LAKER project


Introducing

The purpose of “Drunken Moon Lake Integrated Scientific Research Platform” is to strengthen academic cooperation between the College of Science and top academic research organizations around the world, to raise the College's research level and establish the leading position in academic research fields, thereby enhancing academic reputation internationally.

“Drunken Moon Lake Integrated Scientific Research Platform” - Cooperative Innovation Projects Application Guidelines has been laid down the in accordance with the “Aim for the Top University Project” and the five other self-funded promotion plans. The guidelines have been implemented on the day they are publicly announced, after being approved in the 2701st University Administrative Meeting, January 17, 2012. Two project applications have been approved by the review conference in March, 2012 and implemented since April, 2012.

College of Science, National Taiwan University "Drunken Moon Lake Integrated Scientific Research Platform" Chronicle of Important Events

Date Event Remarks
Jan. 2012 “Drunken Moon Lake Integrated Scientific Research Platform”- Cooperative Innovation Projects Application Guidelines were implemented on the day they are publicly announced, after being approved by the College Affairs Meeting and the University Administrative Meeting. Approved in the 2nd College Affairs Meeting, December 29, 2011.
Approved in the 2701st University Administrative Meeting, January 17, 2012.
Feb. 2012 For the first time, project applications for “Drunken Moon Lake Integrated Scientific Research Platform” were accepted. The application deadlines are February 15 and September 15.
Because of the first time acceptance of application, the deadline was extended to early March.
Mar. 2012 Two project applications for “Drunken Moon Lake Integrated Scientific Research Platform” were approved by the first review conference. In the first review conference on March 28 , 2012, two projects have been approved as follow:
“The integrated research on Taiwan cloud-fog forest transition” (cooperating with Academia Sinica)
“Biogeochemistry of Hg and trace elements in the contemporary corals in relation to environmental changes”(cooperating with Academia Sinica and WHOI)
Apr. 2012 “Drunken Moon Lake Integrated Scientific Research Platform” projects have been implemented from April 1st, 2012. Project Execution Period:
April 1st, 2012 – December 31st, 2013
August 2012 One project applications for “Drunken Moon Lake Integrated Scientific Research Platform” were approved by the second review conference. In the second review conference on August 29 , 2012, one project have been approved as follow:
“Quantum Transport in Molecular Electronic Switches” (cooperating with Academia Sinica)
Project Execution Period:
August 1st, 2012 – December 31st, 2013
Dec. 2012 Two projects application for “Drunken Moon Lake Integrated Scientific Research Platform” were approved by the third review conference. In the third review conference on December 26 , 2012, two projects have been approved as follow:
“Characterizing PriA and DnaC/DnaI proteins involved in DNA replication restart using combined structural, biochemical and single-molecule imaging approaches” (cooperating with Academia Sinica)
"How the nature generates nanoparticles in atmosphere and their properties" (cooperating with Academia Sinica)
Project Execution Period:
Jan. 1st, 2013 – December 31st, 2014
Mar. 2013 Three projects application for “Drunken Moon Lake Integrated Scientific Research Platform” were approved by the fourth review conference. In the fourth review conference on March 25 , 2013, three projects have been approved as follow:
“Group Decision Making in Social Networks” (cooperating with Academia Sinica)
"Analysis of ground displacements in Taipei area by using high resolution X-band SAR interferometry" (cooperating with Academia Sinica)
"Study on hysteresis of the solid state phase transition of tetrakis(imidazole)cupper sulfate coordination polymer" (cooperating with Academia Sinica)
Project Execution Period:
April 1st, 2013 – December 31st, 2014
Mar. 2014 Three projects application for “Drunken Moon Lake Integrated Scientific Research Platform” were approved by the sixth review conference. In the sixth review conference on March 3 , 2014, three projects have been approved as follow:
“Structural and Functional Elucidation of the Novel Zn2+-Chelated Oligomeric Aggregates of Alzheimer's Amyloid-Beta Peptides” (cooperating with Academia Sinica)
"Developing Chemical Tools to Explore Pressing Plant Signaling Peptide Perception for Stress Regulation and Telomere Binding Proteins" (cooperating with Academia Sinica)
"Tau phosphorylation in Alzheimer’s disease: mass spectrometry and molecular imaging analysis    " (cooperating with Academia Sinica)
"Investigation of the neural basis of reward-based decision making and reward prediction error using optogenetics in mice" (cooperating with Academia Sinica)
"The role of topography and human land-use activities on tropical islands in modulating the intraseasonal variability of convective clouds and rainfall" (cooperating with Academia Sinica)
Project Execution Period:
Jan 1st, 2014 – December 31st, 2015

Project

No. Project Title Principal Investigator(PI) Execution Period
1 The integrated research on Taiwan cloud-fog forest transition Prof. Po-Hsiung Lin, Department of Atmospheric Sciences, National Taiwan University
Assistant Research Fellow, Dr. Sheng-Feng Shen, Biodiversity Research Center, Academia Sinica
April, 2012~ December, 2013
2 Biogeochemistry of Hg and trace elements in the contemporary corals in relation to environmental changes Associate Prof. Chun-Mao Tseng, Graduate Institute of Oceanography, National Taiwan University

