The International Research Center for Medical Sciences (IRCMS) was launched in Kumamoto University in 2015. This institute was established by the former President of Kumamoto University and lead by the director of IRCMS. Fortunately, we have shown a good start and significant progress within the first stage, despite of a disaster of Kumamoto earthquake in 2016. We have currently 11 PIs including 4 professors, more than 70 people working in this institute, and have published significant numbers of papers in high quality journals. Around 40% of our members are international, and young researchers are actively involved in institutional organizations, such as institutional seminars, journal clubs, social events and so on. The institute hosts many seminars by visiting researchers and guest speakers from many countries in the world. Furthermore, a new network to connect research core-facilities within our university with state of the art equipment and technologies is being constructed under the leadership of a vice director, Prof. Hitoshi Takizawa.
IRCMS has a strong interest in developing global collaborations. To raise international visibility, IRCMS is focusing on exchange of young graduate students and postdoctoral scientists with partner institutes abroad. Furthermore, IRCMS has provided hands-on research opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students as "Research Interns" who show strong interest in advanced medical research. This internship is very popular especially in Asia, and is getting more and more competitive to join. Importantly, the internship has encouraged many of interns to return to IRCMS as postdocs and graduate students, as we have some cases in fact.
We would like to lead fundamental research in the areas of Stem Cell Biology, Development and Cancer, and encompass basic to translational medicine. Kumamoto University has several unique research institutes including the Institute of Molecular Embryology and Genetics (IMEG) covering stem cell and developmental biology research, the Joint Research Center for Human Retrovirus Infection, and the Institute of Resource Development and Analysis (IRDA) emphasizing transgenic and knockout mouse technologies. IRCMS is collaborating with these research institutes along with the Medical School and the University Hospital nearby. IRCMS will serve as a model institute pioneering and revolutionalizing medical researches in Japan.
Toshio Suda, M.D., Ph.D.
Director, International Research Center for Medical Sciences