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NO.390 04.18.2018

Exceptional Vision of Industry-Specialized Pharmaceutical Sciences Education Program

Increased student demand for convergence education and specialized Curriculum

To address the demand, we have embarked on an investigative reporting series to examine the current state of affairs and future potentials in convergence education and specialized curricular programs. In this report, we focus on the Department of Oriental Medicinal Materials & Processing (OMMP).

In the Oriental Pharmacology Lab, led by OMMP Department Chief Dong-Ho Kang, laboratory rats and fishes are being prepared for diabetes drugs research. They perform tests that identify fish organ cells that can generate insulin, and produce diseased rat models to create new substances for drug candidate.

Chief Kang delineated the special expertise of his department by saying, “OMMP deals not only with traditional Korean medicinal materials but also a wide spectrum of compounds derived from natural fauna and flora. Also, by means of advanced bioscience technology, we define academic theory and acquire research techniques in materials production, breeding, distribution, and search for active ingredients, toxicity, and treatment efficacy, with the ultimate goal of developing functional food products and cosmetics.” 


Oriental medicinal herbs and natural ingredients used to develop medical drugs, functional health foods, and cosmetics
OMMP is a specialized department created in collaboration with the industry. In the first two years of the program, foundational courses are taken; then, in their 3rd and 4th years, they take applied courses, such as studies and lab training in pharmacognosy, oriental cosmetics, and molecular biology of natural substances. The program is designed to train students to cultivate research skills that can be directly applied to industry.

To invigorate joint industry-academia research, Professor Deok-Chun Yang (Biotechnology) and Professor Tae-Hoo Yi (Oriental Medicine) operate their own venture businesses, with networks spanning 22 enterprises. In 2017, six cases of commercial technology transfer occurred with five corporations.


Linking the excellence of Korean Medicine to bio-food medicine
Last year, as a core educational program in the natural compound standardization effort, a new curriculum called ‘Bio-Food Medicine CMC Track’ was created. CMC stands for ‘Chemistry, Manufacturing, and Control,’ which comprise the core technological needed to standardize natural substances. This track uniquely represents the exceptional strength of Kyung Hee that combines the tremendous knowledge of traditional Korean Medicine and the cutting-edge modern medical science in the area of bio-food medicine.

When designing a new industry-academia collaboration program, OMMP ensures substantive constitution by inviting many industry experts in the program evaluation process. Because businesses are involved in the planning stage, new program is launched with full provisions for joint research plans, internship opportunities, and on-site training. Yoon-Hee Nam (OMMP, doctoral degree program, 6th cohort) shared her experience in the Department: “I have been studying and researching in the program for 10 years, which began with the bachelor’s and master’s degrees, then went on to a staff researcher position, before going into the doctoral program. Constant networking with people in the front lines of the industry, and the endless discovery of new and interesting fields, have brought me here.”

In an effort to build a global convergence research platform, OMMP is also actively engaged in exchange with overseas universities and enterprises. Students regularly participate in overseas training programs toward their degree requirements, and obtain first-hand experience in how medical plants are developed into medical drugs.

Chief Dong-Ho Kang described the future plans for his department and said, “Overall demand for industry-academia collaboration and convergence education is growing. We are in discussions with other departments about how to reconfigure our programs to create a specialized curriculum focused on biomedical science. Our goal is to advance the department, while taking steps to evolve into a convergence education department.” 

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