Associate Research Fellow,
Dr. Shih-Chieh Hsu, Research Center for Environmental Changes, Academia Sinica

WHOI-Carl Lamborg
April, 2012~ December, 2013
3 Quantum Transport in Molecular Electronic Switches Prof. Goan, Hsi-Sheng
Department of Physics, National Taiwan University
Assistant Research Fellow Chao-Cheng Kaun, Research Center for Applied Sciences (RCAS), Academia Sinica
August, 2012~December,2012
4 Characterizing PriA and DnaC/DnaI proteins involved in DNA replication restart using combined structural, biochemical and single-molecule imaging approaches Associate Prof. Hung-Wen Li
Department of Chemistry, National Taiwan University
Research Fellow Chwan-Deng Hsiao, Institute of Molecular Biology, Academia Sinica
Jan., 2013~December,2013
5 How the nature generates nanoparticles in atmosphere and their properties Assistant Prof. Hui-Ming Hung
Department of Atmospheric Science, National Taiwan University
Research Fellow
Charles C.-K. Chou, Research Center for Environmental Changes, Academic Sinica 
Jan., 2013~December,2013
6 Group Decision Making in Social Networks Associate Prof. Hsu, Yung-Fong
Department of Psychology, National Taiwan University
Assistant Research Fellow Yen-Sheng Chiang, Institute of Sociology, Academic Sinica
April, 2013~ December, 2014
7 Analysis of ground displacements in Taipei area by using high resolution X-band SAR interferometry Prof. Jyr-Ching Hu
Department of Geosciences, National Taiwan University
Associate Research Scientist Horng-Yue, Chen, Institute of Earth Sciences, Academic Sinica
Dr. Fabio Bovenga
CNR & DIFBA (Italy)
April, 2013~ December, 2014
8 Study on hysteresis of the solid state phase transition of tetrakis(imidazole)cupper sulfate coordination polymer Prof. Ying-Chih Lin
Department of Chemistry, National Taiwan University
Research Fellow Ling-Kang Liu, Institute of Chemistry, Academic Sinica
April, 2013~ December, 2014
9 Structural and Functional Elucidation of the Novel Zn2+-Chelated Oligomeric Aggregates of Alzheimer's Amyloid-Beta Peptides Prof. Chan, Jerry Chun Chung
Department of Chemistry, National Taiwan University
Assistant Research Fellow Chen, Yun-Ru Ruby, Genomics Research Center, Academic Sinica
Jan., 2014~ June, 2015
10 Developing Chemical Tools to Explore Pressing Plant Signaling Peptide Perception for Stress Regulation and Telomere Binding Proteins Prof. Chen, Chao-Tsen
Department of Chemistry, National Taiwan University
Assistant Research Fellow Chen, Yet-Ran
Africultural Biotechnology Research Center, Academic Sinica
Jan., 2014~ Dec., 2015
11 Tau phosphorylation in Alzheimer’s disease: mass spectrometry and molecular imaging analysis    Assistant Prof. Tai, Hwan-Ching
Department of Chemistry, National Taiwan University
Research Fellow Chen, Yu-Ju, Institute of Chemisity, Academic Sinica
Prof. Bradley T. Hyman, Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School
Jan., 2014~ Dec., 2015
12 Investigation of the neural basis of reward-based decision making and reward prediction error using optogenetics in mice Associate Prof. Lai, Wen-Sung
Department of Psychology, National Taiwan University
Associate Research Fellow
Chen, Chih-Cheng,
Institute of BioMedical Sciences, Academic Sinica
Jan., 2014~ Dec., 2015
13 The role of topography and human land-use activities on tropical islands in modulating the intraseasonal variability of convective clouds and rainfall Assistant Prof. Chen, Wei-Ting
Department of Atmospheric Sciences, National Taiwan University
Assistant Research Fellow Lee, Shih-Yu,
Research Center for Environmental Changes, Academic Sinica 
Jan., 2014~ Dec., 2015

