The Institute of Medical Science, The University Of Tokyo

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Message from the Dean

"IMSUT Gogo" -from Dean Kiyono's Inauguration Speech


On the occasion of the first day of the new academic year 2011, it is a humbling honor to be entrusted to lead you.

As you may know, I was elected as the 26th Dean of our institute last December by the electoral vote of our wonderful fellows and colleagues, the faculty members of IMSUT. Before I start my inauguration speech on this special occasion as the new academic year 2011 begins on April 1st, I would first like to express our condolences to the deceased of the Tohoku-Kanto earthquake and Tsunami and our sympathy and support to the victims of the catastrophic natural disaster. Among the members of IMSUT there is word that some have lost relatives, or have relatives who are suffering, and our hearts go out to you. We are fortunate that the damage was minimal to IMSUT and the members of our institute. Of course, we have to remain continuously engaged and support the victims of the earthquake and tsunami throughout the long period needed for full recovery and normalization. At the same time, we have to show “the spirit of scientists,” which reflects our attitude of facing and challenging the difficulties of new discovery. In such a historical period of national hardship as this, the country needs the utmost accomplishments in every endeavor from its residents. The special strength of IMSUT lies in our cutting edge research into medical science, and it is by showing our "spirit of science" that we can best contribute to recovery.

I would also like to express our sincere appreciation to my immediate predecessor, Prof. Motoharu Seiki who made tremendous efforts and provided sure-footed leadership as the 25th Dean of IMSUT over the past four years. Since we did not have an opportunity to formally express our appreciation on behalf of all IMSUT members last month, we would like to take this occasion to express our heartfelt thanks to Prof. Seiki. Further, I should also acknowledge that before becoming dean, he also served four years as Vice-Dean during the era of our former dean Prof. Tadashi Yamamoto. Thus, Prof. Seiki dedicated his time and energy for the leadership of the institute for a total of 8 years. I can't help but think that these responsibilities must have interfered with his research into cancer and tumor biology, his area of expertise. Because of his leadership and self-sacrifice, all of us were able to carry out and enjoy our daily research activities in our respective areas of Tumor and Cancer Biology, Infectious Diseases, Immunology, Regenerative and Stem Cell Medicine, Genome Medicine and Basic Medical Science over the past 8 years, which was a very difficult time period due to the reformation of the national university system into a semi-privatized system. We would like to take this opportunity to express again our sincere appreciation to Prof. Seiki.

At same time, I also would like to express our appreciation to our colleague Prof. Jun-ichiro Inoue who also made self-sacrifices and provided his time and energy as Vice-Dean together with me for the past four years in supporting the Dean Seiki. We certainly appreciate your contribution and efforts for our institute for both scientific and administrative aspects.

We also would like to recognize and express appreciation for the past cabinet members of Dean Seiki including the past and current Chief of the Staff for the IMSUT Hospital, Profs. Naohide Yamashita and Kozo Imai, and the two former Directors of the IMSUT Administration, Mr. Masahiro Seki and Mr. Koshi Imaizumi. In addition, we also would like to express our appreciation to the chairs and directors (Prof. Yoichiro Iwakura, Prof. Haruo Saito, Prof. Yusuke Nakamura, Prof. Kensuke Miyake, Prof. Chikao Morimoto and Prof. Tadashi Yamamoto) representing the individual departments and centers, the cores of IMSUT's cutting edge research, who provided their leadership and expertise in leading our institute.

In the new executive branch, Professors Miyake and Yoshinori Murakami have agreed to serve as vice-deans, in charge of budget matters and general affairs, respectively. In addition, Mr. Kiyoshi Moroda has arrived from the Institute of Molecular and Cellular Biosciences to assume his post as the new Secretary General. As hospital director, Professor Imai has agreed to continue his service. Professors Hideo Iba, Inoue, Iwakura, Saito, Satoru Miyano and Morimoto have agreed to cooperate in the management of the institute by representing their respective departments and centers in the Executive Committee. Furthermore, we have the only university research institute-affiliated hospital in Japan, a defining feature of our institute that facilitates our mission by providing a direct link between the bedside and basic and clinical research. Therefore, not just the medical staff, but rather all members of our institute should support its successful development.

In order to continuously evolve our institute into the number one preeminent medical science research institute of the world, we have to work together as a team at IMSUT and thus bring and tie together all of the talent in this room and the rest of the institute. All of you—and by that I include our topnotch faculty members, dedicated hospital staff, promising students and postdoctoral fellows, committed technical members and hardworking administrators, all of you—are keys to our unceasing advancement. We shall continuously aim to be the pinnacle of medical science in the world! In order to accomplish our common goal, all of you—both those in this room as well as those whose overriding research, clinical and administrative responsibilities could not allow them to attend—all of you are the intellectual power and thus treasure for our institute.

