The University of Tokyo Global COE Integrative Life Science Based on the Study of Biosignaling Mechanisms
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Program Leader:Yasushi Miyashita

Life science evolves with remarkable speed. Half a century ago, the life sciences were a patchwork of different fields. In contrast, today's life science has become a comprehensive discipline, in which research targeted at different systems of individual living organisms - in neurobiology, tumor biology, immunology, embryology, the molecular-level study of mitosis, signal pathways, and gene expression - are to be integrated using keywords, organized by gene, protein, cell, or other types of information. Our new Global COE Program will become a prime mover in life science research encompassing basic biology and basic medicine. The program will consist of dynamic scientists at the University of Tokyo whose research is unified by the common theme of "biosignaling." These scientists will collaborate with each other to generate a new interdisciplinary field of study and new innovative methods, and to make the COE a world center that generates new waves in the life sciences. At the same time, the COE will make every effort to scientifically and financially support its graduate students and postdoctoral fellows, assisting in their carrier development so that they can become international leaders of the next generation of scientists.

This COE aims at attaining a comprehensive understanding of the molecular basis of biological phenomena through the study of biosignaling. To this end, we will create a program, "integrative life science", by connecting the four following disciplines:

Development of life:
We focus on the biosignaling involved in the formation of organs and body from a fertilized egg; we aim to comprehensively understand the developmental mechanisms that underlie body formation and functional expression in multi-cellular organisms.

Functional control:
The nervous and immune systems constitute the foundation of harmonized responses to the external world. We address these subjects from the viewpoint of stratified signal networks.

Relay of generations:
We aim at a comprehensive understanding of the intricate processes of reproductive activity in cell division, parthenogenesis, and sexual reproduction, from the viewpoint of biosignaling.

Abnormalities of living systems:
Alterations of biosignaling networks can lead to various diseases such as cancer and autoimmune diseases. We aim to understand the mechanisms underlying the collapse of living systems.

To function as an international center in the recruitment of researchers and the transmission of information, we will actively encourage our graduate students and young investigators to participate in conferences and exchange programs with laboratories abroad. We will organize the following programs: 1) International Life Science Lectures, to provide intensive courses given by world-renowned lecturers from overseas; 2) Research Visit and Training Program, to support graduate students who attend international meetings and training programs overseas or who carry out short-term research visits to collaborating laboratories; and 3) International Exchange Program, to support the exchange of graduate students between the COE and institutions overseas.

Global COE Program "Integrative life science based on the study of biosignaling mechanisms"
Program Leader: Yasushi Miyashita