Project Results

  1. The integrated research on Taiwan cloud-fog forest transition
    • Vision:
      Cloud forest is a specific ecosystem in tropic and sub-tropic region. The interaction of Cloud/fog and forest creates a solar-dimming with humid environment for species, and plays an important role of hydrological cycle on surface. The「integrated investigation on Taiwan cloud-forest (IITCF)」is an interdisciplinary project grouped by researchers from the department of Atmospheric Sciences, Geography, the institute of oceanography in College of Science (COS), National Taiwan University and the Biodiversity Research Center, Academia Sinica. Intensive in-field investigation will be held in 2012 ~2013 and to provide a pioneer demonstration for COS innovation program.
    • Project results:
      Tropical and subtropical cloud forests covered by a high incidence of low-level cloud at the canopy level. Since the ecosystems usually develop on the saddles of mountains, where moisture introduced by settling clouds is effectively retained, it becomes an important water source for its downstream ecosystems and a habitat for various floras and faunas. In addition, due to the uniqueness of biophysical settings, these are the major regions for cash crop plantation such as tea and coffee. In Taiwan, more than 50% of the forests immerse in the cloud band, where are crucial for biodiversity conservation, local and regional economics and sustainable management. Therefore, the main foci of this integrative project are (i) to characterize the spatio-temporal distribution of cloud/fog zone; (ii) to develop a spectroscopic approach to assess the quality high mountain oolong tea, the most well-known cash crop in Taiwan:
      Sub-project 1: Cloud/fog monitoring with ceilometer Lidar at middle Taiwan and its relationship to the burying beetles ecology
      One ceilometer Lidar (CL31) which is used to investigate the time evolution of cloud/fog was purchased in summer of 2012. The ceilometer Lidar was arranged to join the summer field course and short-term monitor at NTU mountain farm (Meifong) where the burying beetles were studied by BRCAS (Biodiversity Research Center, Academia Sinica). All the researching participants gave their lectures in classroom, and joined the field trip with students to visit the cloud/fog research sites operated by BRCAS and NTU. During 2013 summertime, this CL31 kept its observation at NTU mountain farm (Chun-Yang valley) and joined the second term of summer course again. Another CL31 was purchased by BRCAS in the end of 2013. These two CL31 will have union cloud/fog observation campaign at western and eastern side of Central Mountain region in 2014. These ground-base remote sensing have collected the unique information on the spatio-temporal distribution of cloud/fog layer at Taiwan.
      Sub-project 2: Spectroscopic analysis of high mountain oolong tea quality
      The quality of oolong tea is mainly determined by the leaf biochemical components: theanine, caffeine, epigllocatechin (EGC) and epigllocatechin gallate (EGCG). Conventionally, the assessment heavily relies on destructive lab analyses, which are not only lab intensive but time consuming. Spectroscopy is a rapid and low-cost method for indirect precise estimation of leaf biochemical components derived via their unique absorption features within the optical range (350 to 2500 nm). Therefore, the objective of the study was to investigate the feasibility of spectroscopy to assess the quality of fresh oolong tea at the leaf and canopy scales. We used a handheld spectroradiometer with an integrating sphere to measure leaf reflectance values of oolong tea (n = 232) along an elevation gradient (570–1955 m asl); theanine, caffeine, EGC, and EGCG were extracted using destructive lab analyses. We performed partial least squares regression to establish the relationship between reflectance values and these biochemical components. We also used a canopy radiative transfer model (SAIL) to simulate canopy reflectance variations under a wide range of sun and view angles to assess the feasible of the predictions at the canopy scale. We found that it was possible (r2 ≥ 0.813, p < 0.001) to use certain absorption features to estimate caffeine (513, 555, 683,714,733, 1416 nm), theanine (532, 703, 737, 1393 nm), EGC (513, 554, 682, 714, 1416, 1828 nm) and EGCG (513, 554, 682, 1416, 1688 nm) after including samples from other plant species (15 species) without these components. The predictability was satisfactory in general (r2 ≥ 0.4) at the canopy scale and in most cases spectra can explain more than 75% of variations of caffeine, EGC and EGCG. This study demonstrates that it is possible to utilize spectroscopy to evaluate oolong tea quality, and shades the light on large scale tea quality assessment using airborne or spaceborne remote sensing.
       
  2. Biogeochemistry of Hg and trace elements in the contemporary corals in relation to environmental changes
    • Vision:
      This is a joint Taiwan-US project to investigate the concentration of mercury (Hg) as well as other metals in the annual bands of hard corals and to reconstruct past environmental change. The goals of this project are firstly to develop a new and accurate method for the determination of Hg at very low concentrations in the coral skeletons (CaCO3), then to analyze the Hg isotope with element ratios in samples to have an understanding of seawater Hg concentrations and its historical evolution with environmental relations; Finally, the international comparison of sample analysis will be implemented through bilateral labs and further applied the method to the worldwide samples in different marine environments. Our hope is to have the first and new findings that will be of international importance and likely garner publication in a prominent journal. During collaborative period, we'll initiate bilateral education and technique exchanges. We'll send students and technicians mutually and interchange trainings and studies. As a result, new scientists will be raised up to have substantial contributions on marine environments.
    • Project results:
      A one-year half project for biogeochemistry of Hg and trace elements in the corals related to environmental changes was proposed. The main purpose of this proposal is to determine Hg levels in coral skeletons and then reconstruct seawater Hg concentrations and pollution evolution. We have firstly developed a technique that combines a high temperature quartz furnace with isotope dilution-inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometry (ID-ICP-MS) for the determination of low-level Hg stored in the annual CaCO3 bands found in coral skeletons. The practical method detection limit was excellent about 2 fmol with a reproducibility of <15% (RSD). We further applied this method to the determination of Hg concentrations in the corals collected from Castle Harbour, Bermuda. The temporal reconstructions of seawater Hg concentrations implied by the coral record show a decline in the Hg concentration from high values of about 4 pmol g-1 to current values around 1 pmol g-1 in the Harbour throughout the period of record (1950 – 2008) associated with the construction of the airport on St. David’s Island. Additionally, we get involved in the studies of the biogeochemistry and air-sea exchange of Hg in the marginal seas around Taiwan (e.g., South China Sea (SCS)). The results show the gaseous elemental Hg concentrations elevated 2~3 times global background values in relation to the East Asian monsoon cycles. Annually, the SCS serves as a source of Hg0 to the atmosphere of 390±60 kmol Hg y-1(~2.6% of global emission in ~1% of global ocean area), suggesting high regional Hg pollution impacts from the surrounding Mainland. The preliminary work provided the basis for reconstructions of Hg contamination in relation to the past environmental changes. Additional future work could also include to definitively demonstrate the correlation between water concentrations and preservation in corals.
      Keywords: South China Sea, Coralline Hg, Hg pollution, Hg biogeochemistry, air-sea exchange flux
       
