 515 ministers appointed since the 1988 democratization in Korea

    Graduate School of Governance Prof. LEE, DONG SEONG

    Research of promotion rates among gender with 515 ministers appointed since the 1988 democratization in Korea

    Professor Dong Seong (Don) Lee’s (Graduate School of Governance / Department of Public Administration)'s research introduced in the Washington Post Professor Lee has published a co-authored article in COMPARATIVE POLITICAL STUDIES (ranked top 8% among SSCI journals), titled “Breaking the Cabinet’s Glass Ceiling: The Gendered Effect of Political Experience in Presidential Democracies. The research examines whether women face discrimination in their political careers after their initial cabinet appointment. With new data on the careers of all 1,374 ministers who have held office in the major presidential democracies in Asia, including the 515 ministers who have served in Korea since the 1988 democratization, he tests for gendered patterns in “cabinet promotions”—instances where a president approves the transfer of a minister from their initial appointment to a higher-prestige executive post, one with access to greater power and financial resources. Overall, the results show that male and female cabinet ministers experience surprisingly similar promotion rates. At first glance, this may indicate that most gender discrimination occurs at the appointment stage and that afterward, there is more gender parity. However, while the overall promotion rates may be similar across genders, there are significant differential effects of political experience on the likelihood of men and women receiving a promotion. For female ministers, having a political background increases the chance of promotion by 17 percentage points more than it does for male ministers. The political experience thus matters much more for women’s upward mobility in cabinets than men. This research was introduced in the Washington Post (Post) as an article titled “South Korea’s new leader says there’s no gender inequality problem,” which links to the Post’s recent interview with South Korea’s president-elect, Yoon Suk-yeol. According to the article posted in the Post, in contrast to Yoon’s assertion that systemic gender inequality is “a thing of the past” in his country, significant gender discrimination exists in presidential cabinets in South Korea, as shown by Professor Lee’s research findings. The Post’s article concludes that the South Korean cabinets may become more balanced over time as more women gain cabinet positions. But that will be only feasible when presidents place more excellent value on having a gender balance in their cabinet and empowering gateway ministries, such as a women’s affairs ministry, to help more women initiate and build their cabinet careers.

  • Synthesis of liquid fuel and value-added chemicals directly from carbon dioxide, the main culprit of greenhouse gas

    Mechanical Engineering Prof. KIM, JAEHOON ·Dr. Muhammad Kashif Khan, Dr. Malayil Gopalan Sibi, Dr. Deepak Verma, Researcher Heun Tae Cho, Researcher Won Joong Yoon

    Synthesis of liquid fuel and value-added chemicals directly from carbon dioxide, the main culprit of greenhouse gas

