OIST’s Highlights of 2021
As 2021 draws to a close, it’s been another year of overcoming extraordinary circumstances caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite the challenges, OIST’s researchers and students have published world-class research, received prestigious awards and worked with OIST staff to host exciting events. Below is a brief highlight reel, where we acknowledge some of the best institutional and individual achievements of the year.
Five research articles to read
This year, OIST’s news articles and press releases reached new readership highs. Below are some research articles published this year that drew the largest English-speaking audiences, spanning across the fields of science, from marine biology to condensed matter physics.
- Hard to swallow: Coral cells seen engulfing algae for first time
- Colorful connection found in coral’s ability to survive higher temperatures
- A genetic variant inherited from Neanderthals reduces the risk of severe COVID-19
- A mouse’s bite holds venomous potential, finds new study
- Scientists capture first ever image of an electron’s orbit within an exciton
Five people to celebrate
From prestigious fellowships to hackathon success, OIST researchers and students have shined throughout 2021. Whilst the following is hardly an exhaustive list of the people who deserve to be celebrated, it highlights that OIST researchers, in every stage of their career, are being recognized both nationally and internationally.
- Professor Hiroaki Kitano recognized as AAAI Fellow
- First year PhD student Hiroki Sawada awarded Softbank scholarship
- OIST student Friederike Metz sees success at European hackathon
- Professor Amy Shen elected a 2021 Fellow of prestigious society
- OIST Professor Evan Economo selected as 2021-2022 Fellow at Harvard Radcliffe Institute
Five hits in the media
OIST’s research has been reported in top-tier media outlets and specialist science magazines across the world. Below are some of the stories from OIST that generated the biggest media buzz, from the cute and charismatic clownfish to an in-depth exploration of what it means to be conscious.
- Secret to how quickly clownfish gets its stripes revealed by latest study: CNN
- Could humans evolve to be venomous? Researchers say there's potential: CTV news
- Brains Might Sync As People Interact — and That Could Upend Consciousness Research: Discover Magazine
- The power of borderless research: Advertisement feature with Nature Research Custom Media
- First Immortal Cell Line Cultured for Reef-Building Corals: The Scientist Magazine
Five successful events
Whilst meetings and celebrations online have now become the norm across Japan and the world, in 2021, OIST strived to host exciting events that considered safe social distancing guidelines. Staff from the Community Relations Section and the Graduate School jumped at the opportunity to learn new skills and work through any technical issues that emerged when they switched to an online setting. Below are five successful events that were held in 2021, in person, on zoom, or a mixture of both.
- Unique ceremony celebrates OIST’s newest graduates
- A green and blue planet: Ecology symposium highlights need for collaborations
- OIST’s Science Festival goes online for 2021
- Reboot Japan: The nation of science and technology - OIST FORUM 2021
- 10th anniversary of SCORE!: A Lesson in Entrepreneurship
Five SDG stories you should read
With the launch of OIST’s Sustainable Development Goals initiative, OIST researchers and staff have dedicated their time to contributing to the different goals, from local outreach, to signing collaborative agreements, to designing wastewater management systems.
- OIST participates in collaboration agreement for conservation and management of World Natural Heritage Sites in Northern Okinawa and Iriomote Island
- Powerful new tool makes coral reef monitoring faster, easier, cheaper
- Value from sewage? New technology makes pig farming more environmentally friendly
- SHIMA: Okinawa-Hawaii STEM education collaborative
- Global study reveals effectiveness of protected areas