YOKOHAMA CITY UNIVERSITY

First day of the Science Summer Program

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Opening Ceremony

The opening ceremony of the 2010 YCU Science Summer Program was held early in the morning of August 16 at the Riken Yokohama Campus. Prof. Yasuhiro Ozeki of Yokohama City University (YCU) presented the opening remarks.

Lecture 1 Networking the center of research to avoid the risk of emerging infectious diseases in the world: a fight between globally emerging infectious diseases and biosciences researchers.

Yoshiko Okamoto, Ph.D., Chief, Center of Research Network for Infectious Diseases, RIKEN

Yoshiko Okamoto, chief of the Center of Research Network for Infectious Diseases, RIKEN, delivered the first lecture. She talked about the J-GRID (Japan Initiative for Global Research Network on Infectious Diseases) promotion program. In this program, in collaboration with universities and research institutes throughout Asian and African countries, RIKEN is playing a central role in the research on infectious diseases including SARS and emerging influenza. There was a comment from one of the students attending that the lecture was very interesting in that it linked the prevention of SARS and emerging influenza with the prevention of their spread.

Lecture 2 Immunological memory

Tadatoshi Takemori, Ph.D., Group Director, Research Center for Allergy and Immunology, RIKEN

Dr. Takemori talked about ‘immunological memory.’ As soon as foreign bodies such as viruses enter the body, an immune response occurs, thereby exterminating the viruses. The immune response to viruses takes place more rapidly and strongly for the first invasion of viruses than the second invasion. This principle is called ‘immunological memory.’ Immunization is being practiced according to this theory.

The research group lead by Dr. Takemori is scrutinizing how an immunological memory is acquired and how it is maintained. This group is also carrying out research to elucidate the type of factors involved in strengthening memory activity. The leading-edge research results were introduced in this lecture.

Lecture 3 Proteins are essential molecules for organisms and they show excellent functions through protein-protein interaction and self-assemble to make Nano-structures.

Jonathan Heddle, Ph.D., RIKEN Advanced Science Institute

In the afternoon, Dr. Jonathan Heddle of the RIKEN Advanced Science Institute chief unit delivered a lecture at the YCU Tsurumi Campus adjacent to RIKEN. He talked about research on diverse functions of proteins. Proteins have various functions including interaction with each other and self-assembly required to create Nano-structures. Proteins also play essential roles in the living body, so research on proteins is indispensable for life science. Dr. Heddle made use of a lot of illustrations that are easy to understand, so his lecture attracted the attention of students.

Using DNA as a model, he also talked about methods of on-going protein synthesis. After the lecture, the students asked questions one after the other. There were some students who exchanged addresses with one another.