Briefing Session on the MIP Global Talent Expedition Program (GTEP)

Students shared their experiences in the MIP Global Talent Expedition Program (GTEP) at a briefing session.

Six selected students participated in the GTEP, a program that aims to broaden the future career options of students by providing them with opportunities to experience the latest research and venture business activities in overseas countries. The students reported on the activities they participated in while in Boston, USA.

Date/Time: March 28 (Thursday), 2024 / 15:00–18:00
Venue: 1F Fujita Commemorative Lecture Hall & Outreach Area, Med-Pharm Collaboration Building

Archived video (internal use only)

*We are very grateful to the people listed below who generously supported our visit:
Ms. Athanasia Anagnostou, Ginkgo Bioworks
Dr. Hiroto Kambara, Ms. Aiko Kato Sullenberger, Boston Biotech Hub
Dr. Makoto Saito, Boston Japanese Researchers Forum
Mr. Yoshiharu Mizui, Dr. Katsutoshi Ido, Dr. Kou Qin, Eisai innovation inc.
Mr. Akihiro Kamiya, Dr. Shunichiro Matsumoto, Dr. Hiroshi Ochiai, Mr. Tatsuaki Okamura, Mr. Ryunosuke Higashi, Dr. Toshihiko Aiba, ONO Pharma USA
Dr. Suguru Yamasaki, Sumitomo Pharma America
Mr. Imran Nasrullah, Dr. Alberto Nobili, Bayer U.S.
Mr. Nobuhiro Kazama, Mr. Kazuyuki Dan, Bayer Yakuhin, Ltd
Dr. Shin Takayama, Chugai Pharma
Ms. Katherine Cheung, Moderna, Inc
Dr. Jim Nuzzo, Tachi-Aoi
Ms. Naoko Takayanagi, Japan Society of Boston, INC.
Mr. Tai Harada, Dr. Koji Yasuda, Fast Track Initiative
CIC Cambridge
Dr. Johannes Fruehauf, Lab Central
Dr. Hideyuki Igawa, Dr. Daigo Inoyama, Dr. Hidenori Takahashi, Schrödinger KK (NY)
Mr. Ryota Hiramoto, JETRO (NY)
Dr. Keisuke Kuida, Hemavant Sciences TRI-I-TDI (NY)
Dr. Jun Nishida, Dr. Urara Tomita (Daiichi-Sankyo), Dana Farber Cancer Institute
Dr. Anna Yui, Tufts University
Dr. Yousuke Tanigawa, Dr. Norihito Goto, Dr. Tomomi Aida, Dr. Shinya Imada, Mr. Hiromitsu Harimoto, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Dr. Jun Nagai, Dr. Hiroaki Hayashi, Harvard Medical School
Dr. Akiko Sugiyama, HMS, Brigham and Women’s Hospital
Prof. Moriya Tsuji, Columbia University
Dr. Tadasu Nozaki, Harvard Faculty of Arts and Sciences

Professor Shinobu Suzuki, KUMBL, Graduate School of Medicine, Kyoto University
Keiko Okano, PhD, Creative Manager, Open Innovation Institute, Kyoto University

Mr. Kohei Toh studied abroad at the University of California, Berkeley

 I studied abroad at the University of California, Berkeley (UC Berkeley) in the United States using this programu. UC Berkeley is an excellent university, ranked as one of the world’s top 10 universities in various fields and has many Nobel Prize winners including Professor Jennifer A. Doudna. During my study at UC Berkeley, I conducted research in the Nomura Laboratory which specializes in the development of targeted protein degraders (TPDs), belonging to the Innovative Genomics Institute for which Professor Doudna is the director. TPDs are drugs that exert their action by breaking down proteins of interest. Many pharmaceutical companies are striving to develop them. I was involved in a TPD project that aimed to break down difficult-to-degrade cancer-related proteins and conducted experiments to synthesize compounds to degrade such proteins and for assessing their efficacy (i.e., in vitro assays, proteomics, etc.). I successfully carried out this research and ultimately developed a new TPD. During my stay, the local Japanese community supported my research and my adjustment to living overseas. There are many reliable Japanese people with great personalities in the Bay Area. A Japanese man I met there said, “Japanese people studying abroad here tend to manage everything on their own and hesitate to ask others for help.” He said Japanese students should value the relationship with local Japanese communities particularly when they are in overseas countries, and I completely agree. Being abroad, we may face inconveniences and challenges we would not encounter in Japan. In such circumstances, I recommend relying on Japanese communities. I advise students who wish to study abroad to interact with the local Japanese people to extend their network of connections and I believe these connections will help them in the future. I would like to help Japanese people who are experiencing challenges living overseas if I work abroad in the future. This program gave me a great opportunity to reflect on this goal. I’d like to extend my appreciation to everyone who supported my study abroad.

