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Amgen Korea and the Korean Academy of Science and Technology announce the 2nd Amgen–KAST Biotechnology Awards winners

  • Prof. Hee-beom Koo, The Catholic University of Korea, won in the next-generation scientist category for his work on the world’s first published research in application of click chemistry in nanoparticle modification and its targeted delivery
  • The postdoctoral researcher category winners are Dr. Jin-young Kim from The Catholic University of Korea for contributing to advancements in molecular biology by identifying pathophysiologic mechanism of metabolic diseases, and Dr. Jin-gyu Lee from Hanyang University for developing a biomimetic material based off of stem cells and biomaterials to re-generate impaired bone and cartilage tissues
  • Amgen Korea is driven to continue to support young scientists who can lead the future of bio science to help further their work and focus on research

(21 Nov 2022) The Korean Academy of Science and Technology or KAST (President: Ook-Joon Yoo) and Amgen Korea (GM: Sang-kyung Noh) announced that they hosted the 2nd Amgen-KAST Biotechnology Awards 2022 ceremony on Thu. 17 November in the KAST auditorium to award Prof. Hee-beom Koo (The Catholic University of Korea Medical Life Science Department) in the next-generation scientist category, and Dr. Jin-young Kim (The Catholic University of Korea Graduate Program for Future Medical Research Leaders) and Dr. Jin-gyu Lee (Hanyang University Department of Bioengineering) in the postdoctoral research category.

The ceremony was attended by officials from Amgen Korea and KAST as well as family members and colleagues of the winners’ to celebrate their achievements. These 3 winners, who have shown excellent achievements in basic bio science and bioengineering research, were granted the total prize money of 60 million won along with plaques.

Started last year, the Amgen-KAST Biotechnology Awards is hosted by KAST, the most prestigious academic society in Korea, and sponsored by global biotechnology leader Amgen Korea, to promote research in basic science and recognize and advocate young promising researchers in bioengineering.

Prof. Hee-beom Koo, next-generation scientist category winner, has been recognized for his creative works, such as developments of nanoparticles for delivery of therapeutic agent for hearing loss and injectable hydrogel for treatment of vocal fold paralysis. He was selected as the winner for his work on the world’s first paper about application of click chemistry, a class of chemical reactions used in bioconjugation for the joining of substrates of choice, in nanoparticle modification and its targeted delivery.

Dr. Jin-young Kim, postdoctoral research category winner, was recognized for contributing to advancements in molecular biology through research for identification of pathophysiologic mechanism of metabolic diseases. He has found that autophagy plays an important role in the removal of humanislet amyloid polypeptide (hIAPP), key component of amyloid found in over 90% of diabetic patients’ pancreas, and a novel autophagy enhancer could be effective in improvement and treatment of diabetes due to the build-up of amyloid.

Dr. Jin-gyu Lee, another postdoctoral research category winner, was recognized for developing a biomimetic material, which is a backbone of tissue engineering, based off of stem cells and biomaterials to re-generate impaired bone and cartilage tissues. He has also studied to develop a spheroid stem cell culture system, developed spheroid stem cells that can voluntarily differentiate into bone and cartilage cells, and successfully mimicked the bone- cartilage bilayer structure significantly similar to the actual tissues.

Sang Noh, GM, Amgen Korea, said, “The Amgen-KAST Biotechnology Awards aims at laying a stronger and broader foundation for bio science in Korea, and we are excited to be able to discover and recognize promising scientists whose commitment to bio science and bioengineering has made excellent research footprint. I hope the awards can cascade down as achievements from 3 winners this year shape the future and drive growth of medical science in Korea. Amgen Korea will do its part, through the Amgen-KAST Biotechnology Awards, to give practical support in shared efforts to foster promising next-generation scientists and discover achievements in medical science that can lead the future of bio engineering in Korea.”

Ook-Joon Yoo, President, KAST, said, “I am very happy to discover and award promising young scientists in biotechnology with Amgen Korea through the Amgen-KAST Biotechnology Awards this year as well. More winners were awarded this year to celebrate more scientists and researchers, who should rightly stand prouder, which makes this year’s awards even more meaningful given there had been few award programs that discover and support postdoctoral researchers in Korea. KAST will continue to do its best to help create an environment where researchers and scientists in basic science in Korea can concentrate their focus only on research.”

Started in 2021, the Amgen-KAST Biotechnology Awards give awards to a total of 3 researchers – one in the next-generation category and 2 in the postdoctoral category – with impressive achievements in bio science and bioengineering research. While one from each category was awarded last year, one more winner is chosen from this year as part of efforts to discover and recognize more young scientists.

Amgen, one of the world’s biotechnology companies, is working towards mid- and long-term business strategies which incorporate ESG commitment that not only supports but contributes to the achievement of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. Amgen’s ESG framework is built on four strategic pillars: Healthy People, Healthy Society, Healthy Planet, and A Healthy Amgen. For Healthy Society, Amgen works towards discovering and supporting remarkable scientists in bio science in different life cycle stages. Yet another example of Amgen Korea’s efforts on this, other than the Amgen-KAST Biotechnology Awards aiming at discovering and supporting promising young scientists, is the Grow up, Bio up Campaign with the Seoul Science Center for bio science education of children and adolescents. Under the Corporate Responsibility 2025 plan, Amgen Korea has put in place and implements, to be socially responsible, a multitude of ESG programs designed to promote diversity, inclusion and belonging, and to increase investments for growth of the local community it serves.

    Photos from the Amgen-KAST Biotechnology Awards