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Message from the Dean

東北大学大学院生命科学研究科長 杉本 亜砂子 

"Luck" × "Insight" = ?

Dean, Graduate School of Life Sciences, Tohoku University
Asako Sugimoto

  Have you heard of the word “serendipity”? There is no appropriate Japanese word for serendipity, but it roughly means "discovering unexpected things" or "finding valuable things not sought for." Serendipity has often played important roles in innovative discoveries during the history of life science research. Discovery of penicillin is an example. In 1914, Alexander Fleming, who was cultivating bacteria, noticed that they were killed in the vicinity of mold that happened to contaminate. This triggered the discovery of the world's first antibiotic penicillin from the mold culture. There could have been many scientists who had contaminated mold with culturing bacteria, but only Fleming, with his deep insight, could lead to the outstanding discovery from the failed experiments. In other words, serendipity is not merely luck, but “luck” ✕ (multiplied by) “insight”.
  The Graduate School of Life Sciences was founded in 2001 as a core base for fundamental research and education in the life sciences field at Tohoku University. In order to meet the dramatic development of life science research in recent years and the diversified social and industrial needs, last year we reorganized and established three departments, "Integrative Life Sciences," "Ecological Developmental Adaptability Life Sciences," and "Molecular and Chemical Life Sciences." Research subjects range from molecules, cells, tissues, animals, and plants to biological communities. Research fields include organic chemistry, structural biology, molecular biology, cell biology, developmental biology, plant science, neuroscience, cognitive science, genome informatics, ecology, and evolutionary biology. It is not an overstatement to say that this covers the entire field of life sciences. We collaborate with researchers from medicine, pharmacology, agriculture, and information science departments in the university, thereby actively promoting interdisciplinary research. Besides, we also set up a "Bioindustry Human Resource Development Curriculum" to train students who aim to work in the bioindustry.
  By acquiring state-of-the-art knowledge and skills in the new curriculum of the Graduate School of Life Sciences, your “insight” will be refined. In addition, by interacting with diverse and distinctive faculty members, the probability of “luck” that creates a discovery should rise. Why do you not find your serendipity = “luck” ✕ “insight” at the Graduate School of Life Sciences?
April 1, 2019