Tuesday, 1. March 2011 - 2:24

Collaboration with South Africa - Ambassador Tours OIST

Mr. Gert J. Grobler, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of South Africa to Japan, visited OIST on February 24, accompanied by Mr. Thomas Cronje, First Secretary, Ms. Mariko Yokoyama and Ms. Keiko Wakamatsu. Dr. Jonathan Dorfan, OIST President-elect, himself from South Africa, presented an overview of the developments, goals and current status at OIST.

OIST Executive Director Dr. Robert Baughman, guiding the Ambassador on a tour of the Institute, explained progress being made on construction of the OIST campus and pointed out the innovative design of existing and future buildings. During the tour, Dr. Satoh, Principal Investigator of the Marine Genomics Unit, and his team explained their work on the symbiotic relationship between coral and algae, using samples of both living and bleached coral. Dr. Jeff Wickens, who leads the Neurobiology Research Unit, took the Ambassador to his laboratory to show how detailed imaging of synapses using a two photon microscope could lead to new understanding of conditions such as the Parkinson's disease. Principal Investigator Dr. Kenji Doya and his researcher Dr. Kayoko Miyazaki presented the work of the Neural Computation Unit.

Ambassador Grobler then addressed an audience of researchers and administrative staff on “Science and Technology in South Africa.”  He spoke for 45 minutes about the bilateral relationship between Japan and South Africa, and the present and future of his country’s S&T policy, with particular reference to its 10-year National Innovation Plan. He then took several questions. Following a constructive discussion on building links with South African Universities, Ambassador Grobler said, "I would like to thank OIST for this fascinating visit. Working with Dr. Dorfan and OIST management we have developed firm initiatives to establish collaboration between OIST and South African research institutes."





Dr. Satoh explains his unit’s research to Ambassador Grobler as Dr. Chuya Shinzato looks on   Dr. Wickens receives a question from Ambassador Grobler





From left: Mrs. Dorfan, Dr. Dorfan, Ms. Keiko Wakamatsu, Ambassador Grobler, Dr. Baughman, Mr. Cronje, Mr. Shuichi Takano (OIST Chief Administrative Officer) and Mr. Neil Calder (OIST Senior Advisor for Communication and PR) at the back

Dr. Doya demonstrates his unit's robots



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