1. 논문관련 분야의 소개, 동향, 전망을 설명, 연구과정에서 생긴 에피소드
In this article we have focused on synthesis of green color graphene quantum dot, their characterization, in vitro and in vivo toxicity, imaging properties in cancer cell and finally biodistribution profile. We have mainly emphasized on in vivo toxicology study. Therefore we have done serum biochemistry study and histology study if organs of treated mice. As we know before thinking to apply any material for biological application, we should know biocompatibility, bio- degrability, toxicology, pharmacokinetics profile of that material. Recently Graphene quantum dots or photoluminescent graphene nanoparticles are considering one of the emerging materials for optical imaging which is one of the most important research fields of biomedical and bioengineering science.
However, as soon as we have succeeded synthesis of photoluminescent graphene nanoparticle, we have decided to study the biological interaction properties of those materials. After successfully synthesis of the materials, we have started to observe in vitro and in vivo toxicity study. Dr. Kwang Jae Cho at Catholic University of Korea, who is one of our collaborators, helped us a lot to do the in vivo toxicity study. Some of the experiments were done at Dr. Cho's lab at Catholic University. We believe that our study and reported results will help other researcher to be advanced as no major or severe symptoms of toxicity were observed even for 3 weeks of observation. However, further modification or conjugation with other ligands or polymer would give it more optimized shape to make it more feasible and compatible for biological application.
2. 연구를 진행했던 소속기관 또는 연구소에 대해 소개 부탁 드립니다.
Prof. Yong-kyu Lee is the principle investigator and mentor of our lab, named as Nano BioMedicine Lab (https://sites.google.com/site/yongkyuleelab/), located at department of Chemical and Biological Engineering building of Korea National University of Transportation. Our laboratory contains 3 full time and 1 part time PhD students, including 2 MS and 5 undergraduate students. We usually work as four different groups such as; Theranostic (therapy+diagnosis) group, DDS group, Fermentation group and Tissue engineering group. Every group headed by a graduate student alone with an undergrad student. However, some students used to run more than 1 project at a same time. Usually lab-meeting held once in a week and journal club twice per week.
Therefore, we get chance to know the latest research trend as soon as any interesting article published related with our fields. Our lab contains almost all required equipments for our research. However, for high-tech equipments we used to get help from our collaborators.
3. 연구활동 하시면서 평소 느끼신 점 또는 자부심, 보람.
Well, I use to feel great always when I get involved in something very new and meaningful. I was working in a pharmacology lab when I was an undergrad student at Bangladesh. Several herbs, plants or leaves were collected and pharmacological activity was observed in mice or rat after administering to mice. Then, I was planning to move abroad for higher studies and got in touch with Prof. Yong-kyu Lee who was working on nanomedicine and DDS. As I have been graduated from Pharmacy department, I had keen interest to work on his lab as well. Then I have started to work on nanomedicine for cancer theranostic. For imaging/diagnosis we were using quantum dots (QDs). However, we was always feeling that we need something for rational rather than QDs to avoid toxicity of QDs. Though we have applied several strategies to reduce toxicity of QDs, but no mentionable success were observed. Then we have get in touch with photoluminescent graphene which could be used as an alternative of QDs. Though there are thousands of materials and chemicals are exist but however, numbers of biomaterials are very limited. Therefore, we have to keep searching for new materials could be considered for biological application.
연구환경이 척박한 작은 시골대학에서 ACS Nano에 낼 정도의 결과를 냈다는 것에 대해 자부심을 느낍니다. 타 대학의 좋은 연구환경, 풍부한 연구비, 그리고 우수한 학생들을 보면서 많은 고민과 한계에 부딪쳤지만, 새로운 창의적인 연구라는 목표 하에 끊임없이 노력하였습니다. 그러한 결과로, 2005년 부임한 이후로 실험실을 졸업한 학생들이 모두다 제약관련 회사로 100% 취업을 했다는 것과 평균 10편이상 매년 논문을 발표하여 학생들에게 작은 희망이라도 심어준 것이 큰 보람입니다. 앞으로도 연구와 교육에 매진하여 시골학교에서도 할 수 있다는 것을 보여주고 싶습니다. 이제 시작이라고 생각하며 앞으로 정부과제수주 및 공동연구를 통해 좋은 결과들을 내기를 희망합니다.
4. 이 분야로 진학하려는 후배들 또는 유학준비생들에게 도움이 되는 말씀을 해 주신다면?
When I came to Korea at 2008, I have learned how to operate the equipment from an Undergrad student while I was pursuing my MS. From my 5 and half years experience of working, studying and living in Korea, I should notice that the Korean students are really hard working and curious to learn new things. However, I always feel and think that the main obstacle for some of them is weakness in communication and lack of English proficiency. The Korean students would do much better if they would have better English proficiency especially reading and writing. The possible easiest ways to overcome those situations might be recruiting foreign students to each group and having group discussion in English.
5. 연구활동과 관련된 앞으로의 계획이 있으시다면?
Working in new field with new technologies is always fun and interesting for me. I want to work on gene delivery and tissue engineering in near future. As well as I would like to keep working on my current field. I believe that nanomedicine is one of the emerging fields of research which would bring better solution for cancer therapy and diagnosis in future.
6. 다른 하시고 싶은 이야기들....
Thank you so much for asking such very important questions. Also thanks for showing interest on our research and articles published in ACS Nano. The Korea researches as well as foreign researchers (students and professional) in Korea would be highly appreciated by the activities of BRIC. I wish more high quality research would be done in Korea to be published such high quality journals, which would really bring practical impact to the human beings.