RIKEN holds joint symposium with the University of Liverpool

The joint symposium was held on November 12, 2009 at the RIKEN Wako campus and featured presentations by five visiting members of the UoL and five RIKEN researchers.

Over the years, researchers at RIKEN and the University of Liverpool (UoL) have fostered strong research ties through a number of productive collaborations centering on SPring-8, RIKEN’s world-class synchrotron radiation facility in Harima, Japan. The joint symposium held on November 12, 2009 at the RIKEN Wako campus, featuring presentations by five visiting members of the UoL and five RIKEN researchers, grew out of this interdisciplinary research. Along with their latest research results, presenters shared their ideas on the importance of international collaboration in a world of increasingly globalized higher education.

One example of such collaboration was described by Samar Hasnain, professor at the UoL’s School of Biological Sciences. Hasnain traced the path by which his discussions with Hiromichi Kamitsubo, a former executive director at RIKEN who played a leading role in the establishment of SPring-8, developed into key institutional partnerships. Stephen Holloway, pro vice chancellor of the UoL School of Natural Sciences, reiterated the importance of such partnerships in outlining his university’s approach to internationalization, where he stressed the value not only of research links, but also of student and staff exchanges.

Reflecting the diversity of research conducted at RIKEN and the UoL, research-oriented presentations at the symposium covered a wide range of topics. The topic of bio-imaging techniques in particular sparked lively discussions. Mark White of the UoL introduced his latest achievement on spatial and temporal information coding by the Nf-κB system. Atsushi Miyawaki from the RIKEN Brain Science Institute described new fluorescent probes he developed recently, and also offered new perspectives on bioscience. Yasushi Sako from the RIKEN Advanced Science Institute (ASI) reported on his discovery of intracellular signal transduction using single-molecule imaging. The symposium ended with closing remarks by Holloway, who mentioned an exchange program between UoL students and young researchers at the RIKEN SPring-8 Center, scheduled to be launched soon.

At the banquet, it was announced that Yousoo Kim, one of the speakers from RIKEN ASI, had been awarded the Sir Martin Wood Prize the day before the symposium in recognition of his remarkable achievements in condensed matter physics. Laboratory Head Maki Kawai, who has supported Kim since his arrival from Korea, described Kim’s achievement as among the most memorable events of her life.