From current and graduated students

Visiting to international meetings and foreign laboratories (2009)

Ph.D.course student   Hirohide Takahashi
Croucher Advanced Study Institute New Developments in Optical Microscopy; Seeing into the Future of Cell biology(HongKong)
11th to 15th January, 2010

The meeting was for scientists who are working on the imaging techniques in biology such as Stimulated Emission and Detection (STED), Total Internal Reflection Fluorescence Microscopy (TIRFM) and Atomic Force Microscopy (AFM). Although the scale of the meeting was not very massive(about 200 participants), researchers and students from around the world including Asian countries, European countries and the United States gathered in the meeting and discussed in oral and poster session. I presented a poster about a collaborative research project with Prof. Edwardson in department of pharmacology at University of Cambridge. In the poster session, I had a meaningful discussion with a number of researchers. As a result, I received the best poster award (Photo 1 and 2).

Photo 1 In front of my poster
Prof. Edwardson (The University of Cambridge, UK) Prof. Takeyasu (my supervisor), Prof. Miller (University of HongKong for Science and Technology), me and Prof. Oberleithner (Munster University) (from left to right)

Hands-on workshop demonstrating various single molecule techniques in biological studies was held as a program in this meeting. I participated in this program as a teaching assistant for AFM demonstration and showed how to operate AFM to the participants (Photo 3). The workshop was taken place several times during the conference and a number of visitors came to the AFM demonstration. The teaching experience included not only just operating AFM but also explaining principle of AFM and talking to the other researchers about possibilities of AFM in biological applications was very meaningful for me. I believe that this experience brought me a broad view to build up novel research project using AFM. As stated above, I had spent very busy and fruitful days in Hong Kong through the poster presentation and the TA's job.

Finally, I would like to thank this funding program and my supervisor, Prof. Takeyasu. The research project which I presented in this meeting was originally started at 2007 when I visited University of Cambridge by a funding support from my school. This time, my travel cost and participation fee were supported again from the same funding program. In addition, I also appreciate of the English learning tutorial of this school. Before the conference, this program offered me an opportunity to learn English for poster presentation. The tutor, Mr. Andrew carefully taught me logical and academic speaking in English for the poster presentation. Thanks to the tutorial, I could speak proper English not only in the poster presentation but also in the AFM workshop. I would like to thank him as well.

Photo 2 (Top) In the ceremony of the best poster award
I (second from left) received the best poster award in the meeting and got red wine.
Photo 3 (Bottom) With Prof. Edwardson in the AFM's hands-on workshop
A set of Instruments between Prof. Edwardson (left) and me (middle) is AFM.

Ph.D.course student   Hirohide Takahashi
Prof. Hinterdorfer's laboratory Institute of Biophysics, Johans Kepler University, Austria
5th to 12th February, 2010

In February 2010, I visited Prof. Peter Hinterdorfer's laboratory at Johans Kepler University in Austria. Prof. Hinterdorfer is one of the most famous scientists in single molecule biology using atomic force microscopy (AFM). During the stay, I aimed to learn single molecule handling technique using AFM and to set up research collaboration with his laboratory.

From 5th to 8th, I took part in Linz Winter Workshop which is an annual meeting organised by Prof. Hinterdorfer (Photo 1). Various 'nano-biologists' who study single molecule studies such as measurement of single molecule interaction and AFM imaging of single molecules gathered from various countries to attend at the conference. I presented a poster of my research project in the Ph D course. During the conference, numbers of researchers and students visited my poster and I exchanged meaningful ideas with them. Since 'nano-biology' with AFM is a very unique research in comparison with general biological studies such as biochemistry and cell biology, each presentation by the participants was very useful for me.

Photo 1 Certification of attendance at Linz Winter Workshop

From 9th to 12th, I stayed in Prof. Hinterdorfer's laboratory. What I aimed during the stay was to learn recognition imaging, a special technique in AFM imaging which enables us to identify specific molecules within an AFM image. For this purpose, I brought several proteins from Japan and tried to take images of the proteins by the recognition imaging. Students and posdocs in Hinterdorfer's laboratory were helpful and taught me detailed operating steps of AFM.

In addition, I could set up research collaboration with Prof. Hinterdorfer's laboratory. On one hand, Prof. Hinterdorfer and his colleagues have been successful in taking recognition images of various biological architectures such as chromatin, organelle and cell membrane. On the other hand, my laboratory has been working on biological analysis of cell membrane and ion pumps on the plasma membrane such as sodium/potassium ion exchange pump. For the research collaboration, we agreed to take recognition image of several biological samples brought form Kyoto in Prof. Hinterdorfer's laboratory.
Finally, I would like to thank this funding program and my supervisor, Prof. Takeyasu.