  3. Quantum Transport in Molecular Electronic Switches
    • Vision:
      The continued trend for miniaturization of electronic devices will ultimately lead to viable nanoscale electronics, possibly through the approach of molecular electronics. The successful development of efficient molecular electronic switches is the key of this evolution. This proposal will try to understand the particular electronic properties of molecular switches and control the quantum transport of electrons in low dimensional nanostructures for applications in nanoelectronics.
    • Project results:
      A key issue involving the progress of molecular electronics lies in how effectively we can control and utilize the desired structure-function relationship at the nanoscale, and reduce the gap between theory and experiment. For this purpose, a detailed understanding of the electron transport properties of a single molecule junction, consisting of a molecule bridging two electrodes, is required. Using first-principles calculations based on the density functional theory and the nonequilibrium Green’s functions approach, we show that chiral single-wall gold nanotubes can also form stable single-molecule junctions. While their conductance values are similar with the ones based on achiral gold nanowires, a host of diversity appears in the respective transmission spectra, which can be controlled by the electrode chirality as well as the molecular character. Our results, having agreed quantitatively with measured data, not only shed light into the viable junction geometries but also into their novel conduction mechanisms. We also study the effect of bias voltages on the electron transport properties of a hexanedithiolate (HDT, SC6H12S) molecule embedded between two achiral gold nanowires (electrodes). We calculate the transmission spectra and current-voltage curve, and find that the transmission peak near the Fermi energy level starts to split into two when the bias voltage is above 0.3 V. This gives rise to the nonlinear behavior in the calculated current-voltage curve of the HDT molecular junction system. The fitted curve obtained using the Simmons' model with experimentally measured parameters match the calculated current-voltage curve quite well for bias voltage below 0.5V. This indicates that our calculations have direct implication to the conduction mechanism of the HDT molecular junction with the bias voltage applied. In addition, we develop a correct method to calculate the non-Markovian two-time correlation functions (CF’s) and finite-frequency noise power spectra based on the non-Markovian quantum state diffusion (NMQSD) or diffusive stochastic Schrodinger equation approach. This powerful NMQSD method allows us to calculate the exact current-current two-time CF and thus the exact current noise power spectrum for electron transport through a quantum dot that bridges between two electrodes. Our method, in contrast to the widely used MacDonald's formula that we think is valid only in the Markovian domain, will find significant applications for electron transport in nanostructures or molecular electronics that involve non-Markovian processes.
       
  4. Characterizing PriA and DnaC/DnaI proteins involved in DNA replication restart using combined structural, biochemical and single-molecule imaging approaches.
    • Vision:
      Replication forks formed at oriC, the bacterial origin of replication, often get stalled and are unable to complete the genome synthesis because of encountering with damaged DNA templates that either stalls or collapses the fork. These stalled replication forks must be efficiently repaired to allow replication of the genome to resume. This “DNA replication restart” process is driven by a group of primosomal proteins. This NTU-AS collaborative project aims to define the functional and structural mechanism of PriA and DnaC/I involved in replication restart. We will use combined biochemical and biophysical tools, such as X-ray structural studies and novel single-molecule experiments in this integrated collaborative project.
    • Project results:
      Replication forks often get stalled and are unable to complete the genome replication because of damaged DNA templates. These stalled replication forks must be efficiently repaired for successful genome replication. A group of primosomal proteins is responsible for this “DNA replication restart” process.  In this NTU-AS collaborative project, we developed single-molecule experiments that allow the characterization of the helicase activity of individual PriA helicases.  We also initiated the structural characterization of DnaC/DnaI complex using electron microscopy.  The combined biochemical and biophysical tools developed in this integrated joint project allow us to elucidate the molecular mechanism of this complex replication restart process.
  5. How the nature generates nanoparticles in atmosphere and their properties  
    • Vision:
      Aerosol particles play an important role in climate due to their efficacy in absorbing and scattering solar radiation and their ability to act as cloud condensation nuclei. In the atmosphere, aerosol particles are emitted both directly from the surface of the Earth, such as dust and sea salt particles, and indirectly by oxidation reactions of volatile species that can produce less-volatile products via nucleation and condensation processes. In order to understand the required parameters for the nucleation events and their impacts on the climate and human health, this study plans to integrate the field studies with laboratory experiments to investigate the new particle formation with detail environment parameters such as the gas phase composition for three different environmental sites in addition to characterize the optical properties and the ability to form cloud condensation nuclei of nanometer-scaled aerosol particles.
    • Project results:
      In this study, we investigated the effect of different wavelength ranges, λ=184.9 nm and λ=254 nm, and different gases in reaction tube on photochemical reactions and nucleation. Scanning mobility particle sizer (SMPS) was used to measure the numbers and sizes of new particles. The experimental results show that particle formation only happens when hydroxyl radical was produced. When the relative humidity increase, the numbers and volumes of new particle increase, but the numbers and volumes of new particle would decrease when ozone increase. We found that the new particle formation will disappear when the high concentration of hydrogen peroxide and methanol in the air flow. In the modified experimental setup, hydrogen peroxide, methanol and dimehtyl amine depressed the new particle formation while, isoprene (~ 10ppm), SO2 (>500 ppm) and NH3 (> 300 ppm) enhanced the total number concentration and also the particle mode size.

