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Initiative grows collaboration between IUPUI and universities in Japan

January 20, 2016

An IU School of Medicine faculty member hopes an initiative he led last year to increase collaboration in health sciences between IUPUI and universities in Japan will continue to grow this year.

That initiative resulted in the Toyo University - IUPUI International Scientific Exchange Symposium, held last October at IUPUI.

"It was the first activity at IUPUI for our budding network," said Tatsuyoshi Kono, an assistant research professor of medicine. Previously, two IUPUI scientists, Dr. A.J. Baucum, assistant professor in biology, and Dr. Emily Anderson-Baucum, a postdoc in medicine, traveled to Toyo University as a part of the International Scientific Symposium and Summer Camp. This opportunity brought scientists from around the globe to Japan to help Toyo undergraduate and graduate students with their scientific presentation skills.

The initiative also supported Japan Healthcare Professions, a program administered by the IUPUI Department of World Languages and Cultures in which eight students visited two private universities -- Juntendo University and Waseda University -- to learn about health systems, nursing practice or robotics in medical care in Japan.

"Over the past year, I have been working closely with the IUPUI Office of International Affairs to create an international scientific and educational collaboration between IUPUI and universities in Japan," Kono said. "The goal is to foster cutting-edge collaborative research and to build stronger ties with our university partners in Japan."

"Toyo is a highly ranked private university in Japan, and there is considerable potential for this relationship to develop, for postgraduate students to be recruited to IU and for professional development opportunities for our faculty," Kono said.

Twelve faculty and postgraduate students from Toyo University participated, along with faculty from the School of Science, Center for Diabetes and Metabolic Diseases, Stark Neuroscience Institute, IU School of Medicine, and the Office of International Affairs.

The symposium was jointly sponsored by the School of Medicine, the Stark Neuroscience Institute, the Diabetes Centers, the departments of Biology and Psychology in the School of Science, and the Office of International Affairs.

The event was also supported by Pawel Fludzinski, honorary consul of Japan in Indianapolis.

"Through the presentations and discussions, attendees came up with new collaboration opportunities to build on this international relationship," Kono said. "We expect more scientists and students will be involved in this event next year."

The symposium, featuring workshops, posters and roundtable sessions, focused on diabetes and neuroscience research in Indianapolis.

"One of the Toyo students told me that he was amazed by the research environment of IUPUI and the School of Medicine and would consider coming to IUPUI to work as a postdoctoral fellow," Kono said. "He also loves Indianapolis because of the nice people here."

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