Graduate School of Frontier Sciences  PROSPECTUS
Introduction
About GSFS
Message from the Dean
Objectives
Faculty Members
List of Lectures
Transdisciplinary Sciences
Advanced Materials Science
Advanced Energy
Complexity Science and Engineering
Biosciences
Integrated Biosciences
Medical Genome Sciences
Environmental Studies
Natural Environmental Studies
Ocean Technology, Policy, and Environment
Environment Systems
Human and Engineered Environmental Sudies
Socio-Cultural Environmental Studies
International Studies
Graduate Program in Sustainability Science
Computational Biology
Facilities
Reseaerch Center for Total Life Health and Sports Sciences
Center for Omics and Bioinformatics
Bioimaging Center
Functional Proteomics Center
TJCC(Todai-JAXA Center for Composites)
Objectives  
Division of Transdisciplinary Sciences

The Division of Transdisciplinary Sciences seeks to enhance human welfare and contentment by stepping beyond established disciplines to create new frontiers in modern science and technology and, by making this paradigm shift, to further enrich human knowledge and overcome obstacles that have eluded solution through conventional approaches. Because science today has focused on highly specialized explorations in compartmentalized disciplines, it is often cited for clouding the interrelationships between those fields. Given the demands and flux of modern society, it is important to construct a new transdisciplinary platform for science to solve the pressing issues facing humankind. Doing so will require sharing a deep appreciation of the interrelationships between disciplines. We believe that this approach will enable us to achieve the kind of knowledge which is essential and oriented to the real world.
The Division of Transdisciplinary Sciences comprises three departments: Advanced Materials Science, Advanced Energy, and Complexity Science and Engineering. It also includes two newly established educational programs, the Nuclear Fusion Research Educational Program and the Educational Program for Creativity in Transdisciplinary Sciences. These departments and programs are grounded in a broad spectrum of disciplines ranging from applied physics and chemistry, materials engineering, and energy science to aerospace engineering, plasma science, electrical engineering, informatics, mathematical engineering, control engineering, nonlinear science, and earth and planetary science. Representing such diverse disciplines, our faculty seeks to realize our division's core principle of generating new frontiers through transdisciplinary approaches, such as teaching cooperative courses in collaboration with faculty in other departments in our division and smoothly sharing information with fellow inter-organizational course instructors.
Correlating the "matter" of science with the "materials" of engineering, the Department of Advanced Materials Science engages in pioneering research and in comprehensive and systematic education at the frontiers of materials science. The Department of Advanced Energy offers courses and research programs that deal comprehensively with issues relating to energy in such areas as cutting-edge physics, materials, systems, and the environment. Through an approach that fuses science with engineering, the Department of Complexity Science and Engineering aims to create multi-scale complexity sciences and technologies from the nano to cosmic levels and to educate talented practitioners in these fields. . By bringing together the best of what has been achieved in nuclear fusion research at the University of Tokyo, the Nuclear Fusion Research Educational Program nurtures the talented individuals who will become leaders of international nuclear fusion research in the future. The Educational Program for Creativity in Transdisciplinary Sciences sharpens techniques of measurement, analysis, simulation, graphics, etc., and by building new methodologies which integrate these techniques, educates and trains those who will be making vital contributions in cutting-edge transdisciplinary fields.
In 2010, the Division of Transdisciplinary Sciences was evaluated by an external agency and received high marks for what it has achieved in terms of creative and transdisciplinary research and human resource development which crosses boundaries between research areas. By continuing to deepen the ties between our departments and programs hereafter, we will develop an environment which is conducive to innovative thinking by our faculty and students and will explore paths that enable them to  enjoy the pursuit of intellectual adventure in a way not experienced elsewhere. Furthermore, by deepening our bonds with the Division of Biosciences, the Division of Environmental Studies, and the Department of Computational Biology, we will aim to create new transdisciplinary fields that cannot be easily developed at Hongo or Komaba and to educate and train talented individuals who will take the lead in solving difficult and complex problems.


