Press Release

H.E. Mrs. Aingeal O’Donoghue, the Ambassador of the Republic of Ireland to the Republic of Korea, visits Institut Pasteur Korea to better understand how EU countries can collaborate with Korean scientists.


Her Excellency Mrs. Aingeal O’Donoghue, Ambassador of the Republic of Ireland to the Republic of Korea, visited Institut Pasteur Korea in Pangyo, South of Seoul on Apr. 22, 2015.  Ambassador O'Donoghue had a productive meeting with C.E.O., Dr. Hakim Djaballah, Chairman of the Board,  Dr. Uhtaek OH and Executive Director, Dr. John Watson, to learn about the Institut Pasteur mission in Korea and its global presence through the Pasteur International Network; with a focus on the Asia Pacific region. Education and training were high on the agenda given that the Republic of Ireland and other European Union (EU) members have been struggling to energize the exchange of students from Korea to the EU and vice-versa. Institut Pasteur Korea is a potential anchor for facilitating these exchanges since it is the only global research institute in Korea. Emerging global health issues were discussed as well as the important role Institut Pasteur Korea is playing in the Asia Pacific region through the Pasteur Network.
Ambassador O'Donoghue took a tour of the institute with Dr Djaballah, who explained to her the critical need for global preparedness for ignored tropical diseases which are moving towards North America, Europe, and Korea. The geographical location of Korea makes it more vulnerable to viruses, bacteria, and other pathogens carried by the easterly winds.  There is also increased risk due to travel by tourists to Korea and Koreans returning from their holidays abroad. No passports are required for these microbial invaders to enter Korea. Ambassador O'Donoghue acknowledged that more is needed from developed countries to prepare and be ready to tackle these emerging global health issues.
Ambassador O'Donoghue was shown one of the institute's bio-imaging technology platforms capable of screening hundred of thousand of potential therapeutic drugs in search of the ones active against various infectious disease agents.  The system includes a robotic arm capable of  performing repetitive work with high precision.  The tour finished with a short visit to the chemistry laboratories where new chemicals are synthesized for further study and testing as antimicrobial agents.