Kohei Toh

Clock Tower in UC Berkeley
Secret Santa event with the laboratory members

Minisymposium-Kyoto University & Academia Sinica(12/7)
Mini-symposium on Recent Advances in Life Sciences NTU(12/8)

Three MIP students, Program-Specific Professor Shinobu Suzuki, and Program-Specific Assistant Professor Eriko Inuki visited Taiwan and participated in two symposiums. The students made presentations at both of the symposiums.
Professor Jun Suzuki (iCeMs) and junior researchers of his laboratory, including students in the Kyoto University Master’s degree program, also presented. They actively interacted with young researchers and graduate students of the Academia Sinica and the National Taiwan University at the symposiums.
President Nagahiro Minato, who was visiting Taiwan to attend a signing ceremony for the Taiwan Kyoto University Scholarship, visited one of the symposium venues to interact with the students. His visit provided the MIP students with a good opportunity to directly speak with him about their research and activities in the MIP. Before their return to Japan, they visited the National Biotechnology Research Park and learned about the Taiwanese seamless program of biomedical research from basic to applied fields.

Shota Yasukura
I appreciated the opportunity to join the researchers’ networking event with the Academia Sinica and the National Taiwan University. It was a valuable experience for me to speak with many Taiwanese students and principal investigators. I was also offered a proposal for collaborative research by a Taiwanese participant and I hope this opportunity will lead to further advancement of our research. I am very thankful to the faculty members and staff who organized these events. Thank you.

Yuichiro Mori
I and local doctoral students made presentations and joined the social gatherings at the National Taiwan University and the Academia Sinica. I participated in these events as the sole public health researcher among the participants, and had an exciting time being exposed to the latest basic scientific knowledge that I rarely have a chance to explore in my daily work. It was a good opportunity for me to organize my knowledge and thoughts in a different way than usual because I had to present my research in a manner that researchers from different disciplines could understand. I was happy to have received active responses from them during the Q&A session. Above all, I really enjoyed the productive four days because the participants from Taiwan and the MIP were wonderful as both researchers and individuals. I sincerely appreciate this valuable opportunity.

Asako Kajiya
I made presentations at the mini-symposiums held at Academia Sinica and the National Taiwan University. These symposiums were held in an interactive manner that was possible only in person. It was a great opportunity for me to discuss research in an atmosphere that is different than usual. The social gatherings after each symposium were very meaningful and motivated me to conduct collaborative research because I observed the passion and warm personalities of the Taiwanese researchers. I really appreciated this valuable opportunity.

*We would like to express our appreciation to all the support and warm welcome for the people and institution who supported our visit:

Dr. Ruey-Bing Yang, Acting Director, Institute of Biomedical Sciences, Academia Sinica
Professor Shih-Kuo Chen, Department of Life Sciences, National Taiwan University
Dr. Han-Chung Wu, Director, Biomedical Translation Research Center, National Biotech Research Park
Professor Jeff Chen, Deputy Director, iCeMS Taiwan Office, Kyoto University
Dr Rong-Jie Chen (Jacky), Project Manager, Innovation Incubation Center, Biomedical Translation Research Center, Academia Sinica
Dr. Shih-Yu Chen, Assistant Research Fellow, Institute of Biomedical Sciences, Academia Sinica

Professor Jun Suzuki, Medical Biochemistry, Cell Membrane Biology, iCeMs, Kyoto University
Professor Shinobu Suzuki, KUMBL, Graduate School of Medicine, Kyoto University
Assistant Professor Eriko Inuki, Medical Education Center, Graduate School of Medicine, Kyoto University

Mr. Takato Nakano conducted MIP Interdisciplinary Joint Research at North Carolina State University

With the support of MIP, I conducted collaborative research for two months at North Carolina State University in the United States.

