The Institute of Medical Science, The University Of Tokyo

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Message from the Dean

Opening comments to the Annual IMSUT Alumni Reunion

2011-06-01

1. Opening comments and a word on IMSUT in the wake of the earthquake disaster

Thank-you today for attending the Annual Founding Commemorative Symposium. As I said in the opening comments to today's symposium, through the Great East Japan Earthquake that struck on March 11 of this year, the Tohoku region suffered massive damage and the facilities of our university's Atmosphere and Ocean Research Institute in Iwate Prefecture's Ootsuchi Town also received catastrophic damage.
Fortunately IMSUT was spared major damage, allowing us to hold this year's symposium, but IMSUT is supporting affected individuals and local government efforts in diverse ways.
For example, relevant to IMSUT, new activities were launched in the form of the Joint Usage/Research Centers starting from fiscal year 2010, but after the disaster hit, the network of researchers quickly facilitated investigation of the post-disaster circumstances of scientists in the concerned research institutes, and the study "Kyodo kenkyuu (hisai kenkyuusha shien)" was made to support affected scientists in implementing or continuing their research. As of this past April, a call was issued for applications via our IMSUT website, etc.
In addition, through the efforts of IMSUT faculty members, direct disaster area support has been provided at the scene along with Tokyo volunteer participation, a medical support team has been dispatched to the affected area with the cooperation of the University of Tokyo Hospital, an IMSUT team was formed to treat those exposed to radiation, and monthly public citizens' medical get-togethers have been held in which accurate knowledge concerning radiation exposure has been communicated through lectures, with the participants directly immersed in disaster area relief.
We continue to provide disaster area support showing and sharing the "Spirit of Scientists" which I introduced to you in the opening comments to today's symposium. We appreciate your assistance and cooperation.

2. Introduction of the new executive branch and slogan

I took over from the former Dean, Prof. Motoharu Seiki, and started with the new executive branch this past April. In the new executive branch, Professors Kensuke 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 Kozo Imai has agreed to continue his service. Professors Hideo Iba, Jun-ichiro Inoue, Yoichiro Iwakura, Haruo Saito, Satoru Miyano and Chikao Morimoto have agreed to cooperate in the management of the institute by representing their respective departments and centers in the Executive Committee.
As the 26th Dean of our institute, I feel the gravity of the responsibility to lead a traditional institute on the one hand while at the same time I am ready to meet the challenges with all IMSUT faculty members in the process of aiming at the promotion of basic research and cutting-edge medical technology which is based on basic research in our area of special strength, cutting-edge medical science.
Well, I have already listed in my April inauguration speech the five major points for the continued evolution of IMSUT to lead our institute to become the pinnacle of medical science in the world. 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 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.
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.
3) Creation of an IMSUT supporting system, Research and Clinical Foundation (RCF)
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.
4) Improvement of a disease-oriented research support system including new facilities
 Prof. Shibasaburo Kitasato, the founder of IMSUT, 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. 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 and promoting pioneering research which could lead to the development of novel prevention and therapy of cancer/tumors, infectious diseases and immune diseases and their conquest.
5) Transformation of IMSUT to become an internationally friendly top medical science institute
 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. To achieve this, 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 the 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.
Here, let me tell you the meaning of "IMSUT Gogo."

"I"…"Individual Intellectual Power"
"M"…"Mutual Benefit"
"S"…"Superiority"
"U"…"Uniqueness (only one)"
"T"…"Talent"

"G"…"Global"
"O"…"Opportunity"

"G"…"Glory"
"O"…"On top, where IMSUT is headed through the efforts of everybody here"

3. Awaiting the 120th anniversary of the Institute for Infectious Disease/Institute of Medical Science

As you are all well-aware, next year, 2012, will be the 120th anniversary of the founding of the Institute for Infectious Disease. Since then Japan has grown into a developed country and its society has diversified, as have the diseases afflicting its citizenry. Thus, in addition it will be 45 years since our institute was reorganized through the great efforts of our wonderful, far-sighted predecessors to contribute toward measures against not only infectious diseases, but also other diseases starting with cancer. In other words, 5 years after that, in 2017, it will be 125 years since the founding of our forerunner institute and 50 years since we moved on from the Institute for Infectious Disease. With these two marks as departure points for a new IMSUT in 5 years, I'd like to advance a variety of efforts to grapple with reforming the research and office organization of IMSUT. The impetus and guiding rationale for these efforts are encapsulated within the "IMSUT Gogo" slogan just introduced.

4. A Significant leap forward through the cooperation of IMSUT alumni and reinforcement of the alumni association

To do this, we have to increase activity and the sense of unity of the alumni association and receive support, guidance and cooperation from the diverse vantage points you now occupy based on your activities and long experience.
Finally, let me close my speech by asking you again for your active cooperation and support for IMSUT, and for your sharing of the "IMSUT Gogo" sprit between us. Thank you for your kind attention.