Dong-O wins the Agricultural Science and Technology Award  in research section _ Professor Oh Chang-sik

2024-01-10l Hit 451

 In the research section of the "2023 5th Dong-O Agricultural Science and Technology Award," Oh Chang-sik, a professor of applied biology at the Department of Applied Biology at Seoul National University's College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, was selected as the winner. The Dong-O Agricultural Science and Technology Award" was established to raise pride as an engineer by selecting and awarding people who have greatly contributed to the advancement of Korean agricultural technology and the revival of rural culture through agricultural technology development projects and rural culture promotion projects, and to promote shared growth by sharing their achievements." Professor Oh Chang-sik was awarded in the research section in recognition of his in-depth research on plant bacterial diseases such as fruit burn disease and tomato and pepper ulcer disease. By conducting an interview with Professor Oh Chang-sik, we were able to hear more detailed stories related to this.

Q. How did you win the Dong-Oh Agricultural Science and Technology Award?

A. The winners of the Dong-Oh Agricultural Science and Technology Awards are chosen one by one from 10 academic societies selected by the foundation. I was recommended by the Korean Society of Botanical Pathology and was able to win this award. Currently, I am doing a lot of research on crop protection, especially on burn diseases among plant diseases. Burn disease is a disease caused by Gram-negative bacteria that causes dryness or ulcers on the stems or branches of fruit trees such as apples and pears, and since the first outbreak in Korea, the damage has been serious, and I think I have been given credit for that by giving advice on necessary research and policy decisions. In addition, I am conducting research on the mechanism of the occurrence of ulcers on tomatoes and peppers, and it is believed that basic and applied research have been carried out in a balanced manner, and the publication of a number of related papers also influenced the award.

Q. We heard that a study on tomato and pepper ulcers greatly contributed to this award. We would like to hear more about it.

A. Tomato and red pepper ulcer disease is a disease caused by the gram-positive pathogen Clavibacter miciganeis. I started researching this in 2012 and have published several papers on the mechanism of ulcer disease and the analysis of new pathogenic genes and their functions since I have been doing research on it for over 10 years. Although there are less than 10 teams studying this disease internationally, the group is leading the organization of workshops related to this pathogen at international conferences. I believe that these areas were recognized because my group is the most active in researching this pathogen in Korea, has produced results, and is also recognized internationally.

Q. Are there any difficulties while conducting the research?

A. There were no research results to refer to at first, and there were no genetic methods to be used in the research, as there were not many previously researched pathogens. Therefore, the process of developing and setting up similar research methods in foreign countries seems to have been difficult. In addition, there were difficulties due to the characteristics of tomato and pepper ulcer disease pathogens themselves. According to the genetic characteristics of pathogens, the G+C ratio of the DNA base is 73%, so it was not easy to design primers and clone genes such as PCR.

Q. What kind of research are you planning to do in the future?

A. Currently, we are conducting both basic research on tomato ulcer disease and applied research using bacteriophages. Bacteriophages are highly specific as they are bacterial viruses that infect and kill only certain bacteria. Using this specificity, we have developed a diagnostic method that can control target pathogens or diagnose the presence or absence of pathogens, focusing on preventing and controlling bacterial diseases that mainly occur in Korea. We will continue to study pathogens that invade plant water pipes and cause seed transmission, such as tomato ulcer disease, fruit burn disease, and watermelon fruit scavenging disease.

Q. If there's anything you want to say to the students, please say something.

A. I'd like to tell students to look at their majors broadly. As a university professor, I mainly research and education, but I also provide policy advice. Then, I think it would be nice if public officials in charge of related policies by ministries also had basic major knowledge. So, it's important to take advantage of my major to pursue a career in research or education, but on the other hand, I'd like to advance into national institutions that deal with major-related policies.