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The Kitasato Institute


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Greetings from the Dean

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@To cope with infectious diseases

     Infectious diseases have afflicted mankind since the dawn of history. Smallpox and measles were introduced with Buddhism into Japan in the Nara era, and human exchanges have propagated infectious diseases as well as culture, civilization, and new knowledge. Many pathogenic microorganisms including bacteria, viruses, and fungi were discovered in the 19th century, and the molecular mechanisms of pathogenesis have only been recently recognized. Smallpox is the only disease that was conquered by humans through their struggles against infectious diseases. In addition to the advent of novel infectious diseases such as AIDS and H5N1 influenza, many diseases that have affected people for centuries still remain to be eradicated.

     Kitasato Institute for Life Sciences was organized in 2001 as a successor to the Kitasato Institute founded in 1914 by Doctor Shibasaburo Kitasato. We have continued basic research on infections and have contributed greatly to society by developing anti-infectious drugs, vaccines, and anti-cancer agents on the basis of the knowledge obtained through basic studies. As humans have intervened in infections with antibiotics and vaccines, problems such as the development of resistant strains have appeared, and the circumstances of infections have changed with time. To cope with the changing picture of infectious diseases, approaches appropriate to the current situations are necessary. The control of infectious diseases requires strategic actions including the analysis of pathogenic mechanisms, understanding of pathology, epidemiologic surveillance of epidemics, development of diagnostic agents, creation of treatments, and development of vaccines as preventive agents. As an institute attached to a university, we also assume the task of fostering and educating researchers of the next generation in addition to conducting research activities. We aim to nurture human resources with a practical and logical research mind and a broad perspective by having trainees acquire a wide range of expertise and the worldfs latest technology while always being conscious about their applications by working with research staff.

     The Kitasato Institute for Life Sciences is composed of the Departments of Infection Control and Immunology and Drug Discovery Sciences, specializing in research and education concerning infections and the creation of new drugs, respectively. It also promotes research through endowed courses and industry-academia collaborations and organizes research projects on particular themes responding to time-associated changes in the circumstances of infections. The disease structure has also changed due to an increase in size of the elderly population and decrease in the number of children, and global infection control measures are demanded as infections have become borderless with the globalization of social and economic activities. The mission of our institute is to contribute to society through efforts to control infections by intensifying cooperation with domestic and overseas organizations.

Dean Tetsuo Nakayama