2018 Fall Chiba University Graduate School Entrance Ceremony
Congratulations and welcome to the Graduate School of Chiba University. I am proud to have highly studious graduate students like you, not only from Japan but also from countries around the world. All the faculty and staff are excited to work with you. I also would like to offer my sincere gratitude to family members of our new students for attending this ceremony. I hope you warmly watch over the start of their academic journey.
To our incoming students, I would like you to maintain a sincere inquiring mind and zeal while studying academic theories and applications based on your previous experiences and achievements. I hope you develop a high research capability so that you may play an active role in the front line of our global society.
Approximately forty years ago, I entered this same graduate school to study Immunology that interested me as an undergraduate. Since then, I have been researching Immunology for over 35 years as a university faculty member. So I will tell you what I have been thinking about in the process of research activities so far and what I want you to do.
I was able to produce a lot of research achievements with the guidance of a wonderful mentor at the graduate school. After completing the PhD course, I went abroad to continue immunological research at Stanford University as a postdoctoral fellow. During my postdoctoral days, I was strongly attracted to immunological memory, which is the core mechanism of the preventive effect of the vaccination against infectious diseases. In the third year of study abroad, there was an offer to push the assistant professor from a professor who was a mentor in the graduate school. So, I accepted the offer of a faculty position at Chiba University and started my research on the formation and maintenance of immunological memory.
I published many papers on immunological functions of lymphocytes. However, I could not find the method to approach immunological memory research. Furthermore, it was not so easy to create outstanding papers without modern technologies at that time such as genetic engineering. Although the research environment at Chiba University was very fine, I went abroad again to study gene technology at the Institute of Genetics of Cologne University in Germany as a visiting researcher.
It was then that I learned the recent progress of the entire range of new embryo engineering technology, and immediately realized that it was a key technology for immunological memory research. So, I mastered the technology of embryo engineering during my stay in Germany, and applied it to my immunological memory research. After that, I continued my research on the same subject for more than thirty years, and I was able to identify the master gene for the formation and maintenance of immunological memory.
Without courage to leave the blessed environment at Chiba University but to start a new life at Cologne University, I could not find any clue to immunological memory research. From the experience, I came to realize that the personality of a researcher would naturally come out in the process of research.
Without sustained inquiring mind and efforts towards immunological memory, and without support from collaborators, friends and family, I could not be what I am now. So, I am convinced that only researchers with excellent personality can continue their research over many years and become leaders in their chosen areas of expertise. This has guided me as a researcher, and I would like you to keep two things in mind to be future leaders.
One is "Innovation of science and technology in different fields". In my case, by incorporating cell culture technology, genetic engineering technology and embryo engineering technology into my research, I was able to continue pursuing one research theme for many years. What I am paying attention to now is technological innovation on artificial intelligence, abbreviated as AI. With the widespread use of the Internet and computer speeding up, it has become possible to acquire enormous electronic data in a short time, and due to the development of Deep Learning method, the technical evolution of AI is accelerating faster. I think that the time has come when we must actively incorporate AI technology into various research fields. It will be necessary to develop new research that incorporates AI also into the research field you start from now.
Second is "Cultivation of Your Personality". To cultivate and improve your personality, it is important to train your "Intelligence", translation in Japanese, "Chisei", and enrich your "General and Cultural Knowledge", translation in Japanese, "Kyoyo". "Chisei" and "Kyoyo". You may be able to broaden your "Chisei/Intelligence" while you are searching for research results during your graduate studies. However, to develop your "Kyoyo", you need to gain knowledge and experience in areas other than your own. You need to be flexible and to have highly diverse thoughts and ideas depending on the situation. Therefore, I strongly recommend studying abroad or conducting research activities that expose you to cultures and arts in the world.
To cultivate your personality, it is also essential to be guided by a researcher who can be a life mentor. I was fortunate to find one such person during my graduate studies. I received his instructions and influence not only in my research, but in many ways. I ask you to make efforts to learn human qualities as a researcher, or philosophical perspectives towards research tasks, not only technical guidance. And please seek out opportunities to learn from many researchers besides faculty of Chiba University; you may discover your life mentor among research collaborators or oversea researchers.
In conclusion, I want you to be active and sincere in all you do, and I wish you a fruitful graduate school life and further growth as a researcher and person. Once again, congratulations and welcome to the Graduate School of Chiba University. Thank you.
October 1st, 2018
President, Chiba University