2020 Fall Chiba University Graduate School Entrance Ceremony
Congratulations to all of you who have entered the Graduate School of Chiba University. The entrance ceremony was held amid a pandemic of the new coronavirus infection. Still, I am proud to welcome all of you who are highly intellectual graduate students from Japan and from all over the world. All the faculty and staff members look forward to working with you to achieve your goals. I would also like to extend my heartfelt congratulations to all the family members and ask you to watch over the enrolled students on their academic journey warmly.
Under the principle of "always aiming for higher things," Chiba University aims to nurture global human resources to act as leaders in various social fields by working based on advanced expertise and ethics. Our incoming students, I would like to ask you to study academic theory and applications in line with this educational goal and acquire specialized theoretical knowledge and a high level of research capability. In the future, I hope that you will play an active role as a leader in the front lines of a globalized society.
Approximately 40 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 research activities so far.
Before completing the Ph.D. course, I went abroad to continue immunological research at Stanford University. During this study abroad era, I was strongly attracted to immunological memory, which is the core mechanism of the vaccination's preventive effect against infectious diseases. I was able to produce a lot of research achievements.
After returning to Japan, I continued my research on immune memory cells as an assistant professor at Chiba University. However, molecular immunology has become the mainstream at that time. It was not easy to create outstanding papers on immune memory cells' function without modern technologies such as genetic engineering. Then, I went abroad again to study gene manipulation technology at Cologne University in Germany as a visiting researcher.
It was then that I had the opportunity to know the potential of the entire range of new embryo engineering technology. I mastered the technology of both genetic engineering and embryo engineering during my stay in Germany. After that, I continued my research on the same subject applying these technologies for more than 30 years. I was able to identify the master gene for the formation and maintenance of immunological memory.
Without the courage to leave the blessed environment as an assistant professor at Chiba University but to start a new life at Cologne University searching for further research development, I would not have applied the latest embryo engineering technology to immunological memory research. Moreover, without sustained inquiring mind and zeal towards immunological memory, and without support from collaborators, friends, and family, I would not have pursued the immunological memory research for many years.
So, I am convinced that only researchers with strong aspirations and extraordinary personalities can continue their research over many years and become leaders in their chosen areas of expertise. This idea has guided me as a researcher, and I would like to tell you two things that you should keep in mind when conducting graduate school research activities.
One is "Cultivation of Your Personality." When you want to cultivate and improve your personality, it is crucial to train your "Intelligence" and enrich your "General and Cultural Knowledge." You may broaden your "Intelligence" while you are searching for research results during your graduate studies. However, to develop your "General and Cultural Knowledge," you need to gain knowledge and experience in areas other than your own. As a result, you will be flexible and have highly diverse thoughts and ideas, depending on the situation. Therefore, I strongly recommend studying abroad or conducting research activities in different cultures.
Second is "Don't miss innovation of science and technology in different fields." In my case, by incorporating genetic 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. It will be necessary to develop new research that incorporates AI also into the research field you start from now.
Finally, I wish you a fruitful graduate school life, and you will play an active role as a researcher and a practitioner in the front lines of a globalized society in the future. Once again, congratulations and welcome to the Graduate School of Chiba University. Thank you.
October 1st, 2020
President, Chiba University