A Water-Soluble Extract from Actinidia arguta Manifests Its Effects on Helper T Cell Differentiation and Macrophage Activation
Actinida arguta is a type of hardy kiwi native to Japan, Korea, and some parts of China and Siberia. Few reports have indicated that consumption of Actinida arguta improved allergic diseases, such as asthma and atopic dermatitis. This project aims at uncovering the immunological roles of PG102, a water-soluble extract of Actinida arguta. The results show that PG102 has various functions in T cells and macrophages. PG102 upregulates regulatory T-cells, while Type 1 and Type 2 helper T cells are downregulated. PG102 exerts a completely different type of function in macrophages, inducing the activation of alternatively activated macrophages and favoring anti-oxidative responses. These findings accentuate the potential of PG102 being an agent for treating allergic diseases. Further characterization of PG102 in immunological aspects offers a novel way to efficiently mitigate the severity of allergic diseases by consumption of the naturally derived product.
Cultural and Social Influences on South Korea’s Suicide EpidemicResearch Summary:
South Korea is a country unlike any other, having gone through extremely rapid economic, social and political changes at a speed never before seen in history. Education, technology and economy in particular have flourished, making South Korea among the wealthiest, most educated and technologically advanced countries in the world. However, cultural and social attitudes and beliefs have not been able to match the speed of modernization, giving birth to a multitude of social problems that have risen as a result. Among these, suicide in particular has increased at alarming rates in recent years, particularly among the younger population, resulting in South Korea now having one of the highest rates in the world. In order to understand this problem, one must begin by developing a strong understanding of the economic, historical, social, and most importantly, cultural influences behind South Korea’s suicide epidemic.
Upon arriving in Seoul, Joanne began collaborating with professors from various universities throughout Korea in departments ranging from public health and cultural anthropology to clinical and social psychology. With their guidance, she started interviewing study participants as well as professionals currently conducting research on suicide in South Korea. Through these interviews and her own individual studies into Korea’s history, society and culture, Joanne began establishing a groundwork understanding of the issues surrounding suicide. She has been focusing in particular on how cultural and historical influences have shaped modern Korean society, and how these in turn affect social and familial relationships as well as attitudes regarding mental health. In addition, she has been studying the hypercompetitive educational and employment systems which have become a major source of stress and pressure in Korea today. Joanne hopes to come up with a two level solution to the suicide issue: one that can be implemented at the policy level, and a micro level solution that can be employed by individuals.
Emerging Engaged Buddhism in South Korea
Andrew Arnold will present on the recent emergence of “Engaged Buddhism” in Korea. In a creative research endeavor, Andrew will use the medium of film to portray his research on the movement here in Korea. Starting with the work of Vietnamese monk and peace activist Thích Nhất Hạnh, a new wave of Engaged Buddhism has inspired Buddhist monastics to take more socially and environmentally active roles in communities across Asia. Despite their long history of seclusion and remote religious practice in the mountains, Korean Buddhist monks and nuns have begun to follow this worldwide trend, reentering the political and social arena to stand up for the moral and ethical precepts of their religion. Due to its particularly strong institution in Korea, Korean Buddhism has become a focal point of Engaged Buddhism.
At the forefront of this movement in Korea, three monastics have taken leadership in different aspects of society; Jiyul sunim, Dobeop sunim, and Pomnyun sunim. Each of these individuals approached their environmental and social activism differently, yet all three adhere to their traditional Buddhists beliefs, speaking to a new dynamic in the relationships between society, politics, and religion in Korea today. Andrew Arnold is recording his investigation through the creation of a documentary composed of various interviews and dialogues with various members and organizations within the Korean Buddhist community. Using this lens, Andrew examines the actions of these prominent individuals through their words and will share his understanding of their work.