    Due to the industrial revolution using coal in the mid-18th century and the discovery of crude oil in the 19th century, humankind has made rapid progress by developing technologies to mass-produce cheap fuels and chemicals. Korea also ranks 5th in the world for its heavy chemical industry development strategy in the 1970s and has the 8th largest oil refining industry in the world.In the 20th century, rapid economic development was achieve globally through the use of fossil fuels such as crude oil and coal, but as a reward, the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere increased day by day and reached 420 ppm. It has reached a stage that threatens the survival of humankind, such as global warming, ecosystem destruction, sea-level rise and seawater acidification. ProfessorJae-Hoon Kim's research team (Department of Mechanical Engineering) at Sungkyunkwan University has developed a technology that can selectively produce fuels and value-added chemicals by reacting carbon dioxide emitted from industry with renewable hydrogen. The research is expected to contribute to mitigating climate change. The research team developed a technology for synthesizing C5+ long-chain hydrocarbons that can be used as fuel for gasoline and diesel with high selectivity of 77.0% from CO2 using an iron-based catalyst (Na-FeAlOx) with an alumina promoter. The results were published in ACS Catalysis at 2020 [ACS Catalysis, 2020, 10, 10325−10338]. Through this study, the research team identified the principle of the synthesis mechanism of alpha-olefin, a precursor of aromatic compounds, in iron-based catalysts. [Reaction mechanism of CO2 in the Na-FeAlOx catalyst] The research team confirmed that it was possible to produce aromatic compounds from carbon dioxide with a high CO2 conversion rate of 45% and a high aromatic selectivity of 39% by using a composite catalyst combining iron-based catalyst and zeolite. The results were published in Applied Catalysis B:Environmental at 2022 [Applied Catalysis B: Environmental, 2022, 301, 120813]. In particular, the selectivity of BTX among aromatic compounds was high at 59% by controlling the acid site of zeolite. The highly value-added aromatic compound refers to benzene, toluene, xylene, etc. These essential chemical materials rank first in total petro chemical production. [Na-FeAlOx/zeolite Synthesis of aromatic compounds directly from CO2 in complex catalysts] In addition, the research team developed the world's first process that can operate for over 1425 hours with a high yield of about 20% of C5+ long-chain hydrocarbons from CO2 using a cobalt-based catalyst. The results were published in Applied Catalysis B: Environmental at 2022 [AppliedCatalysis B: Environmental, 2022, 305, 121041]. Furthermore, the cobalt-based catalyst newly developed by the research team laid the foundation for the production of promising liquid fuels and lube base oils because the catalysts exhibit high C5+ and C21+ selectivity in the conversion of CO2. In addition, the research team designed a nickel-zinc alloy catalyst capable of synthesizing high value-added chemical materials such as acetic acid and propionic acid by direct hydrogenation of CO2, and published the results in ACS Catalysis at 2021 [ACS Catalysis, 2021, 11,8382–8398]. [Mechanism of direct long-chain hydrocarbon synthesis from CO2 using Na-CoMnOxcatalyst] Currently,Professor Jae-Hoon Kim's research team is researching the possibility ofcommercialization in collaboration with a domestic oil refinery. It intends tocontribute to reducing national greenhouse gases in the future.

  • Prof. Kang Dae Joon (Physics)enhancing output power density of polydimethylsiloxane flexible triboelectric nanogenerator

    Physics Prof. KANG, DAE-JOON ·Prof. Dong-Hwan Kim · Dr. Yongteng Qian

    Prof. Kang Dae Joon (Physics)enhancing output power density of polydimethylsiloxane flexible triboelectric nanogenerator

    In collaboration with Professor Dong-Hwan Kim (School of Chemical Engineering), Professor Dae Joon Kang (Department of Physics)'s team has reported a novel approach to increase polydimethylsiloxane-based output power density flexible triboelectric nanogenerators using ultra-thin nickel telluride nanosheets as a co-triboelectric layer. Flexible triboelectric nanogenerators (FTENGs) can harness various mechanical energies such as wind, water flow, and human motion for energy and sensing purposes; therefore, it was in the spotlight. In general, a critical factor that determines the electrical output behavior of FTENGs is the proper selection of active triboelectric materials. Among the many suitable triboelectric materials, polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) is considered an excellent material for FTENGs due to its good mechanical strength, high flexibility, and excellent electron negativity. However, the output power density of PDMS-based FTENGs remains unsatisfactory. Inorganic materials such as metal sulfides, semiconductingmetal oxides, metal-organic frameworks, and MXenes could be explored as activeco-triboelectric materials in combination with PDMS due to their high chemicalstability, excellent mechanical strength, and high electrical conductivity.Among the many novel inorganic materials, nickel telluride (NiTe2) is considered a promising co-triboelectric material with PDMS due to its goodconductivity, high chemical stability, good mechanical strength, and facilesynthesis. Moreover, highly conductive NiTe2 can effectively lower the internalresistance of PDMS, further improving the output performance of PDMS-basedFTENGs. In addition, the nano-belt (NB) can be considered a promising platformfor designing high-performance energy collection devices due to its uniquemorphological advantages of higher aspect ratio, larger surface area, moreenergy collection sites, and faster charge transfer rate compared to many otherform factors. Therefore, the team used NiTe2 NBs as a co-triboelectric material with PDMS to further improve the output performance of PDMS-based FTENGs. The team systematically investigated their triboelectric performance in terms of the weight ratio of NiTe2 NB to PDMS, the device's size, the thickness of PDMS, and the temperature dependence of their output power. As a result, the optimized PDMS/5% NiTe2 NB FTENGs produced a remarkable output power density of 1.89 mW cm-2 and excellent flexibility. Moreover, these FTENGs with a size of 1 cm2 and 9 cm2 could instantly power 70 and 150 LEDs, respectively, under the periodic vertical force of a human palm tapping. Our results show that NiTe2 NB is an excellent co-triboelectric material with PDMS to achieve high-performance PDMS-based FTENGs. This research was supported by the BK21 Four Program and published in Nano Energy (IF = 17,881), one of the leading journals on nanomaterials and nanodevices for energy harvesting and conversion. Paper title: Enhancing the output power density of polydimethylsiloxane-based flexible triboelectric nanogenerators with ultrathin nickel telluride nanobelts as a co-triboelectric layer

