Between June 3 and June 6, 2012, Prof. Dr. Dragan Uskoković, Prof. Dr. Nenad Ignjatović and Dr. Magdalena Stevanović, researchers of the Institute of Technical Sciences of SASA, paid a work visit to the Korea Institute of Science and Technology (KIST) in Seoul, South Korea. For Prof. Dr. Dragan Uskoković, the leader of the Project III45004: Molecular designing of nanoparticles with controlled morphological and physico-chemical characteristics and functional materials based on them,this was the third meeting with the colleagues from KIST in Seoul. In 2010 and 2011, Prof. Uskoković participated at the Seoul Science & Technology Forum, visited KIST (http://www.itn.sanu.ac.rs/novosti1210a.html) and discussed collaboration opportunities in the fields of bioceramics, biomaterials and biomacromolecules for controlled drug delivery.
This time, we had the opportunity to continue discussions on potential joint projects and get a more detailed insight into the research programmes carried out at KIST and ITS SASA. The researcher of ITS SASA were guests of KIST and they also took part in the KIST BRI-SERBIA ITS Joint Workshop on Advanced Biomaterials), organized by KIST, as invited speakers. At the beginning of the workshop, Prof. Dr. Kuiwon Choi greeted participants; his welcome address was followed by welcome speeches of Prof. Dr. Kyung-Ho Shin, director for international collaboration at KIST, and Prof. Dr. Hyun Kwang Seok, the head of the Centre for Biomaterials of the Biomedical Research Institute at KIST.
Prof. Dr. Hyun Kwang Seok gave a lecture on the research into biomaterials at BRI KIST-u (Research activities at biomaterials research center, BRI, KIST). KIST's main campus is located in Seoul; there are also two smaller campuses in Jeonbuk, Korea and, Saarbruecken, Germany – KIST Europe, established with the idea of facilitating collaboration with European institutions. Their chief task is the integration of innovation and entrepreneurship with scientific and technological achievements. The Biomedical Research Institute at KIST has been specially organized to promote the National Agenda for healthcare and welfare issues, especially to deliver a better "Quality of Life". The institute is committed to integrating multidisciplinary technologies to develop innovative biomedical technologies and further to ensure Korea’s future competitive advantage, which has resulted in numerous scientific publications and patents. The goal of the Centre for Biomaterials is to pursue high-quality research in tissue engineering, biocompatible materials, "intelligent" drug delivery, etc.
Prof. Dr. Dragan Uskoković gave two lectures: Current biomaterials research in Serbia – a general overview of the research into biomaterials in Serbia; and Molecular designing of nanoparticles and functional materials for biomedical applications – a presentation of recent results in this field. Dr. Kwan Hyi Lee gave a lecture titled Functionalized nanoparticles and biomedical quantitative profiling, whereas Prof. Dr. Nenad Ignjatović presented results related to advanced calcium phosphate-biodegradable biomaterials. These lectures were followed by the presentations of MSc. Hyung-Seop Han (Newly developed biodegradable metals and their applications), Dr. Magdalena Stevanović (Biomacromolecules in controlled release and nanomedicine), and Dr. Jonghoon Choi (Multimodal imaging and quantification of controlled anti-tumor drug release from nanostructured, implantable polymeric drug delivery system).
The presentations were followed by a discussion about the presented results and collaboration plans related to a potential joint project, as well as by a tour through KIST. There is no researcher, particularly in the field of nanotechnology, who would not be impressed by the equipment owned by KIST. Prof. Hyun Kwang Seok has highlighted that ITS SASA researchers who wish to use this equipment for the characterization of their samples will be cordially welcomed. Advanced Analysis Center KIST closely collaborates with leading research laboratories from all over the world. The equipment of the Nano Material Analysis Division includes a TEM (Titan), TEM (Tecnai F20), TEM (Cryo Tecnai F20), TEM (CM30), Nano SEM, FE-SEM, E-SEM, Polymer FE-SEM, FIB (Nova 600), FIB (Helios) and FIB (Quanta 3D), whereas the Nano Surface Analysis Division has a SAXS, high-temperature XRD, XRD for thin films, EPMA, Auger Nanoprobe, XPS (ESCA), Dynamic SIMS, TOF-SIMS, HRRBS/Channeling/ERD and PIXE. The value of their equipment has been estimated to several dozen million euros.
During the three-day visit, a number of meetings, both formal, at KIST, and informal, during dinners at traditional Korean restaurants, were held. We discussed possibilities for joint research and it has been decided that the next work meeting be held in September, during the YUCOMAT 2012 conference.
Although brief, our visit was fully effective owing to a well-organized schedule which enabled us to fully use the time. Our Korean colleagues showed great hospitality. For example, they hired a professional tourist guide and a tourist minibus only for their guests from Serbia. We were thereby given an opportunity to see the important sites in Seoul, to get an insight into the lifestyle in Korea, etc. The Koreans are a very kind, a warm-hearted, hospitable and prosperous people.
Generally speaking, this was a very successful visit, which significantly contributed to the affirmation of our country, our institute and Serbian science.