■ Systems Biotechnology
We have established "Systems Biotechnology” strategy coined by systems biology. We are upgrading traditional biotechnology through its integration with genomics, transcriptomics proteomics, metabolomics, fluxomics and physiomics through bioinformatics in order to achieve systems level understanding and applications of biological systems. This strategy is being successfully employed for the development of a number of bioprocesses producing industrial chemicals, fuels, materials and medicines.
■ Metabolic Engineering/Synthetic Biology/ Systems Metabolic Engineering
Metabolic engineering is an important paradigm in bioprocess development by rational and systemic optimization of the cellular metabolism though the analysis of metabolic pathways and the use of molecular biological tools. We also work on synthetic biology area for designing novel biosystems by rewiring cellular circuits and components. Based on these two fundamental areas, we took one step further, pioneering the field so called “Systems Metabolic Engineering”, in which engineering targets are determined by considering the entire metabolic and regulatory networks together with midstream (fermentation) and downstream (recovery and purification) processes. Processes for the production of various biochemicals have been successfully developed using this strategy, including L-valine and L-threonine. More recent examples include gasoline, ultra-high strength spider silk, engineering plastic monomers, and anti-cancer drugs, all of which were produced biologically for the first time in the world.
■ Cellular & Process Engineering for the Production of Recombinant Proteins,
Biopolymers and Fine Chemicals
We have successfully developed several systems for the high level production of various pharmaceutically and industrially important proteins, such as recombinant spider silk protein. We also developed metabolically engineered microorganisms for high level production of polyhydroxyalkanoates, polylactic acid, putrescine and cadaverine. We are also developing a wide range of ceIl based biocatalyst systems for the production of various fine chemicals, such as succinic acid, and biofuels.
■ NanoBiotechnology, DNA Chip and Protein Chip
We are developing novel protein motifs for the development of nanomaterials and biosensors. Using the DNA microarray system, we have developed DNA chips for the diagnosis and prognosis of genetic and infectious diseases, as well as DNA chips for transcriptome profiling. We have also been working on establishing nanobiotechnology platform technologies for the diagnosis of pathogens and other chemicals of interest. Furthermore, various platform technologies for the bio-based production of nanoparticles and nanomaterials are being developed.
Sang Yup Lee (이상엽)
Dean of KAIST Institute, Distinguished Professor