Institute for Frontier Medical Sciences, Kyoto University
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Kyoto University
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Message from the Director | History | Organization
Message from the Director

    Universities have missions to promote education and academic researches. Most important mission of universities is to maintain, without degeneration, the findings by previous researchers, theories based on them, and science comprised of all of them, convey them to young scholars entering the universities, and further develop the grand framework of science. In addition, it is also necessary to boldly challenge difficult problems with flexible ideas while treating the grand framework of science with respect. At Kyoto University, the former is represented by the power of tradition, while the latter is represented by academic freedom. Although the division of roles is not clear-cut, it may be said that faculties/graduate schools have strived for the former while research institutes/centers have strived for the latter.
    The Institute for Frontier Medical Sciences has 70 years of history since its initial foundation as the Tuberculosis Research Institute. Usually, the university department meeting rooms have portraits of successive heads of each department solemnly lined up on the walls, but there are no such portraits in the meeting rooms of our institute. This may be due to our choice of academic freedom over traditions, which could turn into shackles of the past. Over the past 14 years since reorganization, researchers at the institute have received the Japan Academy Prize and other notable academic awards for their researches. In response to the initiative by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology to found world-premier research centers, Prof. Shinya Yamanaka left his post to establish the Center for iPS Cell Research and Application, and Prof. Shimon Sakaguchi moved to the Immunology Frontier Research Center, Osaka University. It has been the great pleasure of successive directors, researchers, technical staffs, and clerical staffs of the institution to provide research facilities allowing the realization of such remarkable research achievements. We believe that this could be achieved thanks to the tradition in Kyoto University to respect academic freedom.
    The Japanese name of the Institute for Frontier Medical Sciences is Saisei Ikagaku Kenkyujo, which means "Institute for Regenerative Medicine". It is currently the only institute in Japan bearing the name "saisei ikagaku (regenerative medicine)". It has approximately 150 staff members who conduct research on studies related to regenerative medicine, such as basic biology, stem cell biology, and engineering, as well as applied studies on regenerative medicine. Further, the institution provides education and research guidance to approximately 100 graduate students and research students every year. The institution has also been acknowledged as a joint usage/research center for regenerative medicine in order to operate as Japan's core research center for regenerative medicine. Its obligations are continually increasing. We strive in research and education together with the research staff for the development of regenerative medicine. We thank you for your continuing support.

Hiroo Iwata,Ph.D
Institute for Frontier Medical Sciences
Kyoto University