      ↑Isoprene (~ 10 ppm) showed a less concentration than SO2 (>500 ppm) required to enhanced the particle total number concentration and mode size.
        
      The simulative results show that the numbers and volumes of new particles increase with the rise of relative humidity due to more complexes of sulfuric acid and methanol are produced, and decrease with the increase of ozone concentration which may relate to the decrease of methanol. On the other hand, nucleation was suppressed when aerating air with high concentration of hydrogen peroxide (> 20 ppm) and methanol (> 1786 ppm) which may due to the lack of complex of sulfuric acid or methanol. Therefore, we suggest that complex of sulfuric acid and methanol maybe a precursor of new particle. In the field campaign, the observed new particle formation has higher correlation with the ratio of monterpenes/NOx, which is consistent with new particle formation at relative low concentration of isoprene.
      Keywords: UV light, OH radical, relative humidity, ozone, hydrogen peroxide, methanol, isoprene, sulfur dioxide, ammonia
       
  6. Group Decision Making in Social Networks  
    • Vision:
      The research of group decision-making and whether it is superior to individual decision-making has inspired discussions in ecology, economics, psychology and sociology.
      In an inter-disciplinary endeavor, we are studying collective decisions made in networked environments, echoing with the emergence of social media that connects one directly or
      indirectly with another more conveniently and frequently in a society. Conducting experiments both in the laboratory and in the field, we are investigating how people perceive others in a network and in turn how collective behavior emerges from the interaction of individuals embedded in networks.
    • Project results:
      In this project we conducted a series of laboratory experiments on how modes of group decision-making influence the production of public goods. We recruited 225 human subjects to participate in the experiment held at the National Taiwan University from late October to mid-November in 2013. The study shows that people behave differently across experimental treatments: Public goods were contributed the least when people made their own decisions while they were highly produced when people were allowed to select group representatives to make decisions on their behalf, suggesting that the design of political systems makes a difference in how public goods were produced. One of the PIs also took the opportunity provided by the funding to visit collaborators at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign to wrap up a (different but related) project of applying a stochastic semiorder model to paneled attitudinal thermometer data. Especially, we provide a response mechanism to capture the heterogeneity of people in the translation of semiorder preferences into thermometer ratings.
       
  7. Analysis of ground displacements in Taipei area by using high resolution X-band SAR interferometry  
    • Vision:
      The project will use high-resolution X-band Radar images from recently launched satellites with persistent scatterers InSAR technique combining with LiDAR-derived DEM, continuous GPS array and precise leveling to monitor the land subsidence, active Shanjiao fault and Tatun volcano group in the Taipei area. The project will significantly contribute to better understanding of the geologic hazard processes and hazard mitigation in the metropolitan Taipei city.
    • Project results:
      Located at the northern part of Taiwan, Taipei is the most densely populated city and the center of politic, economic, and culture of this island. North of the Taipei basin, the active Tatun volcano group might have the eruptive potential to result in a severe hazard is only 15 km away from the capital Taipei. Furthermore, there are several active faults located in and around the Taipei basin. Therefore, it is not only an interesting scientific topic but also a strong social impact to better understanding of the geohazards and mitigation in the metropolitan Taipei city. In this study, we use 18 high resolution X-band SAR images from the new generation COSMO-SkyMed (CSK) constellation for associating with leveling and GPS data to monitor surface deformation in Taipei area. The higher resolution of stripmap mode of CSK SAR images (3m x 3m) lead to an increase of the density of the measurable targets relative to those retrieved from medium resolution datasets (C- and L-band). Besides, the more frequent revisit of the same area provides massive datasets to avoid the baseline limitation and diminish temporal decorrelation. According to these advantages, a delicate deformation velocity map has been performed. It’s noticeable that the LOS rate of 5-10 mm/yr is observed in Tatung volcano area. The most land subsidence area is located in Luzou and Wukou area in which the rate is about 15 mm/yr and 10 mm/yr respectively in the whole dataset from Sep 2011 to July 2013. However, dramatic change in surface deformation was revealed in the Taipei basin in two different time spans: Sep 2011 - Sep 2012 and Sep 2012 - July 2013. This result shows good agreement with continuous GPS and precise leveling survey data and represents high correlation with groundwater table. This high correlation indicated that one meter groundwater level change could induce about 0.9 and 1.2 mm surface deformation change in Luzou and Wukou area respectively. To access the activity of the Shanjiao Fault, it is important to discriminate tectonic movement from anthropogenic or seasonal effect in Taipei basin.

