Graduate School of Frontier Biosciences, Osaka University


Study Abroad Program

The followings are the students' reports on overseas activities including poster sessions, oral sessions, or heated discussions at the international meetings. These precious experiences will provide great benefit for their studies, as well as minds.

*This program is supported by "Takuetsu", one of the subsidies of Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology in Japan.

Koichi Hiraoka
Koichi Hiraoka

CheY-P binding to the bacterial flagellar motor affects not only the direction but also the speed of rotation.

2014.1.12 - 18

Koichi Hiraoka
( Graduate School of Frontier Biosciences, Namba Lab.)


I attended the Gordon Research Conference on Sensory Transduction in Microorganisms held for 6 days from the 24th of January, 2014 at Ventura, California. The Gordon Research Conference is one of the world premier meetings in the academic research field, and each conference always attracts prominent scientists in its particular discipline from over the world. In this conference, participants present and discuss unpublished data. Therefore, I was able to discuss my latest data with many researchers in the field and to exchange information with foreign competitor. My research project is the observation and analysis of rotatoin characteristics of the bacterial flagellar motor. One group of the major competitors in this area also attended this conference. I obtained some useful information to improve my experiment from them, and we both told the progress of our experiments with each other. I was surprised to find that so many scientists are studying bacterial flagella. Many presentations were also on cyclic di-GMP, which is responsible for signal transduction involved in cell division, biofilm formation and bacterial flagellar motor rotation.

Oral sessions were held in the morning and evening every day and the afternoon was dedicated to free discussion and poster sessions. Speakers were not all professors but also included graduate students and postdocs. It was nice to see that anyone has a chance to be selected as an oral speaker regardless of the position and age if the study is exciting and attractive. It was also very good that almost all the participants made presentations in the poster sessions in the late afternoon. Since I did not have enough time for discussion in oral sessions, it was a great help to have a plenty of time to discuss with other people in the poster sessions.

All the participants stayed in the same hotel for six days where the conference was held. It enabled us to create social connections between people who did not have chances to discuss one another in the poster and oral sessions. Such social connections will be important for my future studies as a researcher.

There are various organelles for bacterial motility, such swarming, twitching, and gliding. I use Salmonella flagella, which is often used for studying the bacterial flagellar motor. But this conference gave me a very good opportunity to get to know various studies on different bacterial motility.

Salmonella and E. coli are very similar to each other, although some of their characteristics are different, such as, the switching frequency of the direction of motor rotation. Many of the participants use E.coli for their studies. So, some people got confused of the wild-type with mutants when they looked at the data on my poster showing the results on Salmonella flagellar motor, which are often quite different from those of E. coli. I leaned that I should be careful with such specific differences when I talk about my study to people who are not familiar with the bacterial flagellar motor.