  • “In vitro functional protein expression using messenger RNA hydrogel" Professor Soong Ho Um(Chemical Engineering)

    Chemical Engineering Prof. UM, SOONG HO ·So Yeon Ahn, Jeonghun Kim

    “In vitro functional protein expression using messenger RNA hydrogel" Professor Soong Ho Um(Chemical Engineering)

    On April 5, a research paper titled "Protein-encoding free-standing RNA hydrogel for sub-compartmentalized translation," written by Professor Soong Ho Um in the school of Chemical Engineering, was published online in the Advanced Materials (IF =30.849) as a cover paper in recognition of its excellence. The research study was conducted in collaboration with Progeneer Inc., a domestic bio-venture company, and it is expected to be used in various biopharmaceutical fields such as cytokine for several medical uses and personalized new drugs because of the outstanding advantages of being able to produce large amounts of functional proteins in a short time. The team has created a new messenger RNA hydrogel structure with physiological and chemical functions by applying the rolling circle transcription and regularly arranging nucleic acid quadruple helical structures based on nucleic acid nanotechnology. RNA plays a pivotal role in regulating and expressing biological activity in vivo, but it is unstable and not easy to produce the desired design. In a situation where these serious and essential limitations are pointed out, this study suggests a wise solution. The team’s research has proved that the biological regulator role of natural RNAs, such as enzyme catalyst action and protein synthesis, is possible outside of cells through bio-inspiration. This technology has exactly reproduced the ‘Spatiotemporal RNA-derived RNA phase transformation’ that occurs in the translation process of the central dogma process, the central principle of life, and thus enabled protein mass-production through gel internal compartmentalization. Since the 1950s, by “cell-free protein expression” technology, protein production could be done outside the cell. With the rapid development of the modern biopharmaceutical market, this is receiving global attention. This study has also contributed to significantly maximizing the efficiency, which is a fatal disadvantage of cell-free protein expression technology. Also, the gel form of RNA is made possible for the first time, and the RNA having various functions secures the high mechanical property. This result suggests the possibility of developing new materials equipped with genetic information. The research’s universal applicability, which solves the fundamental issue of RNA and contributes to the central principle of life, is expected to create various applied technology to pioneer in a new area of research. Progeneer CEOs Chul Kim and Young Ku Lee are directly applying the technology to their personalized anti-cancer vaccine project (ProV-001) and achieving a functional protein synthesis pipeline. Journal Cover, using hydrogel only consisted of RNA to mass produce protein with low cost at short period of time [Research Overview] Examples of mass production of functional proteins using RNA hydrogels technology

  • Proposal of Social Media donation message strategy in consideration of psychological traits ‘pride and gratitude’

    Media & Communication Prof. BAEK, TAE HYUN

    Proposal of Social Media donation message strategy in consideration of psychological traits ‘pride and gratitude’

