18 Dec 2014

OIST Hosts Joint Symposium with the University of Tokyo

On December 12-13th, the Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology Graduate University hosted a joint symposium with guest professors from the University of Tokyo. Professor Thomas Busch of the Quantum Systems Unit at OIST helped to organize the gathering of professors from the University of Tokyo from a wide range of studies, as well as an equally diverse group of OIST faculty. During the two days the symposium took place, professors from both institutions gave talks on their respective fields of research while answering questions from a wide audience as all at OIST were welcomed. It was an event that continues to build ties with the University of Tokyo after an agreement of scientific and academic cooperation as well as the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding or MOU in January this year.

The guests from the University of Tokyo were Hiroaki Aihara, Masahito Ueda and Masaki Sano from the Faculty of Physics, Keisuke Goda from the Faculty of Chemistry, as well as Hiroo Fukuda, Hiroyuki Takeda, and Osamu Nureki from the Faculty of Bioscience. OIST was represented at the talks by Fadel Samatey of Trans-Membrane Trafficking Unit, Bernd Kuhn of Optical Neuroimaging Unit, Sile Nic Chormaic of Light-Matter Interactions Unit, Thomas Busch of Quantum Systems Unit, Hidetoshi Saze of Plant Epigenetics Unit, Ichiro Masai of Developmental Neurobiology Unit and Eliot Fried of Mathematical Soft Matter Unit.

The talks given by professors from both fields were more generalized than the usual workshop at OIST, with the true goal being a chance for everyone from each university to get to know each other and make connections. Professor Thomas Busch explains “OIST is kind of the new kid on the block, and as such we hope to make connections that benefit all of us… because to OIST, collaboration and diversity comes very naturally.” In addition to talks, the guests from University of Tokyo were given a grand tour of OIST and its lab facilities, allowing the professors a chance to not only see the kind of work being conducted at OIST, but also to meet as many people as possible and to learn more about the extraordinary research environment OIST has set up.

When asked about his thoughts on the symposium, after a day of lectures and touring OIST facilities, Professor Aihara, Dean of the School of Science at the University of Tokyo, was very optimistic about the value such a gathering has brought. “What we can do to help is to establish OIST’s stature within the Japanese university system. While OIST is diverse by design, establishing these ties is key to its continued evolution as a Japanese institution.” Aihara added, “But of course the first step to all of this, is to establish personal relationships and collaborations. Professor to Professor, researcher to researcher, cooperation in collaboration is the first and most important step.”

By Sean To


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