North Carolina is well known for an academic hub, called the Research Triangle Park. In addition to North Carolina State University, where I did my internship with the generous support from MIP, there are campuses of Duke University and the University of North Carolina. The universities actively collaborate with industry sectors, and as I walked through the campus, I saw many logos and signs of start-ups. The city has abundant greenery, good security and comfortable climate, and that environment allows me to focus on my research. Professor Tsuji’s lab, where I stayed, actively engaged in joint meetings and conferences. The people in the lab were very open for discussions, and I got a lot of inspiration through communication.

The life and research in US were valuable experience, and I deeply thank to everyone involved and to MIP for their support. I hope to apply the knowledge and experiences gained during this stay to my future research.

Takato Nakano

North Carolina State University (NCSU)
myself, Dr. Yoshiaki Tsuji, Dr. Jun Tsuji
State fair

MIP Innovation Exchange

On 15th, MIP student Ryo and Fatima volunteered to provide the topic of the day and MIP friends talked over a cup of tea.
We hope to hold the event again soon.

From Ryo Niwa:
On September 15th, we held an event called “Innovation Exchange”.
Ten participants enjoyed communicating in English. Ms. Hafiza Ishrat Fatima gave a presentation about her home country, Pakistan.
This event expanded the network of doctoral students.
We look forward to promoting more vibrant interactions in the graduate program.

This gathering aims at fostering discussions and friendships both within and outside the program.
The topic covers research, personal experiences, the culture of their home country, and so on.
With our diverse student composition, it is requested for everyone to communicate primarily in English to ensure an inclusive environment.

MIP students visited San Diego

After the symposium “Transformative Innovations in Medical and Life Sciences” @UCSD

From 26 February to 3 March 2023, five MIP students has visited UCSD to attend various events. MIP is grateful to all the researchers and institutions for providing us such a wonderful opportunity.

Dr. Watanabe, MIP coordinator feels that the students have changed however the visit was a short period of time. Such a dynamic research and industrial activities of medical, pharmaceutical, healthcare field as well as the forefront of the venture businesses that they have seen at San Diego has certainly broaden their future career.

On 27 and 28 February, at UCSD, Kyoto University Life Science Showcase and a symposium “Transformative Innovations in Medical and Life Sciences” were held providing the students chances to feel the reality of start-up businesses and cutting-edge research.

Dr. Suzuki of KUMBL accompanied students to internationally competitive pharmaceutical companies and laboratories where they had opportunities to introduce their research themes and interact with researchers. Their activities in massive scale and progress in speed have impressed our students in depth.

After the symposium “Transformative Innovations in Medical and Life Sciences” @UCSD
The Showcase at UCSD’s Duane J Roth Auditorium
On the Patio at JLABS
Presentation and discussion by students with Novartis’s researchers at Novartis’ San Diego site
In the courtyard of Novartis’ San Diego site
Kyoto University on-site lab in Center for Novel Therapeutics, before speaking with Dr. Kimura.
At the La Jolla Shore
Walk on the La Jolla beach and watch the sunset.

Students’ Reports

Ryo Niwa
(1st year, Doctoral Course, Medical Science)

During my time in San Diego, I had several opportunities to speak with modern medical innovators, who all unanimously taught me the importance of “people” in business. The phrase “right person in the right place” is indeed appropriate, and I learned that finding and collaborating with the most necessary talent is essential for innovation. In particular, I felt that it was important to have experienced innovators join the team as mentors, to identify the necessary elements for innovation and work together as a team. When taking on challenges that mostly end in failure, it became clear to me that it is crucial to find talented individuals with experience in leading others to success, in order to increase the chances of success.

Mami Ishibashi
(1st year, Doctoral Course,  Medicine)

As a dermatologist, I have had the opportunity to prescribe antibody drugs, and have witnessed firsthand the remarkable therapeutic results that molecular-specific drugs have achieved compared to existing treatments for refractory skin lesions such as atopic dermatitis and psoriasis vulgaris. I was not very familiar with the process of drug discovery, and my project for the degree was not directly aimed for developing new drugs, but through this exposure, my perception of drug discovery has totally changed. I realized that the development of therapeutic drugs is directly related to the elucidation of disease mechanisms through basic research, and that the study of diseases goes hand in hand with the discovery of new drugs. Thank you very much for giving me such a valuable experience.

