FY2010 Education and Training Activities

Education and Training Activities

Many people from leading international universities and research institutes participated in the international courses and workshops held by OIST. This increased the visibility of OIST as an international research and education center. Participants questionnaires showed high satisfaction with the contents of the program, and there was a large amount of positive feedback on joint researches with OIST and working at OIST.

Quantative Evolutionary and Comparative Genomics (QECG) 2010

  • Date: May 24-June 4, 2010
  • Organizers:
    • Jonathan Miller, OIST
    • Holger Jenke-Kodama, OIST
    • Alexander Mikheyev, OIST
    • Byrappa Venkatesh, IMCB Singapore
  • Venue: OIST Seaside House
  • Participants: 65 (17 lecturers, 44 participants, 4 observers)

The theme of the 2010 Summer School was the phenomenon of strong (or extreme) sequence conservation, which would be explored from a quantitative and multidisciplinary perspective, and connections forged with parts of biology outside of genomics.

With a multitude of whole-genome sequences now publicly available, ultra-conservation was trivial to exhibit, but so far difficult to explain. Therefore it represented an ideal topic for a combined Summer School and Workshop, where the phenomenon could be appreciated by participants of diverse backgrounds, who could then bring their own perspectives to bear on the problem.


Okinawa Computational Neuroscience Course (OCNC) 2010

  • Date: June 14 to July 1, 2010
  • Organizers:
    • Erik De Schuttrer, OIST
    • Kenji Doya, OIST
    • Klaus Stiefel, OIST
    • Jeff Wickens, OIST
  • Venue: OIST Seaside House
  • Participants: 63 (18 lecturers, 7 tutors, 28 participants)

The aim of the Okinawa Computational Neuroscience Course was to provide opportunities for young researchers with theoretical backgrounds to learn the latest advances in neuroscience, and for those with experimental backgrounds to have hands-on experience in computational modeling.


Developmental Neurobiology Course (DNC) 2010

  • Date: July 12-22, 2010
  • Organizers:
    • David Van Vactor, Harvard Medical School
    • Akinao Nose, The University of Tokyo
    • Mary Ann Price, OIST
    • Ichiro Masai, OIST
    • Robert Baughman, OIST
  • Venue: OIST Seaside House
  • Participants: 59 (19 lecturers, 4 tutors, 36 participants)

The assembly of the functional nervous system was one of the most complex developmental processes in nature. Discovering the mechanisms involved was vital both for advancing basic scientific understanding and as a foundation for future strategies to treat neurological disease, congenital cognitive impairment and neural injury. This course aims to efficiently and rapidly introduce students to the intellectual background, model systems, experimental methods and expert investigators in this topic area would be of tremendous value in establishing the next generation of young neurobiologists.

The NeuroPhysiome: bridging computational neuroscience and systems biology

  • Date: October 3-6, 2010
  • Organizers:
    • Erik De Schutter, OIST
    • Akiko Arata, RIKEN and Hyogo College of Medicine
    • Thomas E. Dick, Case Western Reserve University
    • Kendall Morris, University of South Florida
    • Yoshitaka Oku, Hyogo College of Medicine
    • Ilya Rybak, Drexel University
    • James Schwaber, Thomas Jefferson University
  • Venue: OIST Seaside House
  • Participants: 29 (26 lecturers/participants, 3 observers)

This workshop was concerned with the commonalities and multiscale modelling of cellular and molecular processes and neuronal systems physiology and how robust function emerged from complex, plastic processes. The goal of the workshop was to address the need for better communication and interaction between the system's biology and computational neuroscience communities. It focused on bridging the divide in cellular modeling that was present in both fields, and looked at parallels between neuronal network computation and signaling network computation.

The aims of the workshop were to begin a process that would develop joint scientific collaborations and improved coordination between Japanese Physiome efforts and U.S. modeling and basic research. A second aim was to develop a draft recommendation for the creation of a new National Center for Systems Biology with a computational neuroscience focus.

Toward Development of an R&D Cluster in Okinawa

  • Date: October 6-7, 2010
  • Organizer: Executive Office, OIST
  • Venue: OIST Campus
  • Participants: 56 (40 lecturers/participants, 16 observers)

Approximately 180 people, from both home and abroad, attended the event, including three distinguished guests: Mr. Yoshinori Suematsu, Senior Vice Minister of the Cabinet Office; Mr. Hirokazu Nakaima, Governor of Okinawa Prefecture; and Mr. John V. Roos, U.S. Ambassador to Japan. Dr. Jonathan Dorfan, President-elect of OIST Graduate University, gave a welcome address which was followed by an introduction to the symposium by OIST Executive Director Dr. Robert Baughman and remarks by the guests.

