The Institute of Medical Science, The University Of Tokyo

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Message from the Dean

Opening Remarks to the Annual IMSUT Alumni Reunion


Thank you for attending the Annual Founding Commemorative Symposium today.

As you all know, 2017 will be a milestone for IMSUT, as it will be the 125th anniversary since Dr. Shibasaburo Kitasato founded this institute as The Institute of Infectious Diseases under the private Japan Society for Health and Hygiene in 1892. It will also be the 50th anniversary since this institute was reorganized as the current IMSUT. I would like to express my sincere gratitude to you all for participating today, as well as to the many professors and students who played a crucial role as young researchers to create the historical base for IMSUT, which we all can be proud of. I truly believe it is because of the alumni gathered here today that IMSUT has made such splendid contributions and achievements.

Here, I would like to address the key points about the latest news on IMSUT and its affiliated hospital.

Firstly I would like to announce the retirement of Professor Imai, who had served as director for four years in the administration and operation of the hospital. Professor Imai not only contributed to the administration and operation of IMSUT hospital, but also received a Purple Ribbon Medal of Honor last November. I would like to express my great appreciation for his leadership in Japanese cancer research. Regarding the Purple Ribbon Medal of Honor, researchers from our institute have been awarded for three consecutive years. Professor Kawaoka received the medal in 2011, Professor Sasakawa in 2012, and Professor Imai in 2013. This is a truly incredible achievement.

As his successor, Professor Keiya Ozawa has been appointed as the hospital director from this April. Professor Ozawa graduated from the Faculty of Medicine at The University of Tokyo and entered the Division of Hematology and Oncology at the Faculty of Medicine, The University of Tokyo in 1979. In 1987, he became the instructor of the Department of Pathological Pharmacology, and after becoming an assistant professor at IMSUT in 1990, he became the professor at Jichi Medical University from 1994. This means that we will be welcoming Professor Ozawa back into IMSUT after twenty years. Professor Ozawa has been devoting his research in the development of gene therapy as his life's work, and we have high hopes for his translational research. He is now providing excellent leadership in founding the Center for Gene and Cell Therapy at our campus. I believe he will continuously lead IMSUT's efforts in the gene and cell therapy development and grow even further to become a key feature of IMSUT Hospital.

Professor Yamanashi will be contributing to the institute by participating as the representative from the Department of Cancer Biology for the IMSUT department head meeting, which is crucial for the operation and administration of the institute.

Last year, The University of Tokyo implemented the cross appointment system to accelerate the internationalization of the research environment. By utilizing this system, Professor Hiromitsu Nakauchi from the Center for Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine has also simultaneously become a professor at Stanford University from this January. Also, Professor Yoshihiro Kawaoka from the Department of Microbiology and Immunology, International Research Center for Infectious Diseases is planned to simultaneously become a professor at the University of Wisconsin from this July. Due to this, under total mutual collaboration between the Institute for Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine at Stanford, and the Influenza Research Center, the University of Wisconsin, School of Veterinary Medicine, we highly hope that the Stem Cell Therapy Research Center and the International Research Center for Infectious Diseases will become even more globalized.

Our executive board has reached our final year of the second term this April, and we would like to focus our energy once again on the operation and administration of IMSUT and IMSUT Hospital.

I would now like to change the topic and speak about the IMSUT One to Gogo Project. As I have introduced to you at the alumni reunion last year, this project aims to promote IMSUT and its affiliated hospital to be at the top of the world by 2017. This is because 2017 is a critical turning point for IMSUT, as it is the 125th anniversary since IMSUT was first founded as The Institute of Infectious Diseases under the private Japan Society for Health and Hygiene in 1892, as well as being the 50th anniversary since this institute was reorganized as IMSUT.

At last year's alumni reunion, we introduced the following 4 key elements to make the IMSUT One to Gogo Project come to life: 1. Founding the IMSUT Foundation, 2. Creating the blueprint of the Platinum West Redevelopment Plan, 3. Completing the action plan to improve IMSUT, and 4. Cultivating human resources for IMSUT (approaching graduate school education as the affiliated research institute to The University of Tokyo). We would like to address how these elements have progressed.

1. Founding the IMSUT Foundation

Regarding the IMSUT Foundation, thanks to the deliberations made at last year's alumni reunion, the founding was accepted and we are now receiving full support from the alumni.