Kohzo Ito
Chair, Division of Transdisciplinary Sciences

Division of Biosciences

A stunning evolution has occurred in bioscience in recent years, accompanied by increased segmentation of its disciplines. For some time, however, it has been pointed out that segmentation should be balanced out with greater integration. Segmentation is common to the analytical procedures of science, and progresses with relative ease. In contrast, a clear-cut methodology does not yet exist for integration. Transdisciplinarity, however, represents one model for integration, and since the inception of the Biosciences Division, we have frequently incorporated transdisciplinary approaches in our joint research and other activities. The term "transdisciplinary" tends to be strongly associated with research, but of course it also applies to the integration of education and the creation of new educational systems. Moreover, it can be said that true learning cannot be pursued without the formulation of an educational schema. Traditionally, there has been a tendency for academics to disparage the use of educational schemata for the graduate school level, but since it is expected that conventional models cannot be adequately applied to the transdisciplinary approach, the Division of Biosciences has been closely re-examining the shape of its educational programs.
The vast majority of students in other University of Tokyo graduate schools directly matriculate from the university's undergraduate departments. While such students can also be found in the Graduate School of Frontier Sciences, a greater number come from other universities. The ratio of outside graduates, which varies by department, is approximately two thirds for the GSFS as a whole. The proportion also differs between the two departments in our division, but in both cases more than half of the students are from other universities.
Furthermore, it is not unusual for those outside graduates to have degrees in disciplines other than bioscience, such as science, engineering, agriculture, pharmacology, and medical science. In fact, we have some students whose background is in the humanities. This situation poses a challenge, in that conventional graduate school education is designed to stand on the foundation of the undergraduate educational system, but education at the GSFS cannot be premised on a particular undergraduate educational schema. This means that we are called upon to devise a new graduate school system that accommodates students from diverse undergraduate backgrounds.
The traditional mode of graduate-level education consists mainly of research group-based seminars and research advising, with the content premised on a certain undergraduate curriculum. As noted above, however, education at the GSFS cannot be predicated on a uniform undergraduate curriculum. Consequently, our division has from the beginning tried out a number of approaches designed with diverse student backgrounds in mind. For example, we established such general courses as “Ethics in Science and Technology” and “Lessons in Writing Scientific Papers in English,” with the requirement that all students take these classes in order to acquire foundational skills for engaging in research. In addition, these courses encourage active participation by the students in discussions and presentations, with the goal of developing a common understanding between fellow students, and between the students and the faculty.
Another example is the Department of Integrated Biosciences' system for supporting applicants from various universities and undergraduate departments by showing consideration to them in their research group assignment following enrollment. Specifically, this system is designed for students who were unable to choose a research group during the application process because they were enrolled at a different university and thus did not have adequate access to information on our research groups. In addition, the Department of Medical Genome Sciences runs in-hospital practicums as a way to foster transdisciplinary attitudes by having the students contemplate medical care from the perspective of basic bioscience.
These efforts to design our educational system to incorporate transdisciplinary approaches have been ongoing since our participation in the "Initiatives for Attractive Education in Graduate Schools," which started in the 2005-2006 school year and lasted for two years. As part of that project, the Department of Integrated Biosciences implemented the "Integrated Bio-talents Promoting Program" to promote communication and interaction between courses across the whole school, so as to build a broad platform for stimulating the further evolution of our educational system. At the same time, the Department of Medical Genome Sciences, which has the mission of linking genomic science to the realm of applied medicine, has instituted "Design Verification of Intellectual Property Strategies and Human Resources Development in Bioscience" under the aforementioned Initiatives as a program to design and test bioscience intellectual property strategies, and has established a bioscience intellectual property course, all with the goal of forging a new educational schema that merges intellectual property competencies with the biosciences. Furthermore, the “Medical Genome Science Program” has been established with the support of the “Program for Enhancing Systematic Education in Graduate Schools” from 2007 to 2009. For this new education program, the curriculum has been revised and a certificate is issued to the students who took designated lectures and courses, with the aim of encouraging systematic learning of translational research in the field of biomedical sciences. Such endeavors as these are part of the GSFS' activities to imbue its educational program with a transdisciplinary outlook and invent new educational systems.
Most GSFS students join their first research group during the April or October enrollment period. Students from diverse academic environments come together to receive graduate-level education, resulting in a fusion of the cultures of different universities and disciplines, and creating a unique environment in which the students are nurtured as scholars of the frontiers of science. This is where the transdisciplinary approach to both education and research starts. It is our hope that research will advance in the hands of students steeped in transdisciplinary scholarship, and thereby lead to further evolution of transdisciplinarity in frontier science education and research.