Photo 2 (Top) Johans Kepler University
A high building in the back is Institute of Biophysics.
Photo 3 (Bottom) In the pub near the university
Prof. Hinterdorfer (left), his colleagues and me (third from right).

Ph.D.course student   Masaharu Uno
Poster presentation at 17th International worm meeting (June 24 - 28, 2009 at the University of California, Los Angeles campus)

Dietary restriction increases lifespan in many species and delays the onset of multiple age-related diseases. An intermittent fasting (IF) regimen is one of the most effective way of dietary restriction to extend the lifespan of C. elegans, and requires the FOXO transcription factor DAF-16 for its maximal effect. Here we show that a KGB-1 pathway, one of the C. elegans MAP kinase (MAPK) pathways, is essential for IF-induced longevity. We find that the loss of kgb-1 (the gene encoding a JNK-type MAPK), mek-1 (an MKK7-type MAPKK), mlk-1 (an MLK-type MAPKKK), or nsy-1 (an ASK1-type MAPKKK) suppresses IF-induced longevity, and that KGB-1 is activated in response to fasting. Interestingly, the loss of kgb-1 suppresses the fasting-induced changes in the expression of DAF-16 transcriptional target genes without affecting fasting-induced DAF-16 nuclear translocation. We thought that jun-1 (a C. elegans orthologue of c-jun, which is a major target of JNK) and its partner fos-1 could be also required for the fasting-induced changes in the expression of DAF-16 transcriptional target genes, and that both JUN-1 and FOS-1 are downstream targets of KGB-1.
Thank to the "English communication program", I could presentment our studies at 17th international worm meeting. This meeting was the biggest meeting for scientists who research with C. elegans, so thousands of the worm scientists from various fields attended this meeting. During the meeting, I could get the latest studies, and also discuss about the studies. Moreover, at the workshop, many top scientists told us how to use the leading-edge technologies. These experiences gave me the new point of view when I think about my study. As a part of "English communication program", I prepared for the poster presentation in English, it enabled me to explain my studies more smoothly. Finally, I would like to thank the committee of the "English communication program" to give me the chance to have an opportunity to announce my studies at the 17th international worm meeting.

Ph.D.course student   Hugo Maruyama
Poster presentation at the Gordon Research Conferences, Archaea: Ecology, Metabolism & Molecular Biology (Waterville Valley, NH, USA)
July 23rd to August 2nd, 2009

This was a specialized conference on studies in Archaea. I had been using Archaea in my research for 2 years but had not had a chance to meet other people in the field. At this conference, I could meet and discuss with people such as Dr. John Reeve from Ohio State University, who discovered archaeal histones, and Dr. Thorsten Allers from the University of Nottingham, who studies DNA repair in Archaea. It was also exciting to meet other young students in the field.
During the poster session, I had a chance to discuss with Dr. Malcolm White from the University of St. Andrews and Dr. Michael Thomm from the University of Regensburg and gained helpful suggestions and insights for my study. I received the second place poster award among about 40 posters presented by graduate students. I was also told that a meeting about Archaea would be held in the UK the following year and I should consider presenting my study there. Overall, It was a very fruitful experience for me to attend this conference and I would like to thank the program for the support.

Master's course student   Shunsuke Yagi
Gordon Research Conference, Mechanisms of Cell Signaling, Oxford, UK
23rd to 29th August, 2009

The most important point of this trip is that I successfully took many ideas and opinions from a lot of researchers for my study that had not been completed. It could help me to proceed my study. I had a poster session instead of a talk session. I spent 2 hours a day in the session. It was good opportunity to have discussion on my research, face to face. In a symposium, I got a bunch of cutting-edge knowledge reported by famous PIs. It made me to know the position of my study in a field of cell biology.
This trip was meaningful on practice for English in many ways. First off, I thought I made some confident to explain my work in English. People could understand my work and they told me that was nice. A pre-practice supported by the life science communication program was very helpful to prepare my presentation in English. Second off, however, I want to say that I have no chance against foreign researchers who speak, write and read in English in science fields for now. I was completely defeated. Although I could have a discussion on my study in English, I could not do that on other studies. It was very sad. But I was lucky because I could notice that fact early in my research life.

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