Faculty & Research

DIGST Department of Brain Sciences

Research Centers

Neurometabolomics Research Center

Research Objectives

  • In order to preoccupy the field of metabolomics, which is attracting attention as the largest medical industry in the 21st century, in 2013, the nation's first and largest Neurometabolomics Research Center (NRC) was hosted on campus led by DGIST.
  • Based on DGIST's world-class brain metabolism leading research capabilities, this center is based on Agilent Technologies' world-best analytical equipment and technology, the accumulated research capabilities of the Johns Hopkins University Obesity and Metabolism Research Center, and medical infrastructure, which is a strength area such as a university hospital in Daegu City and a business case. Based on the international joint research on brain metabolomics between the United States, Singapore, Australia, and Korea, it has grown into a world-class medical leading center in a short period of time, fostering human resources responsible for domestic and foreign brain metabolite research and providing convergence technology for early diagnosis of diseases. aimed.

Research content

  • NRC, the only brain metabolomics research institute in Asia established through a joint agreement with Agilent Technologies, is promoting the development of various measurement and analysis techniques and brain metabolomics research for the comprehensive analysis of complex brain metabolites.
  • Support for analytical equipment and research personnel from Agilent Technologies and joint research with the Institute of Lipid Metabolomics of the National University of Singapore laid the foundation for the establishment of the NRC in the future.
  • By selecting specific metabolites for a specific disease through metabolomics analysis, developing a measurement method for disease classification and response evaluation to treatment, and performing systematic management through monitoring and classification of risk groups, long-term public health and welfare Contribute to promotion.
  • The help of experts in statistics, computer science, and bioinformatics is absolutely necessary to nurture experts in data collection, processing and utilization required for metabolomics research. Therefore, DGIST has not only cooperated with other majors within the DGIST graduate school, but also signed MOUs with domestic and foreign universities that are already leading in metabolomics. It is planned to establish a system for the center to ultimately educate related knowledge and information.
  • In NRC, as metabolite analysis equipment, state-of-the-art analytical instruments such as nuclear magnetic resonance spectrometer (NMR), gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC/MS), or liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry (LC/MS) are used as well as metabolite samples. Through the development of source convergence technology that can explore and analyze complexity, we intend to develop and commercialize high-sensitivity and rapid disease diagnosis technologies to increase economic utility value.
Title Name Tel Email Home page
Center director Kim Eun-kyung 053-785-6111 ekkim@dgist.ac.kr https://www.ekkimlab.org/
Research officer Jeon Yun-jeong(LC1) 053-785-6192 yjungjeon@dgist.ac.kr -
Park Seok-jae(GC) 053-785-6191 godclover7@dgist.ac.kr -
Oh Seong-jun(LC2) 053-785-6192 divided@dgist.ac.kr -

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Center for Synapse Diversity and Specificity


  • This proposal seeks to unravel the molecular basis of neural circuits by elucidating mechanisms of a subset of trans-synaptic adhesion signaling pathways. Specifically, experiments described in the proposal are designed to tackle both canonical and non-canonical roles of synapse organizers in the context of specific neural circuits and to determine whether they specify specific neural circuit properties.
  • We will implement a highly interdisciplinary and sophisticated strategy that integrates structural biology, biochemistry, biophysics, high-resolution imaging, mouse genetics, electrophysiology, and behavior.
  • Collectively, these approaches will decipher key molecular principles underlying synapse diversity and specificity and enhance our understanding of pathophysiological mechanisms underlying brain disorders associated with impairment of specific neural circuit properties.


  • Using both mouse and human neurons, and primarily employing loss-of-function analyses targeting the key postsynaptic adhesion molecules, LRRTMs, Slitrks, MDGAs and type II classic cadherins—the major molecular targets in the current proposal—we will address the following four specific aims to elucidate the molecular logic underpinning the constructing of universal neural circuits:
  • Aim1 : Identification and validation of synapse-organizing functions of trans-synaptic adhesion proteins
  • Aim2 : Determination of the network of trans-synaptic adhesion signaling pathways in synaptic cleft and intracellular regions of pre- and postsynaptic neurons
  • Aim3 : Elucidation of the role of trans-synaptic adhesion signaling pathways in controlling input-output relations of neural circuits in a brain region-, cell-type-, and projection-specific manner
  • Aim4 : Deconvolution of dissociable neural circuit properties organized by trans-synaptic adhesion signaling pathways that are involved in eliciting specific mouse behavioral abnormalities implicated in certain neurological disorders

Expected Contribution

Scientific value: Although a series of candidate synapse organizers have been identified and their significance in mediating various aspects of synapse development has been established, whether and how these synapse organizers are involved in specifying key neural circuit properties across diverse brain areas remains incompletely understood. This proposal will provide novel insights into the functions of a subset of key synaptic adhesion molecules in constructing basic neural circuit wiring diagrams, contributing to building generic molecular principles of neural circuit specificity and diversity.

Medical and educational value: Numerous studies have indicated that mutations in many synaptic adhesion molecules predispose towards multiple neuropsychiatric disorders that impose enormous social and economic burdens on modern societies. Understanding how neural circuits are precisely operated at molecular and cellular levels will provide unprecedented therapeutic strategies that are based on modulating the specific synaptic adhesion signaling pathways at a set of specific neural circuits.

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