    Professor Tae Hyun Baek in the Department of Media and Communication has published hisfirst-author study in the 2022 March issue of the Journal of Business Research(IF = 7.550, Q1 in Business/Marketing Category). He collaborated with ProfessorSukki Yoon at Bryant University. He conducted three experimental studies of prosocial advertising on social media to investigate how self-benefit (e.g., “Make your life more meaningful and earn a taxdeduction by giving your support”) and other person-benefit (e.g., “Help others suffering from hunger and make our community a better place by giving yoursupport”) donation appeals paired with pride and gratitude affect donation amounts and donation intentions. He examined incidental and integral emotion induction procedures and used diverse samples of college students and nonstudent adults. Participants induced to feel pride donatedmore significant amounts (Study 1) and donated more frequently (Studies 2 and3) when they viewed Twitter and Instagram ad messages that focused on thebenefits to donors themselves rather than focus on benefits to others in need.However, self-benefit and other-benefit appeals were equally effective wheninduced to show gratitude. This research contributes to theliterature by identifying pride and gratitude as determining the relativeeffectiveness of self-benefit versus other person-benefit appeals. In addition,to the best of our knowledge, this research is the first to investigate howpositive emotions can be matched explicitly with message appeals to influencedonation amounts and intentions to donate. Practically, the findings of this researchhave the potential to impact social media fundraising advertising strategies.For example, nonprofit organizations advertising on Facebook and Twitter mighthighlight their achievements and then provide individualized congratulatoryemails that make recipients feel proud or grateful. For instance, St. JudeChildren’s Research Hospital could advertise its success in increasing survivalrates through innovative research and then send messages that evoke pride. Likewise,the World Wildlife Fund could promote its success in saving endangered speciesfrom extinction and sending thank you messages that evoke gratitude. Relatedly,charity fundraisers might use social media content to trigger feelings of prideand gratitude through corresponding emotion-laden hashtags (e.g., #proud and#grateful) depending on whether the posting contains egoistic or altruisticmessages.

  • Stability-limiting heterointerfaces of perovskite photovoltaics

    SKKU Advanced Institute of Nano Technology Prof. LEE, JIN WOOK ·Keonwoo Park

    Stability-limiting heterointerfaces of perovskite photovoltaics

    Prof.Jin-Wook Lee`s research team in the SKKU Advanced Nano Technology (SAINT) and Department of Nano Engineering have successfully developed core technologies to significantly improve the stability of perovskite solar cells (PSCs). The research paper was published in the world-renowned scientific journal Nature on March 15, 2022. The PSCs are considered a promising candidate for next-generation photovoltaictechnology due to their high-efficiency and low manufacturing cost. Recently,many researchers in both academia and industry are working on resolving remaining issues for commercialization of the PSCs such as poor long-termoperational stability. For fabrication of high-performance PSCs, reducing crystal defect density in bulk and surface of the perovskite film is essential. A surface passivation strategy by alkylammonium halides has been widely used to enhance the power conversion efficiency of PSCs. However, incorporation of the insulating passivation layer between perovskite and charge transporting layer can cause charge accumulation at the interface and degrade the PSCs' operational stability. The previous studies have only focused on the efficiency improvement by the surface passivation layer, but they did not notice the possible side effects of thesurface passivation layers. Prof.Lee`s team unraveled that the widely used surface passivation layer distorts energy band structure at the heterointerface of the PSCs to impede photo-generated charge collection, and consequently aggravate the stability ofperovskite solar cells. They developed a new surface passivation agent without the side effects to maximize the PSC’s power conversion efficiency and operational stability. As a result, the PSCs fabricated in their study demonstrated the world's best efficiency and stability. Prof.Lee`s research provides advanced understanding of energy band structure at the heterointerfaces based on halide perovskite, expected to resolve the stability issue of the PSCs to accelerate the commercialization of the PSCs. Meanwhile,Prof. Jin-Wook Lee recently published another review paper on ‘A’ site cationin halide perovskites in Science. He was selected as Highly Cited Researchers 2021 (HCR 2021) by Clarivate Analytics in the field of cross-field. ※ Related research papers and website 1) Stability-limiting heterointerfaces of perovskite photovoltaics, Nature, 2022, doi.org/10.1038/s41586-022-04604-5. ( corresponding author: Prof. Jin-Wook Lee, co-author: Keonwoo Park 2) Rethinking the A cation in halide perovskites, Science, 2022, 375,835. (First author: Prof. Jin-Wook Lee) 3) Prof. Jin-Wook Lee`s Lab website: https://jwlee870217.wixsite.com/mysite Figure 1. charge displacement onperovskite film surface by surface defect healing ions Figure 2. Operational stability ofperovskite solar cells with different surface passivation strategies