       
      >Figure. 1. (a) Ascending COSMO-SkyMed satellite and its LOS direction. (b) Location for the COSMO-SkyMed used in this study. (c) Slant range displacement rate of the processed PSs in the northern Taiwan area overlapped on the hill-shaded background. Reference point is in Wuku station (star in circle). Red dashed lines mark the active Shanchiao Fault. In time span 2012/9-2013/7, the significant land subsidence occurred in Luzou and Wukou area.
      >Figure. 2. (a) Slant range displacement rate of time span 2011/9-2012/9. (b)(d) Comparison between the leveling data and PS-InSAR result along the central of the Taipei Basin. Black rectangles are the locations of benchmarks in leveling route. Both PS and leveling data are relative to the westernmost benchmark (WUKU) of the profile.(c) Slant range displacement rate of time span 2012/9-2013/7. One meter groundwater level change could induce about 0.9 and 1.6 mm surface deformation change in Luzou and Wukou area respectively. To access the activity of the Shanjiao Fault, it is crucial to discriminate tectonic movement from anthropogenic or seasonal effect in Taipei basin.
  8. Study on hysteresis of the solid state phase transition of tetrakis(imidazole)cupper sulfate coordination polymer 
    • Vision:
      The study is on the preparation of solid state [Cu(Imidazole)4][SO4] coordination polymer, structure analysis, and characterization on the novel hysteresis during the solid state phase transition. We shall correlate the enthalpy change, EPR spectroscopic change, Raman spectroscopic change and structural change under varying temperature and pressure ranges during which the hysteresis occurs.
    • Project results:
      This research project was first initiated by observation of the hysteresis phase transition of a copper imidazole complex by crystal structure determination at various temperatures. We modified substituent of the imidazole ring aiming at better understanding of the structure and the coordination geometry change of the metal center in copper complexes in order to find the controlling factors of the hysteresis. A series of copper(II) complexes 2a-e and 4a-c were obtained from self-assembly of the corresponding copper(II) salts with imidazoles and thiazoles with different substituents, and their structures were determined by X-ray diffraction method. The imidazole ring with substituents at nitrogen atom (such as methyl, vinyl, acetyl group) leads to formation of 1-D polymeric chain linked by two O atoms of sulfate anion. For the imidazole ring with a methyl group at either 2- or 4-position, the coordination geometry around the copper center becomes a square pyramid. However, no phase transition is observed for all these copper complexes.


      For the thiazole ligand, the copper complex has two different coordination geometries for the metal center. In a square pyramid coordination mode, four thiazole ligands are located at four equatorial sites and one oxygen atom of the sulfate anion (SO42-) occupies the axial site of the Cu center. In a distorted octahedron coordination mode, each [Cu(thiazole)42+] unit is linked by two O atoms of the sulfate anion displaying polymeric chains. However, the thiazole complex shows no hysteresis phase transition. By changing the sulfate to acetate, the copper complex is six-coordinated by four oxygen atoms of two acetate anions and two nitrogen atoms of the imidazole displaying an octahedral geometry and shows no hysteresis phase transition.

       
  9. Structural and Functional Elucidation of the Novel Zn2+-Chelated Oligomeric Aggregates of Alzheimer's Amyloid-Beta Peptides   
    • Vision:
      Amyloids, which are associated with a number of human health problems such as the Alzheimer’s disease, Huntington’s disease, type II Diabetes and the “Mad Cow Disease”, has become the topic of frontier-science research. By comparing the structural information obtained for the oligomeric state of Aβ proteins and those reported for the mature fibril state, we could characterize the early stage of the fibrillization pathway of these proteins. We anticipate that our work can provide unique information crucial for the development of medical treatments for these neuron damaging diseases.   
    • Project results:
      In this project, we found that Zn ions can be used to stabilize the oligomeric aggregates of Aβ peptides. The stabilized aggregates were found to be the on-pathway intermediate of the fibrillization process. A series of biochemical assays including Ca2+ influx, mitochondria function, ROS, caspase-3 activity, TUNEL assay, and annexin-V staining had been used to confirm that ZnAβ40 is more cytotoxic than the oligomeric aggregates formed in the absence of Zn2+ ions. Solid-state 13C NMR measurements indicated that the structure of ZnAβ40 oligomers is very heterogeneous but it has similar structural features to Aβ40 fibrils at the molecular level. We found that the backbone conformation of ZnAβ40 is consistent with the β-sheet/turn/β-sheet motif established for Aβ40 fibrils. On the other hand, the conformation of the sidechain carbons of ZnAβ40 is significantly different from that of Aβ40 fibrils. The structural diversity of the sidechain carbons is also much larger for ZnAβ40. In other words, Zn2+ ions do not interfere the folding of individual Aβ40 monomers but the presence of these divalent ions would prevent an efficient packing of neighboring Aβ40 peptides. Hence, the aggregation pathway of ZnAβ40 cannot proceed to the fibrillar state as in the absence of Zn2+ ions. It requires further study to clarify whether the elevated cytotoxicity of ZnAβ40 is related to its structural diversity.

