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Message from the Dean

Dean's Welcome Remarks for IMSUT's 39th Founding Commemorative Symposium


Thank-you for coming and attending IMSUT's 39th Founding Commemorative Symposium.  We are pleased to have all of you on the special occasion of our annual Founding Commemorative Symposium, especially for this year, since as you may know well, this year is the memorable benchmark of the 120th anniversary since our institute was established by Professor Shibasaburo Kitasato.

Already many of you have had the chance to see and hear from our graduate students, postdocs and even a few faculty members about their exciting research in the flash talks and the poster sessions yesterday and today. In the plenary session we are now starting, you'll get the chance to hear from some of the scientific leaders who set the direction of research not only in their own labs but in areas including innate immunity and genome-based medicine, through the quality and originality of their work, also help set research directions around the world. To this end, we are honored to have Professor Shizuo Akira, Director of WPI Immunology Frontier Research Center (iFReC), Osaka University and Professor Yusuke Nakamura, Co-Director, Personalized Medicine Center, the University of Chicago. Of course, Professor Nakamura holds a joint appointment with IMSUT.

In fact, the need for IMSUT to set the pace and direction of medical research in the world underlies the theme of this year’s symposium, "IMSUT GoGo! Leading the Charge into a New Era of Medical Science." The world needs IMSUT's leadership, and in turn, we need to be the first choice for leading biomedical scientists and clinicians and pharmaceutical and medical science-related firms to come either to set up their own labs or to carry on collaborations. The patients need IMSUT Hospital, and in turn we need to be the first choice for those seeking the best and latest preventive measures and treatment developed based on our solid medical science. To reach these points, we need concrete plans. In fact, we have already started this process, so please allow me to explain.
As I indicated earlier, this year marks the 120th anniversary of the founding of our forerunner, the Institute for Infectious Disease by Dr. Shibasaburo Kitasato, and the 45th anniversary of our reorganization into the Institute of Medical Science. Simple arithmetic tells us that in 5 years time it will be the 125th and 50th anniversaries respectively. We need to get started now so that we can have the organizations and facilities in place by this next big milestone that will enable us to rise to the very top. This effort is called the "IMSUT One to GoGo (125/50)" project.

The project's name emphasizes the key elements. Most important, "one" signifies that we are a single team, a single family, regardless whether our work is mainly in the clinic, at a laboratory bench, or in the office. Furthermore, even when we leave here physically to work elsewhere, we all remain members of the IMSUT family, and we all pull for each other's success. As for "gogo," it is more than just enthusiastic support. As you know, "go" means "5" in Japanese, and there are 5 key developments that we have been discussed extensively among the members of IMSUT. Let me briefly summarize the 5 points.

1. Recruitment of top-quality basic scientists who are able to contribute to the development of novel preventions and treatments for disease through a search for truth.

2. Recruitment of first-class clinical scientists who can lead the way in promoting a bridge between medical science at the bench and the bedside.

3. Creation of an IMSUT supporting system, Research and Clinical Foundation (RCF).

4. Improvement of a Bio-resource bank system including an open general research center building for human disease animal models to support the continuous growth of disease-oriented research.

5. Transformation of IMSUT to become an internationally friendly and attractive top medical science institute.

Reflecting the first two points of our efforts in the recruitment and development of talented and high quality basic and clinical scientists for successfully executing our continuous mission of providing the next generation of preventions and treatments for diseases based on our fundamental medical scientific discoveries, we have successfully recruited or appointed four promising and talented Professors who will be a driving force for IMSUT One to Gogo. On behalf of IMSUT, I am pleased to announce that Professors Yasushi Kawaguchi, Mutsuhiro Takekawa, Fumitaka Nagamura and Tomoki Todo are also speakers on this memorable occasion of IMSUT Founding Commemorative Symposium. I also would like to take this opportunity to introduce our most recent recruits, Dr. Koji Hase and Dr. Satoshi Uematsu, as Project Professors in the newly created "International Research and Development Center for Mucosal Vaccine (or International R&D for MucoVac)". I am very proud of having these six new senior faculty members and do not have any doubt that they will provide their talent and expertise to accelerate the continuing rise of IMSUT.

While these five aims are ambitious objectives and will require a great deal of hard work and effort, they are not impossible. Most importantly, we are not starting from zero because we have talented people such as all of you in this auditorium and great institutional memories. While the plans aim at correcting certain weaknesses in our current organization to enable our further climb, our level is already very high, as will be reflected in today's talks. The talks today show the direction we are going, and the areas we want to continue strengthening. It is already an intellectual feast of solid achievments as you will hear, with even greater things in store for the future. Finally, let me thank all those who worked to make this year's symposium a success, including especially today's speakers, Prof. Murakami and his organizing committee members as well as the IMSUT administration.