Hiroshi Kataoka
Chair, Division of Biosciences

Division of Environmental Studies

The Division of Environmental Studies (formerly the Environmental Studies Department) was established in 1999. In its research and education programs, the Division aims at providing solutions to complex and diversified environmental problems through close collaboration among experts from different disciplines based on the core principle of “transdisciplinarity.” We aim to shift from the science that merely pursues truth or principles by analyzing phenomena and events to a science that establishes a new academic field that encourages synthesis of the different components associated with complex environmental issues and postulates plausible approaches to conflicting issues.
The Division of Environmental Studies consists of six departments: Natural Environmental Studies; Ocean Technology, Policy, and Environment; Environmental Systems; Human and Engineered Environmental Studies; Socio-Cultural Environmental Studies; and International Studies. These departments are not structured according to specific traditional disciplines. While having their own unique viewpoints and focus areas, they embrace multiple disciplines with the aim of treating various environmental issues in a holistic and comprehensive manner. Based on this structure, the Division of Environmental Studies aims at establishing environmental studies as a new academic field that will lead to the design and creation of the future environment through a transdisciplinary approach.
“Knowledge Explosion” represents how remarkable the every-increasing speed of the evolution of intelligence and technology has become. In addition, the development of means to communicate information has greatly altered the quality of human life. Today’s world has diverse needs for an affluent society and for the expansion of living space. On the other hand, global-scale social problems such as regional differences and economic disparities have become more evident. What is more, the global environment, notably the issue of climate change, has become a critical issue for all humankind. The problems that need solving extend spatially and temporally, and they are complexly intertwined. When we ponder the problems of the environment under such conditions, aiming for the optimization of a snapshot at each moment does not suffice. We must develop a clear image of the vision of an ideal future, and we must also consider rational and practical ways to connect the goals and the present moment through a seamless transition. Acknowledging the diversity of values and then discovering far-reaching optimized solutions is challenging; yet all the more reason for creating a new paradigm through transdisciplinarity beyond existing academic frameworks and for making this the mission of environmental studies and research.
The Division offers inter-department educational programs in addition to the individual curricula of the departments. They include the Graduate Program in Sustainability Science, a degree course in which all the courses are taught in English; and certificate programs such as the Environmental Management Program; and the Integrated Environment Design Program. These programs are intended to provide students with the skills required for solving multi-tiered environmental problems through a broad perspective and for developing human resources capable of creating new industries based on the same outlook. The university-wide transdisciplinary programs in the Department of Ocean Technology, Policy, and Environment are good examples of how integral interdisciplinary education is to the Division
Internationalization is another important theme for the Division of Environmental Studies, with its emphasis on creating an environment where students from all over the world can study together by taking such concrete steps as increasing the number of lectures in English, providing more scholarships for foreign students, and providing various services to foreign students to support their living experience in Japan in addition to supporting their research and academic experience at The University of Tokyo.
The Division of Environmental Studies has a one-of-a-kind structure for research and education under the concept of “transdisciplinarity,” and has gained a renowned position internationally as a center of excellence in the field of environmental studies.

 

Toru Sato
Chair, Division of Environmental Studies

Department of Computational Biology

Bioinformatics, the study of the information technology necessary to biology, is a new discipline that was created by genomic scientists as a fusion of bioscience and informatics for efficient computer processing of the vast collection of gene sequence information that they amassed in their research. The importance of this new science is seen in its role in the development of analytical tools and databases during the era of genome sequencing, and in its application in the post-genome era to the performance of diverse data analyses (such as gene expression, molecular interaction, genomic polymorphism, intracellular location, biopathways, gene networks, and mutant phenotypes). Today, bioinformatics is widely recognized not only as a tool for supporting research, but also as a discipline intrinsically indispensable to deciphering the program of life. There are two central functions to bioinformatics: development of the information technology needed to streamline and support bioscience and the bioindustry, and investigation of life using the techniques and concepts of bioinformatics. Both of these roles form an axis that is essential to the advancement of bioscience and the bioindustry. For this reason, the Department of Computational Biology has developed a program of education that teaches students the research methods and analytical techniques necessary for dealing with both sides of bioinformatics. It is because of this posture that we chose to name our department not after the term "bioinformatics," but with the neologism "computational biology," which refers to the pursuit of bioscience from the perspective of information science. Our department trains students to be able to develop information technology and biometrical techniques for systematically understanding genomics and biological phenomena, and to apply those skills to the pioneering of new frontiers in bioscience. Future analysis and simulation of in-vivo pathways and networks will likely require an approach that starts with a study of the way in which problem setting is to be carried out, as well as the construction of methodologies based on perspectives completely different from the conventional paradigms. Moreover, these efforts will probably also entail development of experiment design and metrology. Accordingly, we make it our mission to supply academia and industry with scientists who can single-handedly carry out the entire process of discovering, formulating, and solving problems. As of today, nearly a century after Mendel's Laws were rediscovered in 1900, and roughly 50 years following the 1953 discovery of DNA's double-helix structure, scientists have already decoded the genomes of humans and many other life forms. Still, it is in the years ahead that the significance of computational biology will truly be demonstrated. Of the various educational and research organizations selected by Japan's Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) for its COE (Center Of Excellence) Program, our department has been chosen twice in a row as the predominant leader in bioinformatics (“Elucidation of Language Structure and Semantics behind Genome and Life Systems” in FY2004-2008 for 21st COE and “Deciphering Biosphere from Genome Big Bang” in FY2009-2013 for Global COE). In addition, the Center for Omics and Bioinformatics was launched in 2008 to promote research and education in life sciences on the basis of "Omics": integrated genomics, proteomics, transcriptomics, metabolomics, and bioinformatics. As described above, immersed in the international tide of bioinformatics research, the faculty and students of the Department of Computational Biology work as one to open up new realms of study.



Shinichi Morishita
Head, Department of Computational Biology

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