       
  10. Developing Chemical Tools to Explore Pressing Plant Signaling Peptide Perception for Stress Regulation and Telomere Binding Proteins    
    • Vision:
      In this proposal, we aim to develop tailor-made telomere, SolA11, and Systemin photoaffinity probes in the combination of high sensitivity and resolving power MS-based OMICS platform to confidently identify and purify their corresponding receptor proteins. Furthermore, profiling the corresponding binding/reacting sites and exploiting the physiological roles of these proteins will be sought. As a result, the studies will contribute to understand the regulatory mechanisms of telomerase activity and improve plant resistance to pathogens.
    • Project results:
      A series of G-quadruplex (G-4)-directing alkylating agents, BMVC-CnM (n= 2, 3, and 6), were designed and synthesized to integrate the 3,6-bis(1-methyl-4-vinylpyridinium)carbazole diiodide (BMVC) with aniline mustard in different length of spacers. Remarkable alkylating reactivity (33~42%) toward G-4 DNA, in comparison to other DNA categories (<5%), and excellent specificity under competition condition were observed by high-resolution denaturing polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis (PAGE). Various telomeric G-4 structures (hybrid-2 type and antiparallel) and an oncogene promoter, c-MYC (parallel) were conducted to react with BMVC-CnM, and the hybrid adducts were hydrolyzed by chemical and enzymatic treatment. Our results indicate that alkylating-site selectivity is greatly modulated by the length of linkers and structure of telomeric G-4. With the aid of the mass identification, the alkylated adducts were further characterized and the mechanistic action of bisalkylation was revealed for the first time. Moreover, a new tunable alkylation warhead capable of effectively crosslinked G-quadruplexes was developed. Preliminary results indicate that it exhibits a great potential to develop into a new cancer therapeutics. The stability and site-selective crosslinking capacity of BMVC-C3M and BMVC-SW provides a credible tool for the structural and functional characterization of G-4 DNAs in biological systems.
      a)

      b)

      Figure 1 a) Chemical structures of BMVC-CnM/SW and G-4-directed DNA alkylation; b) Stepwise mechanistic action of bisalkylation
       
  11. Tau phosphorylation in Alzheimer’s disease: mass spectrometry and molecular imaging analysis   
    • Vision:
      Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is the most common cause of senile dementia, and one of the greatest healthcare challenges facing Taiwan’s aging society. The pathological hallmarks of AD are senile plaques made of Aβ and neurofibrillary tangles made of tau. The complex proteomic alterations associated with AD-affected synapses will be studied by advanced mass spectrometric methods, looking into mouse AD models to see how Aβ and tau interact at synapses. We will also apply unique single-synapse imaging methods to study the localization of disease-associated proteins. Altogether, this project will enhance our understanding of neurochemical changes during early stages of AD.
    • Project results:
      This project is a collaboration among three research groups: Hwan-Ching Tai from Department of Chemistry, National Taiwan University, Yu-Ju Chen from Institute of Chemistry, Academia Sinica, and Bradley Hyman from Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School. The subject is protein aggregation pathology in Alzheimer’s disease, and specific topic us tau abnormalities at neuronal synapses in human patients. After two years of collaboration, we have achieved the following goals.
      (1) Using the human brain bank at Massachusetts Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center, we isolated neuronal synapses from the cortex of Alzheimer patients. We used immunofluorescence imaging to establish the synaptic distribution of misfolded and hyperphosphorylated tau proteins. This work has been published in Acta Neuropathologica Communications, 2014, 2, 146.
      (2) Using the APP/PS1 mouse model of Alzheimer’s disease, we studied the mechanism of Aβ-induced tauopathy at neuronal synapses. We found key hyperphosphorylation sites on tau to be T181, S199, S202, S396, S400, S404, S416, and the upregulated tau kinase was found to be CDK5. This work has been submitted as a manuscript to an international journal.
      (3) In regular mouse neuronal synaptosomes, we applied super-resolution optical imaging to examine the spatial distribution of tau protein. We invented a new procedure for immunostaining, combined with total internal reflection fluorescence (TIRF) microscope and direct stochastic optical reconstruction microscopy (dSTORM), and imaged tau localization with 20 nm resolution (see figure below, in collaboration with Fan-Ching Chien, National Central University ).