  • Antioxidant Hydrogel Patches for Treatment of Atopic Dermatitis

    Chemical Engineering Prof. KIM, JAE YUN ·Ye Eun Kim , Dr. Seung Woo Choi

    Antioxidant Hydrogel Patches for Treatment of Atopic Dermatitis

    Professor Jaeyun Kim research team in the School of Chemical Engineering (The 1st coauthors: Ye Eun Kim, a graduate student, Dr. Seung Woo Choi, a postdoc) developed the antioxidant hydrogels via scavenging ROS from the inflamed skin for the treatment of atopic dermatitis (AD) without using steroid drugs. The team has previously suggested a therapeutic antioxidant contact lens for the treatment of dry eye disease. Although topical steroid drugs have been generally used for the treatment of AD, the continuous administration can cause severe side effects such as hypogenesis of children or Cushing syndrome. As AD can easily develop into chronic disease, a new treatment with high safety is highly demanded. The Therapeutic antioxidant hydrogel patches were synthesized by embedding ROS-scavenging ceria nanoparticles into biocompatible alginate hydrogels. As the increased level of ROS in AD lesions aggravates the symptoms of AD, an efficient ROS scavenging into benign water and oxygen by the antioxidant hydrogels could efficiently diminish the oxidative stress and inflammatory immune responses in AD. When the antioxidant hydrogel patches were applied onto AD induced skin of the mouse model, the level of ROS of tissue was significantly reduced. Furthermore, the epidermal thickness, the number of infiltrated inflammatory cells, and the level of inflammatory cytokines were decreased, indicating the symptoms of AD were alleviated. As hydrogel patches are soft materials, it is easily applicable to the skin. In addition, high water contents of the hydrogel are beneficial to moisturize the dried AD skin. Lastly, the embedded ceria nanoparticles were not released from hydrogels to the skin, indicating that negligible nanotoxicity in the skin would be expected. Professor Kim described that “The application of this antioxidant hydrogel patch could be expanded to diverse skin inflammatory disease and skincare which are related with a high level of ROS.” Study for therapeutic hydrogel patches for atopic dermatitis: “Therapeutic Hydrogel Patch to Treat Atopic Dermatitis by Regulating Oxidative Stress”, Nano Letters, published online (2022) Study for therapeutic contact lenses for dry eye disease: “Therapeutic Contact Lens for Scavenging Excessive Reactive Oxygen Species on Ocular Surface, ACS Nano, 14, 2483-2496 (2020) <Antioxidant Hydrogel Patch for Treatment of Atopic Dermatitis>

  • Study on a High-Voltage Driven Nickel-Based Layered Cathode Material That Realizes High Energy Density

    Energy Science Prof. YOON, WON SUB

    Study on a High-Voltage Driven Nickel-Based Layered Cathode Material That Realizes High Energy Density

