■ Engineering & Technology / New Stretchable and Transparent Conducting Nanomaterial Paves the Way for Soft Electronics Researchers have developed a new graphene-based conducting material for reliable, stretchable, and transparent electronic devices. Conventional electronic devices are mostly made of silicon and metal, which makes them brittle, rigid, and relatively heavy. Such devices cannot meet the requirements of user-oriented emerging applications, like wearable devices, flexible or deformable displays, and bio-integrated healthcare devices. Soft electronics could meet those requirements as long as they are designed to have superior flexibility, stretchability, transparency, and lightness. More importantly, the electrical and optical properties of such material systems should be stableRead More →

■ Medicine / Reverse Engineering Personalized Medical Therapies: Finding the Disease to Fit the Drug A chemistry-first approach for identifying drug targets in lung cancer. Researchers in a multi-national research consortium have developed a novel strategy for identifying drugs that target patient-specific disease mechanisms in lung cancer, thereby addressing the pressing need for effective treatments across the broad patient population with diverse underlying genetic lesions. By screening the effects of a large library of disparate chemical compounds against a broad, well characterized panel of cellular models for the various genetic mutations and characteristic physical features of lung cancers, the researchers including the team led byRead More →

■ Medicine / Deep Thoughts on Genome Editing Novel application of AI significantly fine-tunes CRISPR-Cpf1 gene editing technology. Researchers at the Yonsei University College of Medicine and Seoul National University, as well as other institutions in Seoul, Republic of Korea, have developed a novel AI-based tool for optimizing the accuracy of a popular genome editing strategy, demonstrating the extensive potential for integrating state-of-the-art machine learning with bioinformatics to turbo-charge biologic and medical research. Building upon their prior research in developing a prototype computational algorithm for predicting the activity of guide sequences for the Cpf1 enzyme that mediates CRISPR genome editing technology, the team led byRead More →

■ Life Sciences / Every Gene Has an Island “Islands” of cytosine-phosphate-guanine repeats in genes are modified differently depending on cell type, leading to cell type-specific gene expression. A team from Yonsei University, led by Dr. Young-Joon Kim, have uncovered a novel regulatory mechanism of cell differentiation involving intragenic CpG islands (iCGIs), stretches of cytosine-phosphate-guanine (amino acid) repeats located throughout the genome. Our bodies’ diverse cells begin as embryonic stem cells containing numerous genes that will subsequently be either expressed or repressed, depending on what cell type the gene winds up in. Much of a gene’s activation or suppression is dependent on so-called epigenetic processesRead More →

■ Life Sciences / How Plants Get by When Hungry and in The Dark A low-resource environment triggers the expression of MRF genes, which help adjust protein synthesis so that plants can survive and recover when conditions improve. Plants often find themselves in stressful situations (like heat, cold, darkness, and dehydration) that they must endure because they cannot move to a better location. In response, plants have evolved ways of minimizing energy use to basic levels needed for survival when the environment is low in resources. Plants can alter the amount of protein synthesis (an energy-intense process) to correspond with energy availability, a balancing actRead More →

■ Engineering & Technology / Can Artificial Neural Networks be Trained to Judge the Subjective Quality of Images? Researchers present an overview of the current challenges of automatic image quality assessment and how artificial neural networks could be the key to success. Digital images and pictures represent an enormous portion of the total visual media consumed every year, always increasing as digital camera technology, video streaming services, and social media applications continue to grow and expand. Pictures, however, sometimes become distorted from the moment they are captured to the time in which users see them, and much work is being carried out on automatic algorithmsRead More →

■ Engineering & Technology / Overcoming the Fragile Nature of Flexible Aerogels for Modern Thermal Insulation Applications Development of a novel method to create a superhydrophobic silica aerogel composite that is highly flexible and elastic yet still not fragile, which can be used in a wide range of thermal insulation applications. Aerogels are synthetic ultralight materials derived from gels in which their liquid component has been replaced by a gas. They have been nicknamed “solid air” because of their extremely low density. In particular, silica aerogels have been widely studied and have been applied, for example, as thermal insulators, catalyst supports, and filtration devices. However,Read More →

■ Natural Sciences / Acoustic Metasurface Enhances Underwater Sound Transmitted to Air A newly developed ultrathin acoustic metasurface can greatly enhance the levels of underwater sound transmitted to air, allowing new forms of underwater sonic sensing and communication to be developed. Have you ever stood on the bank of a river and wondered why you cannot hear fish or plants moving beneath the surface? After all, sound travels well in water. The explanation for this silence is that only a tiny fraction of sound (0.1%) traveling in water can cross the barrier between water and air. In a study recently published in the scientific journalRead More →

■ Natural Sciences / Elusive Polarons Discovered in Two-Dimensional Semiconductor Electrons moving inside a solid and surrounded by a moving charge distortion, known as Holstein polarons, have been discovered in the MoS2 two-dimensional semiconductor. An electron passing through a solid can affect the atoms of that material by creating a surrounding area of distorted charge. From another perspective, the electron can be seen as moving while carrying this surrounding distortion; this kind of electron is called a “polaron.” There are two types of polaron: Fröhlich and Holstein. In a study recently published in the scientific journal Nature Materials, scientists at Yonsei University led by Prof.Read More →

■ Social Sciences & Business / Why Offline Borders Can’t be Breached by the Virtual World Free access to other cultures isn’t enough to overcome our differences. Can the borderless Web truly bring us closer together? Or are we still divided by cultural values that long predate today’s hyper-connected world? The success of Korean pop, most notably the global phenomenon of “Gangnam Style,” has shown that media content can transcend cultural differences. But is this unusual? A team of Korean and US researchers, including Dr. Young Min Baek of Communication at Yonsei University, investigated openness to other cultures by analyzing the most-popular YouTube videos inRead More →