Amiri Matsumoto
(2nd year, Doctoral Course, Human Health Science)

I had only experience of research activities in my laboratory and clinical work as an occupational therapist at Kyoto University Hospital, and I was vague about my career. Listening to Japanese professors who are actually conducting research or clinical work in San Diego, I was inspired to consider the option of working not only in Japan but also globally. Through the opportunity to listen to people from startup and venture companies, I strongly felt the necessity to translate the results of research activities into practice in society, and I was able to have a clear picture of these processes. Also, in the tours of corporate laboratories, I was very impressed to observe the state-of-the-art facilities where world-leading research results are produced.

Keisuke Aoki
(2nd year, Doctoral Course, Bioinformatics and Chemical Genomics)

I am very grateful to everyone who has helped me to gain this valuable experience in San Diego. At first, I was both excited and nervous about my first visit to the U.S., but I really enjoyed the full program including attending the symposium, interacting with top researchers, visiting laboratories and companies, UCSD tours, and the beautiful scenery in San Diego. To be honest, before this visit, I had a yearning to study abroad, but I thought I would never do so. However, the few days I spent in San Diego made me less hesitant about studying abroad in the future. Although there were many occasions when I strongly felt that my English skills were not good enough, I wanted to become a person who is active overseas, just like the people I interacted with.
It was a very fulfilling few days!

Yuki Hashizume
(2nd year, Doctoral Course, Medical Science)

I appreciate the support of all parties involved, including MIP. I experienced two major things during this visit to UCSD.
First, I was able to learn about the research and development being conducted at international companies in the U.S. I was able to hear about research that is different from what I am used to through visits to Eli Lilly, Devacell, Novaltis, JLABS by Jhonson & Jhonson, and participation in the Life Science Showcase.
I was particularly impressed by the efficiency and speed of development at large pharmaceutical companies. It reminded me of a factory, with machines performing tasks with as little human intervention as possible. I was overwhelmed, but at the same time, I felt it was important to use my “brain” to decide what to target in my activities.
We were also given the opportunity to hear about our own research in front of people from companies. The comments also allowed me to learn how my research looks from the company’s point of view.
Second, I visited the onsite LAB at Kyoto University’s UCSD and participated in the North American On-Site Laboratory Joint Symposium. I was able to listen to lectures by researchers and interact with local graduate students. That was an experience that would have been difficult to obtain in Japan.
Through this visit, I was able to reconfirm the importance and interest of my own research activities. It was also a good opportunity to rethink my future career. I would like to utilize this experience and try hard in the future.

*MIP would like to express our appreciation to all the support and warm welcome for the people and institution who supported our visit:

Dr. Tomoko Hayashi

Stephanie Truhlar, Associate VP, Lilly Biotechnology Center
Andrew Korytko, Associate VP, LBC External Innovation
Katie Hewitt, Chief Business Officer, Lilly Innovation Solutions
Jonah Rainy, Senior Director, Protein Engineering
Gurkee Singh, Associate VP, Lilly New Ventures Asia
Dr. Hans Keirstead, Director,
Eli Lily at San Diego

Mr. Jeff Sturgis, Chief Operating Officer
DevaCell at CNT

Dr. Miwako Waga
Center for the Future of Surgery @ UCSD

Juliane Morris, Contractor, Innovation Activation Specialist
JLABS @ San Diego

Dr. Sharon Kwan
Novartis @ San Diego

Dr. Yuko Kono

Ms. Eriko Deguchi conducted MIP Interdisciplinary Joint Research at University of Pittsburgh

Cathedral of Learning

With the support of MIP, I have conducted joint research at the University of Pittsburgh for one month.
The UPMC (University of Pittsburgh Medical Center), where I stayed, is a world-famous hospital. They have excellent research facilities. For example, the Imaging Center located in the lower floor of the laboratory I belonged, provides 40 microscopes. In such an inspiring research environment, my project has advanced much more than usual one month, I was very grateful for this experience.

The University of Pittsburgh is about 20 minutes by bus from downtown, and there are many sites related to its culture and history; Carnegie Mellon University, parks, museums, art galleries. It is also known as a students’ city where lots of dormitories and share houses are found. The area attracts tourists and they can be seen on weekends. Overall, the city is safe and very comfortable to live, it was an agreeable environment for researchers.
I am grateful for the support of MIP, which gave me the valuable experience of conducting research overseas. I would like to continue my joint research by making use of what I learned during my stay.

Eriko Deguchi

Prof. Sorkin and Ms. Deguchi
night view of downtown Pittsburgh