    Sungkyunkwan University (President Dong Ryeol Shin) announced that the research team has found that even a low Ni content material can have high energy, a long cycle life, and thermal stability depending on the operating condition. With the declaration of carbon neutrality, the end of internal combustion engines that are based on fossil fuels is accelerating, and the era of electric vehicles is advancing. Accordingly, the high-content nickel layered cathode material attracts attention as a key material for lithium-ion secondary batteries for EVs for long-distance driving. However, as the nickel content increases, the amount of energy that can be stored increases, but due to the unique characteristics of the material that lower thermal stability, it is exposed to the risk of fire directly related to safety. A research team at Sungkyunkwan University designed a battery driving condition at a high operating voltage for low nickel content material to the same discharge capacity as a material with high nickel content, and then investigated various structural, electrochemical, and thermal stability characteristics. In this research, it was confirmed that a material having a low nickel content has low anisotropic lattice distortion in an overcharge region and a lithium ion channel through which lithium ions move is better maintained. Moreover, it was observed that a low-content nickel material in a degraded state after a long-term life evaluation has less particle grinding and less micro-cracks along with uniform chemical state distribution in particles than a high-content nickel material. In addition, through thermal decomposition mechanism analysis of materials, low-content nickel materials show better thermal stability despite higher voltage conditions than high-content nickel materials, proving a new possibility of designing lithium-ion secondary batteries with lower fire risk. Through this work, depending on the design of the battery operating conditions, the research team demonstrated that a low-content Ni-based layered cathode material with high structural, chemical, and thermal stability can be an alternative to the high-content Ni-based layered cathode material. At the same time, the research team provided a rational strategy further to expand the design elements of lithium-ion secondary batteries. Research professor Wontae Lee said, "Various energy storage materials are being researched and developed in the secondary battery field to ensure long-distance driving and safety. This research demonstrates competitive rechargeable batteries can be implemented by using existing materials through a strategic approach, leading to reconsideration of the research focus that was focused on the development of high-energy materials and provides an opportunity to diversity design factors of rechargeable batteries." This study, conducted by, Researcher Mi-hee Jeong, Research Professor Wontae Lee and Professor Won-Sub Yoon, was selected as a back cover in 'Advanced Energy Materials', a world-renowned journal in the field of material science. (2022.02.24.) [Figure 1] Comparison of crystal structure changes in accordance with lithium content of a low content and high content nickel-based layered structure material [Figure 2] Chemical state distribution in particles after initial and after 400 charge-discharge times of a low-content and high-content nickel-based layered structure material [Figure 3] Comparison of pyrolysis mechanisms of low-content and high-content nickel-based layered structures

  • Investigation of Optimal Carbon Capture and Utilization Technology for Carbon Neutralization

    Chemical Engineering Prof. KIM, JIYONG ·Do Thai Ngan, Chanhee You

    Investigation of Optimal Carbon Capture and Utilization Technology for Carbon Neutralization

    Carbon capture and utilization (CCU) is receiving worldwide attention due to its potential to mitigate CO2 emissions that contribute to climate changes, and the ability to produce high-value chemicals (e.g: methanol, gasoline, olefin) and fuels that lessen the burden on conventional resources. Carbon capture and utilization for energy products (CCU4E) offers several potential benefits in climate change mitigation, energy security, and sustainability. Although advances in fundamental research have shown a high potential for CCU4E framework implementation, the realistic strategies to demonstrate CCU4E in global and local applications are still unclear. For example, which pathway from CO2 capture to what mix of products through what types of conversion technologies makes CO2-based fuels economically and/or environmentally viable. Accordingly, to quicken the implementation of a competitive, practical CCU4E framework, the research team developed a system-level methodology for synthesis and evaluation of a wide range of CCU4E pathways. In this work, 72 CO2-to-fuel pathways were assessed using Process Systems Engineering (PSE)-centric techniques such as process simulation, techno-economic evaluation, environmental impact analysis, and optimization. Based on the 72 CO2-to-fuel pathways examined, the team discussed the trade-off between economic output (via unit production cost of fuels) and environmental impact (via net CO2 equivalent emissions). In addition, an optimization model was used to identify the optimal pathway and judge the decision to use conventional (black) or renewable (green) hydrogen in different scenarios. An extended sensitivity analysis was performed to understand the important role of H2 in the mitigation of CO2eq and its economic potential, globally and locally, as well as the prospect of future CO2-based fuels. This study provides practical decision-making strategies to major carbon-emitting countries to make decisions on using domestic resources to balance economy and environmental protection in the CCU4E framework. The green hydrogen price is revealed to be the key factor in future CCU4E by allowing a huge reduction in CO2eq emissions at a more stable and lower price. *Paper Title: A CO2 utilization framework for liquid fuels and chemical production: techno-economic and environmental analysis