Under this current system, we are making careful consideration towards the establishment of the IMSUT Foundation. We want to contribute to not only our institute and its affiliated hospital, but to the whole of The University of Tokyo, to mankind and society through domestic and international medical science research and human resource cultivation. IMSUT and IMSUT hospital will exert its strategic skills and flexibility as the leader of medical science, and as the affiliated research institute of The University of Tokyo.

Also, I would like to announce that this April we established the fund for "IMSUT One to Gogo Project", for the 125th anniversary since the establishment of IMSUT, and the 50th anniversary since its reorganization. This IMSUT One to Gogo Fund was established as a part of UTokyo Fund-raising system and aims for IMSUT to be the best medical science institute in the world. It collects donations for strengthening the base of world-class human cultivation, upgrading the research environment so that it is in no way inferior to global standards, and for proactive research and personnel exchange with people all around the world.

Its details are as follows: 1. Global human resource cultivation in medical science, 2. Establishing an international research hub, 3. The international symposium for IMSUT's 125th anniversary, and 4. Providing better facilities for the IMSUT Campus in Shirokanedai. For details, please refer to the leaflets handed out today, as well as The University of Tokyo Foundation web page (List the web page for IMSUT One to Gogo Fund). We hope you will fully share with our intentions for establishing the IMSUT One to Gogo Fund and your cooperation will be greatly appreciated.

2. Creating the blueprint of the Platinum West Redevelopment Plan

This April, "The University of Tokyo Campus Plan Summary" was fully revised and renewed as "The University of Tokyo Campus Plan Outline". Shirokanedai campus was not mentioned in "The University of Tokyo Campus Plan Summary", but is now mentioned in "The University of Tokyo Campus Plan Outline" as a unique campus along with the three main campuses: Hongo, Komaba and Kashiwa.

Also, the Shirokanedai Campus Plan working group was established last October, and considerations are going underway. We will continue with our redevelopment for Platinum West through visible ways like creating 3D and CG models, in order to make Shirokanedai Campus evolve into a global research hub for international medical science research, joint research from different fields, and translational research.

3. Completing the action plan to improve IMSUT

We want to complete the action plan so IMSUT and its affiliated hospital can evolve into a top research institute and hospital that is globally acknowledged. We are considering a constructive reorganization plan about the research areas and organizations for the creation of more competitive and attractive research environments. An example of this plan is transforming the Human Genome Center into the Medial Genome Center leading to the fusion research environment among genome science, medical informatics and bedside research for the creation of better and effective prediction, prevention and treatment of diseases.

4. Cultivating human resources for IMSUT (contributing graduate school education as the affiliated research institute for The University of Tokyo)

IMSUT has accomplished great academic results as a research training institute for graduate students, with a central focus on the medical science and its related graduate school programs at the University of Tokyo. IMSUT provides an ideal medical science environment for education and research to young talented graduate students who aim to become leading and productive researchers in the medical science field.

Through IMUST's support, the creation of the graduate program, "Medical Genome Sciences" from the Graduate School of Frontier Sciences, which was established in 2004, has merged with the "Computational Biology" program, and will be restructured as a new graduate program for "Department of Medical Bioinformatics" ?unlike any other in Japan. This new program leads with the formalization of new life science based on modern basic and clinical medical science research with medical and health genome information, contributes greatly to life innovation, and aims to educate human resources that can translate its achievements to clinical practice. IMSUT takes measures to strengthen collaboration even further and continues to pursue the "Academic integration" of global standards centered on medical science. As an institute with its own hospital and being attached to the university, we will fulfill our duty to contribute to new medical science education.

That is all about the 4 key elements to realize the IMSUT One to Gogo project. Another reason to promote this project is the strategy to internationalize IMSUT. In order to become a top, globally acknowledged institute in the fields of medical science and life science, internationalization is an extremely crucial strategy that needs to be taken. Furthermore, with the news of the Olympics and Paralympics being held in Tokyo in 2020, it is expected that Japanese society as a whole will actively move forward with internationalization. With this current of time, IMSUT is anticipated to be the leader of internationalization for Japanese society as an academic research institute that represents Japan. We believe it is our mission to play this centric role.

In order to continue moving forward to realize IMSUT One to Gogo, starting with the IMSUT Foundation, we on active duty must fulfill this leadership role. It is essential to receive support and a broad range of mentorship from our seniors. I would like to conclude my opening remarks by requesting the alumni members here today for your understanding, support and active participation in the activities at IMSUT.

Thank you for your kind attention.