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Our Objectives and Goals

Research center

Our main goal is to create an interdisciplinary research center, which will coordinate work in cell biology, microbiology/immunology, and glycobiology in order to converge on a greater knowledge of the organellar network.

The subjects under study will range widely:

  • modes of communication between organelles
  • interactions of pathogens with the organelle network
  • the roles of glycosylation in determining organelle function
  • the effects of abnormal glycosylation on disease

By combining these fundamental studies with clinical research, we will drive the creation and development of the new field of organelle network medicine. To this end, we will conduct research focused on achieving an integrated understanding of human disease, and on developing technological solutions to clinical problems.

On the road to these goals, we will ask clinically relevant questions, such as:

  • What is the mechanism leading from invasion by a pathogen to establishment of a full-fledged infection?
  • How might we interfere in the interactions between pathogens and the organelle network?
  • How does disruption of organelle network result in neurodegenerative diseases? To what extent does ER quality control play a role?
  • Can we exploit changes in protein and sugar chain modifications to develop novel diagnostic tools?

Diseases are not merely the consequences of single causes or single gene mutations. We recognize that diseases are multifactorial conditions, in which many genes and environmental factors intertwine and interact in a complex way. Based on this recognition, our Center will encourage biological and clinical research that is committed to understanding disease at the level of both the molecular and organelle networks.

Ultimately, our greater understanding of the organelle network, and of clinically important issues in organelle biology, will allow us to develop novel therapeutic strategies that accelerate the medicine of the 21st century.

Education center

Young scientists will someday become the biologists and clinical researchers of the future. Therefore, we are committed to establishing a world-class training environment in which junior scientists are fully supported and actively trained to take global leadership roles in 21st century science.

Our training program has many aspects, all focused on training the future leaders of the new field of organelle network medicine:

  1. Researcher development program - Through a series of courses taught by domestic and international academics and industrialists, young scientists will improve their management capabilities, technical writing, English proficiency and grant application skills.
  2. Interdisciplinary graduate curriculum - Investigators will have the opportunity to study across multiple university schools, including the Schools of Medicine, Pharmaceutical Sciences, Dental Sciences, Science and Frontier Biosciences, and the Research Institute for Microbial Disease.
  3. Support for interdisciplinary projects - We will support research that breaks through barriers between departments and fields, and encourage young researchers to be creative and flexible in their work.
  4. Meetings for international young investigators - Our young researchers will themselves organize meetings, held in a "training camp" format, to facilitate bottom-up international exchanges.
  5. Construction of an international network - We will have a special staff devoted to the task of expanding cooperation with overseas centers
  6. Securing career paths - We will provide Ph.D.-level researchers with space and funding, in order to help move them along the road to independence. After completion of graduate training, we will cooperate with other research centers to help our alumni achieve tenured positions.
  7. Research assistants (RAs) - RA positions will be available in order to provide financial assistance to graduate students. Our students will also be actively encouraged and well supported to attend international meetings.
  8. Overseas practical training program - In order to advance clinical training, we will create practical courses using overseas centers.
  9. Graduate student exchange ­- Providing opportunities to study abroad.

We hope to create an environment where traditional barriers between departments and fields essentially don't exist - where young scholars can quickly and efficiently obtain advice from researchers in different fields.

Major changes like this don't happen by themselves - which is why our faculty will include a specially appointed associate professor whose primary responsibility is the cultivation of our collaborative networks with other institutions.