  • Developing a treatment that better affects the SARS-CoV-2 variants

    Pharmacy Prof. JO, DONG GYU ·Prof. Wonsik Lee, Dr. Hakgyun Kim

    Developing a treatment that better affects the SARS-CoV-2 variants

    The Sungkyunkwan university-Korea Centres for Disease Control joint research team has developed an exosome-based treatment that protects against SARS-CoV-2 infection. Through this research jointly conducted by Professor Dong-Gyu Jo and Wonsik Lee of School of Pharmacy Sungkyunkwan University, they designed exosome-based approach to deliver therapeutic proteins, confirming its potential as a protein delivery system. Since the winter of 2019, many people worldwide have been suffering from the coronavirus outbreak to this day. Although mRNA-based next-generation vaccines have been introduced, pandemics continue to occur as the effectiveness of vaccines gradually decreases due to variants that occur continuously. One of the major treatments for COVID-19 is neutralizing antibody therapy. However, these antibody therapeutics have a disadvantage in that continuously emerging variants could reduce the efficacy against the virus. The exosome-based virus neutralization strategy developed to overcome these shortcomings was designed using the binding affinity between ACE2, a cellular receptor of SARS-CoV-2, and the virus envelope protein, SPIKE protein. This strategy was based on the fact that highly infectious virus mutants increase the affinity of the SPIKE protein for ACE2. In addition, using variants of the ACE2 protein known to increase affinity for the SPIKE protein, its efficacy was further enhanced. The soluble ACE2 (sACE2) protein for virus neutralization and its variants were fused with an exosome-specific marker on the exosome surface to overcome the limited pharmacokinetics characteristics of using recombinant protein only. This method confirmed that pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic properties were improved while using a smaller amount of ACE2 protein than when recombinant protein was used, thereby showing excellent efficacy. ※ SPIKE protein: The envelope protein of SARS-CoV-2. It plays an essential role in host cell receptor recognition and fusion with the host cell membrane. ※ sACE2 (Soluble Angiotensin Converting Enzyme2) protein: A fragment protein that is formed by cleaving the extracellular part of this ACE2 protein. Engineered exosomes inhibit the entry of wild-type and other variants of SARS-CoV-2 pseudovirus, and protect against authentic SARS-CoV-2 and Delta variant infection. The therapeutic efficacy of the engineered exosome against SARS-CoV-2 challenge was confirmed using K18-hACE2 mice. Prof. Jo said, “We presented the new strategy engineering exosome for COVID-19 treatment agent in this study.” He said, “It will become a new driving force for the development of new therapeutics such as exosome-based COVID-19 and various diseases being developed through joint research with Exostemtech.” The National Research Foundation of Korea supported this study. This work was also supported by a grant from the Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries’ R&D project, Korea, Korea Basic Science Institute (National Research Facilities and Equipment Center) grant funded by the Ministry of Education, Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency, and the Korea National Institute of Health fund. (Figure 1. Schematic illustration of SARS-CoV-2 infection and the application of engineered exosome for the neutralization of SARS-CoV-2.) The research results were published in the Journal of Extracellular Vesicles (IF = 25.841) online on January 4, 2022.

  • Development of environmental friendly electrocatalysts for sustainable green hydrogen production

    Chemical Engineering Prof. KIM, JUNG KYU

    Development of environmental friendly electrocatalysts for sustainable green hydrogen production

    Prof. Jung Kyu Kim (School of Chemical Engineering, SKKU) reported his collaboration research achievements with Prof. Uk Sim (Department of Materials Science & Engineering, Chonnam National University) and NILL Inc. : development of environmental friendly electrocatalysts for sustainable green hydrogen production. First, bimetallic oxides with spinel structures, M2GeO4 (M = Fe, Co), were synthesized via a facile one-pot hydrothermal method and were used as electrocatalysts for urea-assisted water electrolysis to enhance the efficiency of hydrogen production. In alkaline electrolyte with urea, Fe2GeO4, which was used as the anode in the electrolysis cell, reduced the overall input potential to produce H2. The superior performance of Fe2GeO4 in the urea-added water electrolysis was attributed to the higher oxidation state of its metal cations, larger electrochemical active surface area, and lower charge transfer resistance than those of Co2GeO4. Hence, Fe2GeO4 showed 5.49 times higher H2 peak intensity than Co2GeO4, indicating higher efficiency of H2 production. Second, single-phase metal-rich nickel phosphide (Ni12P5)-incorporated carbon composites were designed for a highly efficient water-splitting system. The distinct Ni12P5 is anchored in nitrogen (N)- and phosphorus (P)-rich carbon matrices (Ni12P5@N,P-C); the creation of the matrices entails a facile hydrothermal-followed pyrolysis treatment to explore their bifunctional activities in the water-splitting system. The Ni12P5@N,P-C composite-based two-electrode water-splitting system shows a low operating potential of 1.57 V at 10 mA cm–2 and achieves the commercially required high current density of 500 mA cm–2 at a stable potential of 2 V. The functionalization of composite electrocatalysts based on strategical engineering and the intrusion of multiple active sites can help develop enhanced electrochemical energy systems. These two research achievements were selected as the front cover art of journals ‘Environmental Science: Nano (DOI: 10.1039/D1EN00529D)’ and ‘ACS Sustainable Chemistry & Engineering (DOI: 10.1021/acssuschemeng.1c06514)’, respectively. *Paper 1: Boosting eco-friendly hydrogen generation by urea-assisted water electrolysis using M2GeO4 (M = Fe, Co) as an active electrocatalyst (저널: Environmental Science: Nano, DOI: 10.1039/D1EN00529D) *Paper 2: Anchoring of Ni12P5 Microbricks in Nitrogen- and Phosphorus-Enriched Carbon Frameworks: Engineering Bifunctional Active Sites for Efficient Water-Splitting Systems (저널: ACS Sustainable Chemistry & Engineering, DOI: 10.1021/acssuschemeng.1c06514)

