Major Accomplishments of KIST Over Its 40-Year History. Since its foundation over 40 years ago, KIST has remained faithful to its role as a comprehensive research institute supporting Korea's interests and has made active contributions to the growth of the nation's industrial base through advancements in science and technology. A review of its major accomplishments through the years offer a peek into the most significant events in its history.

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Project Name Development of mGRASP for mapping mammalian synaptic connectivity
Year 2012 Director Dr. Kim Jin Hyun

Development of mGRASP for mapping mammalian
synaptic connectivity


1. Content & Characteristic

O We developed the mGRASP(mammalian GFP Reconstitution Across Synaptic Partners) technology that enables mapping mammalian synaptic connectivity with light microscopy. mGRASP is based on non-fluorescent split-GFP that target to pre- and post-synaptic membrane and match the approximately 20 nm wide synaptic cleft of mammalian synapses, without modifying synaptogenesis. Furthermore, we developed a new computational program called neuTube for 3D-reconstructing neurons and analyzing synaptic distribution in complex neuronal networks.

-mGRASP will allow the rapid and precise characterization of synaptic connectivity of neuronal circuit in conditions of health and in neurological disorders that may be caused by abnormal synaptic connectivity (e.g. Autism).




2. Scientific value

O To date, accurately determining the presence and statistical characteristics of an actual synaptic connection requires neuronal reconstruction at the electron microscopic (EM) level.  Even with new advances in EM related methodology it remains a relatively time-consuming and volume-limited endeavor to reconstruct a significant region of neuronal tissue. mGARSP is developed to resolve synapses at the level of light microscopy and to map synaptic connections quickly, accurately, and with high spatial resolution.

3. Economic effect

O Accuracy and speed of mGRASP technology may provide a possibility of developing diagnosis and treatment of neurological disorders.  

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