       
  12. Investigation of the neural basis of reward-based decision making and reward prediction error using optogenetics in mice
    • Vision:
      Optogenetics is a powerful new technique employed in neuroscience/biopsychology that uses a combination of techniques from optics and genetics to control the activity of individual neurons in living tissues or freely-moving animals. This groundbreaking new technique was chosen as the Method of the Year in 2010. The main research interest in my laboratory, the Laboratory of Integrated Neuroscience and Ethology (LINE, http://www.psy.ntu.edu.tw/LINE/), is to study the neurobiology of the mind from multi-disciplinary approaches. One of our research interests is to investigate higher cognitive functions and reward learning during decision making in both mice and human. In collaboration with Dr. Chih-Cheng Chen and his research team in the institute of Biomedical Sciences, Academia Sinica, we decide to work together and plan on establishing this cutting-edge new technique in Taiwan using genetically modified mice and adeno-associated viruses (AAV). We will apply this technique to study neural basis of reward-based decision making and neural circuit of pain relief in behaving animals. These studies are beneficial for the understanding of reward-based decision making and neural processes.
    • Project results:
      As described by Jeremy Bentham in 1789, “Nature has placed mankind under the governance of two sovereign masters, pain and pleasure. It is for them alone to point out what we ought to do, as well as to define something we shall do”. Accordingly, reward and punishment can be considered as something an animal will work to achieve or avoid, thus effectively circumventing the hedonic aspect inherent in pleasure and pain. Pain (even itch) relief can be considered as a positive hedonic feeling of pleasure. From a hedonic aspect, every decision making process can produce a final choice to achieve reward or avoid undesirable pain (or itch). However, the mechanism underlying reward-based decision making of pain (or itch) relief is largely unknown. The objective of this research is to probe the neurobiology of reward-based decision making associated with pain/itch relief. We used optogenetic approaches to elucidate the neural circuits involved in pain and itch relief, and how the dopaminergic system is involved and modulated in the process of pain and itch relief. In the 2-year grant period, we successfully developed optogenetic models to show itch relief is a reward-based behavior. Combined the results we have in the itch sensation and itch relief, we can conclude that (1) the dopaminergic rewarding system is involved in itch relief; (2) activation of affective touch (via anti-itch mechanoreceptor afferents) shows conditioned place preference and inhibits itch; (3) itch (combined itch sensation and itch relief) cannot generate conditioned place avoidance; (4) itch relief can be achieved via optical stimulation at thalamus ASIC1a neurons in ASIC1a-Cre::LMO3 mice. Thus, we further hypothesize that itch can generate conditioned place avoidance when the scratching becomes ineffective (e.g., in ASIC1a KO). In that ASIC1a-Cre::LMO3::ASIC1af/f, we will be able to test the reward-based decision making behaviors in a operant system when the testing mice are insulted with a prutitogen. Findings from this study will shed light on the understanding of the neural basis of itch relief-induced pleasure in the brain and the development of new therapy for itch relief.
      Keywords: itch, itch relief, reward-based decision making, dopamine, ASIC, mouse models, optogenetics

       
  13. The role of topography and human land-use activities on tropical islands in modulating the intraseasonal variability of convective clouds and rainfall
    • Vision:
      Tropical convection can significantly impact the ecosystems and the livelihood of the topical countries, including some of the most crucial biodiversity hotspots in the world. The topography and land properties of the islands, on the other hand, can also influence the convective activities. In this NTUCoS-RCEC joint project we will examine the interactions between island topography, land use changes, and MJO convection over the Maritime Continent area, by taking advantage of a newly developed multi-satellite data set, as well as the state-of-the-art SP-CAM global cloud-resolving climate model.    
    • Project results:
      The present study investigates the climate responses to deforestation in the Maritime Continent (MC) using climate simulations and analyses of high-resolution observational data sets. The interactions of tropical convection with island topography and large-scale environment are also explored. The MC region is known for its rich biodiversity. Over the past decades, MC is one of the areas of which the land cover has undergone the most dramatic change owing to human activities. The frequency and intensity of tropical convection has direct impacts on the ecology of the MC islands, as well as on the agriculture and economy of the MC countries. On the other hand, when convection systems passing by these islands, their structure and intensity may be altered by the topography, land surface processes, and anthropogenic land use changes of the islands. The various convection phenomena over the tropics, especially the diurnal cycle convections and the intraseasonal oscillations, which are typified by eastward propagating waves with periods between 30-60 days, are the key research issues that have drawn increasing attentions. Improving the scientific understandings to these tropical convection phenomena and enhancing the capability to accurately represent them in numerical models will greatly benefit weather forecast, climate projections, and ultimately our knowledge to the global hydrological cycles. This requires the interdisciplinary collaborations among climate dynamics, land processes, moist convection, microphysics, climate simulation, and satellite remote sensing. The present study carried out idealized climate simulations using the state-of-the-art global convection-permitting global climate model, SPCAM. The results suggest that deforestation of MC can potentially cause local surface warming inland of the major islands and enhance local land-sea breeze convection over the coastal areas, while over the tropics the overall intensity of the intraseasonal oscillation is likely decreased. In addition, multiple satellite observation and high-resolution atmosphere and ocean reanalysis data sets have been analyzed to investigate the detail physical processes related to the island topographical effects on the intraseasonal oscillation, and the sensitivity of precipitation over MC to large-scale conditions associated with ENSO. Precious experiences on using the most advanced climate model and satellite data sets have been acquired through the work of this study. It also promotes the interdisciplinary research of climate and Earth system simulations in Taiwan, as well as international collaborations for key research topics on the interactions between tropical convection and complex topography.

      Figure 1. The present study investigates the climate responses to deforestation in the Maritime Continent  and the interactions of tropical convection with island topography and large-scale environment

       

Contact

Office Name Title Tel. E-mail
College of Science Shiuh-Tzung Liu Dean 3366-4181 stliu@ntu.edu.tw
College of Science Keng-Chen Liang Associate Dean 3366-4182 kcliang@ntu.edu.tw
College of Science Wen-Chin Huang  Associate Manager 3366-4186 wenchinhuang@ntu.edu.tw
College of Science Ming-Chih Lee Secretary 3366-4185 isalee@ntu.edu.tw
Academia Sinica Amy Fan Secretary 2789-9900 amyibc@gate.sinica.edu.tw

 

Copyright © 2012 College of Science, National Taiwan University
Address:6th Floor, Shih-liang Hall 1, Sec. 4, Roosevelt Road, Taipei, Taiwan 106, R.O.C.
Tel:886-2-3366-4187、886-2-23637562Fax:886-2-23622005E-mail:cos@ntu.edu.twVisited:1
Design by PPD
Admin