  • Unveiling the impact of Fe incorporation on intrinsic performance of reconstructed water oxidation electrocatalyst

    Chemical Engineering Prof. YOO, PILJIN

    Unveiling the impact of Fe incorporation on intrinsic performance of reconstructed water oxidation electrocatalyst

    Professor Pil Jin Yoo’s group (with Drs. Clament Sagaya Selvam and Gwan Hyun Choi) at school of chemical engineering announced that highly efficient and extremely stable oxygen evolution reaction (OER) electrocatalysts have been developed for the next generation water electrolysis technology. With a successful co-working with profs. ‪Won-Sub Yoon (Department of Energy Science) and ‪Won Bo Lee (Seoul National University) groups, in this work, they investigated the fundamental mechanism of dynamic interactions between electrolyte and electrocatalyst surface through experimental and theoretical way. This work was published in ACS Energy Letters (Impact Factor: 23.101) featured as a cover paper. Thanks to its environmental benignity, the water electrolysis technology has received great interest both from academy and industry as a promising solution for producing clean hydrogen energy. During the electrolysis of water into hydrogen and oxygen gases, while the reaction side for the hydrogen evolution reaction proceeds in a relatively smooth and stable way, the concurrently occurring OER reaction generally suffers from high overpotential and degradation of electrocatalysts, hindering the practical and commercial utilization of the water electrolysis to the market. To challenge this issue, the SKKU research team first proposed the nanostructured cobalt-sulfur hybrids (Co9S8) as a basic electro-conductive platform for high performance OER and subsequently electro-deposited a thin layer of nickel oxyhydroxide (NiOOH) over the surface of Co9S8 to simultaneously impart the erosion stability and electrochemical activity. In addition, for the first time, they elucidated that the enhanced electrocatalytic performance was originated from the self-Fe-doping of the catalyst surface as a result of dynamic interactions with the electrolyte. With regard to this technological advance, prof. Yoo commented that “This approach would offer a new design toolkit for high performance OER electrocatalysts and it is greatly anticipated for being extensively utilized for materials in eco-friendly energy technology”. Prof. Yoo group has also reported leading-edge research result on novel electrocatalysts in Energy & Environmental Science (Impact Factor: 38.532) in May. This work was published on December 10th in ACS Energy Letters (Impact Factor: 23.101) as a cover paper with the governmental funding support of NRF 2018M3D1A1058624, 2020R1A2B5B02002483, and 2021R1A4A1024129. ※ Paper 1 : “Unveiling the Impact of Fe Incorporation on Intrinsic Performance of Reconstructed Water Oxidation Electrocatalyst”, ACS Energy Letters, 6, 4345−4354 (2021). * Paper 2 : “Modularly aromatic-knit graphitizable phenolic network as a tailored platform for electrochemical applications”, Energy & Environmental Science, 14, 3203–3215 (2021).

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