On February 11, 2020, Shin Mi-kyung, a Professor of Global Biomedical Engineering at Sungkyunkwan University and an Alumni in Hanyang University (HYU), won the International Rising Talents of the 22nd L’OréalUNESCO for Women in Science Awards. In 2016, Professor Shin developed the self-sealing hemostatic needles, which prevents blood loss in the process of injection.
Q. Could you briefly introduce the field you are currently focusing on?
A. The field that my research is part of is dedicated to designing new “tissue adhesive” biomaterials using the chemical principles inherent in natural phenomena and applying them to various biomedical areas.
Q. Please explain the background of developing hemostatic needles.
A. The development of hemostatic needles started out of a small interest. I had a small talk with Professor Lee Hae-shin, the supervisor of my doctor’s degree, who said, “What would it be like if we didn’t have to lose blood every time we get injections?” Since then, we worked hard and succeeded in establishing a mechanism of hemostatic function.
Q. What are some methods to commercialize the hemostatic needles?
A. The first step of commercializing is to design the product so that it is appropriate to the clinical conditions and patients who need it. Secondly, administrative procedures such as permission for adhesive macromolecule materials used on the surface of the needle should be accompanied.
Q. How did you feel about winning the International Rising Talents of the 22nd L’Oréal-UNESCO for Women in Science Awards?
A. Although I couldn’t believe it, I was very proud and delighted as it was another motivation to do more meaningful and socially influential research. Most of all, being able to talk with other female scientists of the world and being selected as a rising scientist representing Asia made me feel more responsible for my career.
Q. Do you have your own research philosophy, belief, or goal?
A. My top priority in research is the “interest in the results of the experiment”. I think studying my field with a lot of curiosity would lead to meaningful results and help you not to be frustrated about unexpected results. It is also important to keep basic research ethics. My goal this year is to help and open the way for graduate students. Research-wise, it is to develop new biomedical application areas.
Q. Lastly, please give some advice to HYU students who dream of becoming scientists.
A. I used to be, and still am, very proud of being a Hanyangian. I would like to tell them to think positively and face the world confidently. Also, have all kinds of experiences that you can only have in college. In addition, have interest in the natural phenomena and environment around you. Every day, trivial thinking and discovery can be the driving force behind the research that advances science.