|chem.skku.edu / Professor Song Choong-eui|
Professor Song Choong-Eui’s chemical research team succeeded in converting toxic material into profitable medicine ingredients through artificial enzymes. This development was made possible by taking reference from a chemical reaction that happens in the human body. Glyoxal, the toxic compound concerned, is known to be naturally decomposed by an isomerization enzyme named glyoxalase. Isomerization is the process of changing a chemical structure without the replacement of its elements, and α-hydroxy acids are the products of this particular isomerization reaction. α-hydroxy acids are known to be useful medicinal ingredients and are especially effective in treating Alzheimer’s disease. Professor Song’s team constructed an artificial synthesizing system that resulted in high α-hydroxy acid yield rates by modeling the existing natural process. The most significant aspect of this study is the high conversion rate of the reactants to the products. There are many research outcomes that do not go further than just some scientific findings because of their lower competitiveness in financial-wise. This new α-hydroxy acid synthesizing system, however, is receiving attention for its economic effectiveness and its innovative conclusion. The creative approach of analyzing a natural reaction system to establish an efficient synthesizing process is expected to be applied in other fields of study as well. Professor Song mentioned that “this new synthesizing system’s high conversion rate was possible by using hints from our surrounding natural environments” and “a lot of follow-up researches regarding medicine will be able to take this system as a reference.” This thesis was presented in the international science journal, Nature, on April 4th.
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