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
Computational Biology and Medical 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 - Global Leafdership Initiative
Facilities
Reseaerch Center for Total Life Health and Sports Sciences
Center for Omics and Bioinformatics
Bioimaging Center
Functional Proteomics Center
TJCC(UTokyo-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 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 and the Division of Environmental Studies, 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.


Hiroyuki Ohsaki
Chair, Division of Transdisciplinary Sciences

Division of Biosciences

The exponential growth of molecular biology-centric bioscience has evolved this discipline into an increasingly integrated science that transcends the established boundaries of science, engineering, agriculture, pharmacy, and medical science. In terms of content, this transformation is shifting bioscience from its heretofore qualitative focus to a more quantitative approach, while in terms of outward form it is fusing traditional bioscience with once-distant disciplines such as informatics and physical engineering. The mission of the Graduate School of Frontier Sciences is to boldly pursue research on unresolved challenges under the core principle of syn-disciplinarity, and to cultivate leaders with the power to take on those challenges in this way. This concept—the syn-disciplinary approach—neatly sums up the changes taking place across all biosciences today.
 The Division of Biosciences strives to stay a step ahead of these changes in order to develop talented people who can lead the evolution of bioscience. As part of this commitment, we have established the Department of Computational Biology and Medical Sciences by merging our former Department of Medical Genome Sciences with Computational Biology, which had been an independent department outside of all GSFS divisions—Transdisciplinary Sciences, Biosciences, and Environmental Studies. This step was taken to place greater emphasis on the cultivation of capable scientists over the pursuit of research, and it has effectively given birth to a new Division of Biosciences.
The evolution of the biosciences is not progressing at the same rate across all fields. For example, advances are being made much more quickly in medical science, a field where there are many unresolved challenges that society urgently wants tackled. The strategy behind medical research is to create new methods for disease diagnosis, treatment, and prevention by starting from the human genome sequence, adding the vast quantities of metric data on biomolecules—including time course data—and then mathematically analyzing this information to gain a precise understanding of the conditions and mechanisms of diseases. In fact, bioscientists are already amassing human genome data on hundreds of thousands or even millions of people for collation with years of clinical data to make new discoveries that can be applied to real healthcare. Moreover, the way that diseases are elucidated at the molecular level is also shifting; until now the main approach had been analysis of lab animals, but in the years ahead, phenotypic study of people with mutations in the general population promises to be an effective mode of research. We are now witnessing the advent of the era of medical big data, and this revolution will likely transform not only the world of medical research, but also healthcare systems and, through the Internet and other channels, even the structure of society.
The methodology by which big data are collected and used in analysis can be applied to the study of any living organism. In other words, we can say that the era of bio big data is dawning. This means that molecular research could be used to shed light on the intriguing, distinctive characteristics of even organisms that have been studied very little at the molecular level, ranging from amoebas to pandas, and from diatoms to cherry trees. Such research is bound to include the development of molecular-level understanding and mathematical models concerning not only individual species, but also aspects of the greater ecosystem surrounding them, such as instinct and symbiosis. The knowledge gained from this could then be used to create many new applications in fields such as agriculture, the environment, and biotechnology.
 Innovation in the era of medical/bio big data cannot be achieved without the leadership of people who understand medicine, biology, and information science. Unlike established disciplines, however, the cornerstone for building such leaders in this field has not yet been laid. Although the Division of Biosciences has brought together many top experts from diverse areas and has created a new department, we are in fact still in the process of developing our education program through trial and error. Nevertheless, we have a solid track record in experimenting with various approaches to education that take into account the diversity of GSFS students—more than half are graduates of other universities, and their undergraduate majors represent different disciplines such as science, engineering, pharmacy, medicine, as well as the humanities. At the same time, the core principle of the GSFS, syn-disciplinarity, is also a core principle for ushering in the era of medical/bio big data. Guided by this principle and our experience, we have creatively developed an education program that includes modes of learning such as required introductory courses and practical exercises that give students a sense for real-world science. Through this program, the new Division of Biosciences strives to help foster the leaders needed by this discipline and to further pave the way for the era of medical/bio big data.


Sumio Sugano
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.

 

Atsushi Deguchi
Chair, Division of Environmental Studies

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