Institute for Integrated Cell-Material Sciences (iCeMS) at Kyoto University
At iCeMS our mission is to develop new insights into the principles of life that distinguish living things from non-living things, and harness these ideas to create bio-inspired super materials and devices that will revolutionize health-care, medicine, industry and the environment, and create a sustainable world for all.
Our Institute at Kyoto University was founded in 2007, as one of the first five research centers within the World Premier International Research Center Initiative (WPI) program established by Japan’s Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT).
iCeMS’ international team of 19 principal investigators (PIs) and 160 researchers, a third of whom are drawn from overseas, concern themselves with the science of biochemical and biophysical processes within DNA, proteins, cells and beyond.
"Cells are capable of creating copies of themselves and also creating the inert material world around them. However thus far, in human history, materials are incapable of enacting self-creation or reproduction,” explains iCeMS PI Dr. Easan Sivaniah, “This is just one of the profound chasms between the synthetic and biological worlds. Here at iCeMS we are attempting to bridge that divide".
Combining Kyoto University's established strength in cell biology, chemistry and physics, iCeMS scientists are thus creating a unique new research field: integrated cell-material science. Research arenas encompass coordination chemistry, polymer science, bio nanotechnology, chemical biology, stem and germ cell biology, neural stem cell biology, developmental neurobiology, biological physics, interface science and active bio-matter, and membrane biology. Cognitive rejuvenation, heart regeneration, ‘wearable organs’ and a replacement for fossil fuels are just a few of our goals.
“Our long-term goal is to see if we can reproduce cellular structures with unique materials of our own design, so-called cell-inspired materials,” explains institute Director, Susumu Kitagawa. “The great physicist Richard P. Feynman once wrote “What I cannot create, I do not understand’. In other words, only in the process of creation can we achieve true understanding. That’s iCeMS.”