The symposium was followed by a day-and-a-half workshop, in which 35 experts, including 21 from overseas, brought their experience in discussing ways to establish an R&D cluster in Okinawa. Three breakout sessions were held, with each session divided into three topics. Session I discussed issues in R&D cluster development, while Session II focused on how to lay the foundation for innovation and entrepreneurship. Session III explored practical recommendations for innovation and entrepreneurship, which was followed by a summary session attended by all participants.

A summary of the symposium proceedings is available on the OIST website.

Computational Ecology Workshop

  • Date: December 1-3, 2010
  • Organizers:
    • Satoshi Mitarai, OIST
    • David Robertson, University of Edinburgh
  • Venue: OIST Campus & Seaside House
  • Participants: 25 (23 participants, 2 observers)

Ecologists (like many other scientists) were becoming adept at acquiring large amounts of data but our skill in automation of analysis and modelling of this data was a long way behind our ability to acquire it. We had known about this problem for many years but only in the last few years had we had the connectivity, computing power and architectures that allowed us to coordinate data and experimental analysis on a large scale. Demand for experimental results had also become more diverse, requiring results that had direct connections to ecological systems. With this had come an ability to automate many areas of ecological science, not only the experiments themselves but also the larger processes that contributed to experimentation and analysis more broadly.

Technologies were finding niches in many scientific disciplines (from proteomics to astrophysics) but ecology presented a particular challenge for a number of reasons. The systems being studied were complex so there often was no unique level of abstraction upon which any given system could, practically, be modelled. The systems also were diverse, including elements of the physical environment that interact with the biota; this made it difficult to integrate experimental theories of system sub-elements in a manner that preserved the integrity of the whole. The data required to predict system behaviour and calibrate models could be heterogeneous and might be acquired incrementally over long time periods in a manner that required integration across large-scale acquisition projects. The uses made of ecological models were also diverse and these did not necessarily relate directly to the data acquisition or modelling methods.

As a focus for the workshop we chose example problems from the ecology of coral reefs (or from similar marine systems).


Evolution of Complex Systems Course (OWECS) 2010

  • Date: December 6-11, 2010
  • Organizers:
    • Sydney Brenner, OIST
    • Noriyuki Satoh, OIST
    • Michael Levine, University of California, Berkeley
  • Venue: OIST Seaside House
  • Participants: 50 (9 lecturers, 40 participants, 1 observer)

The aim of the OIST Winter Course "Evolution of Complex Systems" (OWECS) was to provide opportunities for young researchers with biological backgrounds to meet each other and learn the latest advances in the field of evolutionary developmental biology.  The OWECS was a combination of lectures and workshop.


Garuda Four

  • Date: February 23-26, 2011
  • Organizer: Hiroaki Kitano, OIST
  • Venue: OIST Seaside House
  • Participants: 25 (10 lecturers, 15 participants)

Garuda initiative was launched with the inaugural workshop taking place in OIST in 2010 followed by Garuda-2 in Manchester (July 2010) and Garuda-3 in Edinburgh (October 2010). The ultimate goal of the Garuda project is to develop a common software and knowledge platform for healthcare research and services that can be used in both academic and industrial sectors.

The objectives of Garuda 4 workshop were to evaluate current progress, exchange technical information, finalize some of the specifications, discuss and define future milestones. It was a working session among the core member of the project as well as introductory sessions for new members of the community who would seriously involve in the initiative.


Co-sponsored Workshops

  • "Mechanisms of Brain and Mind" on July 29, 2010 at Sapporo Geibunkan, Hokkaido
  • "International Joint Conference of Artificial Intelligence (IJCAI) Trustee Meeting” on August 7-8, 2010 at OIST Seaside House
  • "Informatics on Embodiment (IEB)" on November 4, 2010 at OIST Seaside House
  • "The 5th PRESTO Meeting of the Research Area (Decoding and Controlling Brain Information)" on November 5-7, 2010 at OIST Seaside House
  • "New Faces of Atomic Nuclei" on November 15-17, 2010 at OIST Campus
  • "3rd Japan-Germany Joint Workshop on Computational Neuroscience" on March 3-5, 2011 at OIST Seaside House