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NO.357 12.18.2017

Professor Seo-young Jung Honored as One of “the World’s Top 1% Researchers”

One of the most ambitious dreams of researchers is that their own studies come to have a global influence.


An objective standard measuring the influence of a research is the number of citation. The excellence of a research is proportional to the number of citation. Clarivate Analytics (formerly Thomson Reuters), a global academic information service provider, has recently announced the list of ‘2017 Highly Cited Researchers (HCR).’ HCR refers to researchers in the top 1% in the world whose academic publications have been most frequently cited by their peers.


This year, three professors at Kyung Hee University were named on the list of HCR. They are Professor Seo-young Jeong at the Department of Pharmacy (in pharmacology and toxicology), Professor Jong-Hwan Rhim at the Department of Food and Nutrition (in agricultural science), and Professor Eun-Jung Park at the Graduate School of East-West Medicine Science (in pharmacology and toxicology).


This year, a total of 3,300 researchers in 21 areas were selected as HCR. Among them, 28 are Koreans, including Professors Seo-young Jeong, Jong-Hwan Rhim, and Eun-Jung Park. We interviewed Dr. Seo-young Jeong and Dr. Jong-Hwan Rhim. 


Opening New Possibilities with Research on Cancer Targeted Therapy Utilizing Nanoparticles
Professor Jeong has been studying Drug Delivery System (DDS), which studies ways to maximize the efficacy of existing DDS and to reduce the side effects.


The most-cited article of Prof. Jeong is on utilizing cancer-targeted therapy based on the development of DDS combining nanoparticles and drugs in order to selectively deliver anti-cancer medicine to specific cancer cells. By enabling the anti-cancer medicine to reach only its intended targets, it can drastically reduce side effects compared to existing methods of chemotherapy. Prof. Jeong said, “The research has been frequently cited as the interest in cancer-targeted therapy increases recently.”


The research team led by Prof. Jeong has created Chitosan Nanoparticles modified to be hydrophobic (water insoluble) by using natural polymer ‘Chitosan’ and nanoparticles. The team has confirmed that the new Chitosan nanoparticles containing anti-cancer drugs had much higher chances to reach cancer cells. The nanoparticles can also be used with other therapeutic agents because they are able to deliver drugs to intracellular action sites.


The mechanism of the targeted delivery of medicine developed by the team is based on the principle of surfactant that helps blend water and oil which cannot otherwise be mixed with each other because of different natures. For instance, the Chitosan-treated hydrophobic outer shell of nanoparticles holds its structural integrity in blood, which is 94% water, but, when the nanoparticles penetrate cancer cell membranes, the surface of the nanoparticles become soluble and they release anti-cancer drugs inside the cancer cells. This mechanism enables the selective delivery of the drugs contained in the nanoparticles.


Joint Research Leading to World-Class Research Result
The article has been cited more than 400 times up to now. What is the secret to producing such a globally acknowledged research result? Prof. Jeong suggested “a comprehensive judgement matters in research,” and added, “It requires a wide range of knowledge and perspectives from diverse disciplines. Thus, collaborating with other research teams can help.”


Prof. Jeong reaffirmed the importance of collaboration by saying “The purpose of science is to make contribution to human civilization, which is in line with the core values Kyung Hee University has sought for. The challenges that human beings face today, however, cannot be addressed by only one academic discipline. That is why joint researches are necessary.”


Prof. Jeong, who has been walking on a persistent path as a researcher for more than 30 years, mentioned that “the responsibility of a professor is to elucidate and to educate.” It is because outstanding research achievements of faculty could lead to excellent education. In this regard, he added professors have to put efforts in research as well as education. 


Prof. Jeong was appointed as Vice President of the Seoul Campus of Kyung Hee University this year. Based on his own experiences as a researcher, he is committed to the advancement of the academic culture of Kyung Hee University by providing practical supports for professors’ research.

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