I believe that IMSUT is like a family since all of you spend at least one third to one half—in some cases even two thirds—of your daily lives here because of your interest in and commitment to medical science, because of your desire to lead the field of medical science, and because of your dedication to providing your expertise for the prevention and cure of diseases and because of your dedication to training the next generation of basic and clinical scientists who will carry on the torch. We share in common these core values as family members of IMSUT. We are just like your family, since we share the moment of glory when your research results are recognized and published in well-respected journals and your findings contribute to the understanding of diseases leading to novel prevention and/or therapy. Every year, we educate and train talented graduate students and young scientists who will lead the area of medical science in the near future, just as when your own child becomes independent and leaves home to create a new nucleus of society. We all work very hard every day here in the Shirokanedai campus to generate and accumulate new data that enable us to compete globally in various fields of medical science. We sometimes win and of course sometimes lose in the global competition. Thus, we come back to IMSUT and start working harder to gain new ideas and novel findings to fight back in the world of scientific competition. It is just like your home where you heal and recharge your energy for the next day.

Here I have listed the five major points for the continuous evolution of IMSUT to lead our institute to become the pinnacle of medical science world, points that I would like to share with all of you fellow IMSUT family members. The five items listed here are the backbone of "IMSUT Gogo". One pronunciation of "Five" in Japanese is "Go" as you know well. The key five articles of IMSUT Gogo include;

1. Recruitment of top-quality basic scientists.

2. Recruitment of first-class clinical scientists.

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

4. Improvement of a disease-oriented research support system including new facilities.

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

For the continuous growth of IMSUT as one of the globally competitive medical science institutes of the world, our current efforts at recruitment of the best basic and clinical faculty members are of course our first priority.

1. Recruitment of top-quality basic scientists in the areas of Tumor/Cancer Biology, Genome Medical Science, iPS and Tissue Regenerative Medicine, and Infectious Diseases and Immunology.

2. Recruitment of first-class clinical scientists who can bridge between medical science at the bench and the bedside and contributes his/her medial skills for our patients' needs in the IMSUT hospital.

As you might know, we are already in recruiting mode for new faculty members and thus two search committees together with the members of the faculty meeting are intensively working together to identify new faculty members who will be at the core of cutting edge research in the basic and clinical areas of medical science for the continuous growth of IMSUT as a topnotch research institute.

For sustained growth of IMSUT leading to world-wide pre-eminence, we need to have an IMSUT affiliated organization which can overcome the restricted regulation of the semi-privatized stage of our National University Corporation System. To this end, we would like to propose the creation of such an organization under the tentative name of "IMSUT Research and Clinical Foundation" or "RCF" which will be a partner organization for flexible fundraising, human resource recruitment, clinical and basic research, hospital services and other activities. It might be difficult task under the current NUC rule, however we have to use our intellectual resource and talent for the development of RCF. It will be a difficult, challenging task, just as we face in our everyday scientific research!

Let's now bring back to mind the institutional memory of our IMSUT founder, Prof. Shibasaburo Kitasato. He endowed us with the founding principles of IMSUT; that it is always important to understand the disease, create disease model(s) and then develop novel prevention and therapy. It is the essence of Medical Science, and thus our institute's efforts should be to continuously build the best facility and system for executing leading disease oriented basic and clinical research. To this end, our efforts should be toward enriching our Bio-resource bank system for experimental animals, tissues, cells, viruses, bacteria and genes as well as protein and chemical library systems. When we consider the scientific direction of our institute, all of these should be high priorities for our continuous growth to become the top of world. As an immediate necessity, we would like to propose building a New Experimental Animal Facility capable of housing gene-manipulated and iPS/Stem cell-based experimental small and large animals enabled by the latest technologies.

Finally, it is very important that IMSUT should become a more globally and internationally oriented research institute in order to become the first choice of every medical scientist anywhere in the world. Although we are trying to become an internationally friendly institute, we are not yet at the stage of proudly saying that we are an international institute. As a member institute of the University of Tokyo, the best and most respected higher education and research university in Japan, we have to work together to accelerate our efforts to become a global medical science institute. Thus, lots of talented and promising students, research fellows, medical staff and faculty members should be attracted from all over the world to join the IMSUT family, and at same time, topnotch students, research fellows, medical staff and faculty members from IMSUT should be hotly recruited by other universities and institutes of global reputation. We need to create a bidirectional international research environment here at the Shirokanedai campus.

We shall continuously work together as IMSUT family members to advance our institute to become the kind of next generation of internationally attractive, constructive, competitive and cutting edge medical science research institute where you can enjoy your work and be proud of your professional responsibilities day in and day out for basic and clinical research, patient care, and technical and administrative support.

Finally, let me tell you the meaning of "IMSUT gogo."

The letter "I" stands for "Individual Intellectual Power"

"M" stands for "Mutual Benefit"

"S" stands for "Superiority"

"U" stands for "Uniqueness (only one)"

"T" stands for "Talent"

The first "G" stands for "Global"

The first "O" denotes "Opportunity"

The second "G" bespeaks "Glory"

And the final "O" indicates "On top, where IMSUT is headed through the efforts of everybody here."