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Message from the Dean

Dean's Welcome Remarks for IMSUT's 40th Founding Commemorative Symposium

2013-05-31

It is truly my pleasure to have so many people gathered for the "40th IMSUT Founding Commemorative Symposium". I sincerely appreciate your attendance and the time you have taken. I am very happy to be able to learn about the latest research in medical science from distinguished professors outside and inside of our institute again in this auditorium, following last year's 120th anniversary of the founding of our forerunner, the Institute for Infectious Disease and the 45th anniversary of our reorganization into the Institute of Medical Science.

The Institute of Medical Science, the University of Tokyo (IMSUT) was founded as a private institute 121 years ago under the name of The Institute of Infectious Disease (IID) which was established by Dr. Shibasaburo Kitasato. What is notable is that our institute has had its own affiliated hospital from around the beginning. This is important because it means that we have been conducting both basic research and medical treatments for people who are suffering from various kinds of infectious diseases on the basis of "bed to bench and bench to bed". We truly respect Dr. Kitasato's vision and leadership.

When the 1st IMSUT Founding Commemorative Symposium was held for the recognition of transformation from IID to IMSUT, public health and sanitation had undergone a great improvement together with Japan's economic growth, and various noninfectious diseases had emerged as bigger social problems. In addition, research in molecular biology, cellular biology, developmental biology and general medical science had begun to progress rapidly and biological phenomena and diseases were starting to be seen as kinds of biological "systems". Our predecessors were sensitive to these academic and social environmental changes and they reorganized the IID to the current IMSUT which could answer social needs with higher academic standards and better health. Accompanying this reorganization, our mission was also changed for the better and expanded to basic research underlying intractable diseases like cancer and immunological diseases and development of novel therapies, preventions, vaccines and drugs as well as research aiming at controlling infectious diseases. To achieve our missions, we are continuously conducting cutting edge studies in tumor biology, immunology, genome science, regeneration medicine and basic medical science as well as infectious diseases and also translational research which act as a bridge between bench and bedside.

With this history as a background, we chose as the theme of this year's symposium "Dysregulation of signal transduction systems underlying intractable disorders". We would like to focus on basic medical science that can form a basis for translational research developments in the near future. Today we invited 5 researchers who are active leaders in their fields.

As you may know, signal transduction is the biochemical processes by which cells respond to their internal or external environment. I would like to emphasize that about 30% of Nobel Prizes in physiology and medicine in the past 40 years have been related to signal transduction. This suggests that understanding of signal transduction is essential not only for areas of molecular and cellular biology, but also for medical science, tumor biology, immunology, microbiology, regeneration medicine and neurobiology, in other words, almost all the areas of research studied here at IMSUT.

Today, we will be learning from 5 top researchers from inside and outside of our institute. From outside of the institute, we invited Prof. Shimon Sakaguchi from Immunology Frontier Research Center (IFReC), Osaka University. As you know, he is a world leader in immunology. His main areas of research involve immunological tolerance and autoimmune diseases. In particular, his discoveries on immunosuppressive regulatory T cells made big impacts on medical science. Secondly, we invited Prof. Masanori Hatakeyama from the Graduate School of Medicine and Faculty of Medicine, The University of Tokyo. Prof. Hatakeyama is a cutting edge researcher in the field of Helicobacter pylori infection and gastric cancer. We will be learning about the molecular biology of type II diabetes and metabolic syndrome from Prof. Takashi Kadowaki, who is a world leader of metabolism and related diseases. Form inside of the institute, Prof. Yuji Yamanashi, who is a leader regarding the relationship between neuromuscular junction synaptopathies and signal transduction, and Prof. Toshio Kitamura, who is on the forefront of understanding molecular mechanisms underlying the onset of hematopoietic malignancies, will each speak.

We are currently putting a great effort to enable us to become the top world institute in medical science. This effort is called the "IMSUT One to GoGo" project. The theme of the symposium matches our direction to become the world leader in medical science. Moreover, we chose English as the official language of this symposium, flash talks and posters. We believe that this challenge represents our intention; this symposium is institutional, but open to all the world.

As already mentioned, we are trying to reform our institute according to the "IMSUT One to Gogo". However, importantly, we should proceed with creativity on the basis of the principles and achievements produced by our predecessors, taking due account of the continuity of "institutional memory". Here, I would like to introduce the great principles by Prof. Matarou Nagayo who was the 4th Dean of our institute. These are from the book just released at the end of last year written by Prof. Takeshi Odaka who was the 18th Dean of our institute. As you may know, it is known that Prof. Nagayo served as Dean for 14 and half years and made a great effort to improve our institute to make it a "real" research institute. Right after becoming the Dean, he recorded his doctrines in his diary. Here I would like to summarize them:

1) This institute is never my property; everything must be done fairly.
2) The most important thing is to cultivate excellent scientists.
3) Our institute must become the top institute in medical science in the world. Keep high ideals and never forget the spirit of challenge.

I believe that these doctrines are almost identical with the ideas of "IMSUT One to Gogo". In other words, we are determined to become the world leader in medical science as our predecessors were.
Here we would like to swear to contribute to the welfare for mankind in the next generation through the development of new therapies and preventions, translational research and cutting edge basic medical science research. There is no doubt that this symposium and the poster presentations by our young scientists will mark a milestone in our challenge. I sincerely ask for your continuous contributions and suggestions to the IMSUT One to Gogo project.

Finally, I would like to express my sincere gratitude to all those who worked hard to make this year's symposium a success including Prof. Yoshinori Murakami and other organizing committee members (Prof. Toshio Kitamura, Prof. Yasushi Kawaguchi, Prof. Nobuaki Yoshida, Assoc. Prof. Takeshi Noda, Assoc. Prof. Taishin Akiyama, Assoc. Prof. Koichi Matsuda, Assoc. Prof. Susumu Nakae, Project Assoc. Prof. Makoto Otsu, Project Assoc. Prof. Naoto Matsuda), Administration and the Project Coordination Offices' staff, and also today's outstanding speakers. I also would like to thank all of you here and hope you enjoy lively discussions at the symposium.

  
        Prof. Hiroshi Kiyono, Dean                   Prof. Yuji Yamanashi

  
          Prof. Toshio Kitamura                    Prof. Shimon Sakaguchi

  
         Prof. Masanori Hatakeyama                 Prof. Takashi Kadowaki