Established the basis for fostering genetic engineering and R&D for bio- technology in Korea Pioneered the development of bio-venture companies and bio-industry.
Han Moon Hi
Former President of Korea Research Institute of Bioscience and Biotechnology (1934~ )
- Academic background
B.S., College of Education, Seoul National Univ. (biology)
M.S., Graduate School, Seoul National Univ. (biology)
Sc.D., Graduate School, Florida State Univ. (biology)
- Professional career
Head, Applied Biochemistry Research Office & Head, Genetic Engineering Center, KIST
President, Genetic Engineering Center, KIST (currently Korea Research Institute of Bioscience and Biotechnology)
Technical Committee Member/Head of STEPI R&D Planning & Management Unit
CEO, Proteogen Co., Ltd.
Honorary President, Korea Bio Venture Association (currently Korea Biotechnology Industry Organization)
Order of Civil Merit, Camellia Medal
Official Commendation by the President of ROK
Korea Science & Technology Award, Science Award
President Moon Hi Han is an institution builder who contributed to the establishment of the bioscience and bio industry in Korea. He developed bioscience-related legislation and institutions to provide a basis for research and worked at the forefront of the bio venture industry, leading the development of the bio-industry. He is looked up to as the Godfather of the Korean bioscience, a scientist who worked at the forefront so that Korean bioscience take a position as a leader from being a follower.
Established infrastructure for Korean bioscience research and industrialization
He acquired his Sc.D. in biology at Florida State Univ. and he worked as a post-doc research fellow at Dept. of Chemistry, Univ. of Minnesota. He studied enzymes there which led him into the field of bioscience, an emerging research area. In 1974, he was invited to KIST as a Korean scientist with foreign residency and he worked as the head of Research Office on Applied Biochemistry. He developed there an enzyme processing solution to produce an alternative sweetener, isomerized glucose syrup (artificial honey). It helped Korea to replace imported raw sugar and helped to promote industrialization. He also developed rifamycin so as to domesticate anti-tuberculous (rifampin) production, which was imported on a massive scale as a raw material for medicine in 1970s. Based on the production technology for the rifampin that he developed, he succeeded to enter into business by founding the first bioventure company in Korea, Yuhan Chemical Co., Ltd. Back then, he developed the technology needed for Korea, making him a scientist who devoted himself to the development of the Korean science as well of the industry.
Researcher, venture entrepreneur and policy-maker for Korean bioscience
During 1980s, Korea when prepared science and technology policies along with the 5th Economic Development Plan. Professor Han believed that the bioindustry lagged behind the traditional technologies such as foods and fermentation and he prepared a report, "Study on R&D plan establishment for fostering bioscience and bioengineering technologies" (1981), which provided policy directions for the bioscience technology area. According to the report, which was the start of Korea's modern bioengineering and bioindustry policies, the government prepared R&D budget for bioengineering area for the first time and the bioengineering area was included in the main agenda of the government. As a result, the Law on Fostering Genetic Engineering (currently, Law on Fostering Bioengineering) was passed and a Genetic Engineering Center (currently, Korea Research Institute of Bioscience and Biotechnology) was founded.
He took the position of the founding President and he contributed to the establishment of a basis for Korean bioengineering research, enhancing R&D capabilities in genetic engineering and spreading these technologies. Also, during the 1988 Seoul Olympics, he served at the Doping Control Center and established analysis technique for 99 kinds of drugs. During that time, he made an original development of analysis technique for beta-blocker and diuretic, successfully implementing the drug test. The technique enhanced Korea's capabilities in drug testing, and broadened the basis for precise analysis of substances.
Started the genetic engineering boom and bio-venture boom in Korea
In 2000, he founded Proteogen Co., Ltd. which developed protein chips and proteomics technology, directly participating in the development of leading biotechnologies at the forefront of bioindustry. The next year, he founded the Korea Bio Venture Association, contributing to promoting industrialization of the basic technologies in the bioengineering area. In 2011, he led the establishment of the Korea Biotechnology Industry Organization, integrating existing organizations of Korea Bio Venture Association, Korea Biotechnology Research Association, and Korea Bio Industry Association. He continues to make efforts for the development of the Korea bio pharmaceutical industry today as Honorary President of the integrated organization.
He also paid attention to the development of convergence technologies via the integration of biosciences, engineering and medical sciences, establishing the Korea Medical Engineering Association and the Korea Bio Information Association. He served as Technical Committee Member and Head of STEPI R&D Planning & Management Unit, he established the management framework for initial stage R&D of Leading Technology Development Project (G7 Project) and he contributed to the expansion of supporting bioengineering as a national project, leading the planning of the 'Biotech 2000' project.
President Han actively participated in quality research activities even under the poor conditions in 1970s and 1980s. He published over 130 papers concerning enzyme engineering, applied microbiology and bioscience fields. He acquired more than 50 patents both in Korea and overseas, including one for 'Biological process of rifamycin derivatives'. He also published over 90 editorials and policy proposal articles, such as 'Development of Industrial Society and Role of Bioscience', that greatly contributed to policy formation for fostering bioscience R&D and technology distribution.