Message from Faculty
The picobiology program is a five-year doctoral program recently established in 2013 to realize the plan of "Next-generation Picobiology Pioneered by Photon Sciences" an application from our department, which was adopted by the Graduate School Reform Project of the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (2011 fiscal year).
Picobiology is an academic discipline that attempts to understand any biological phenomena as chemical reactions driven by proteins through elucidating the structure and functions of proteins on a picometer level. This new concept was bred amidst the development of two Center of Excellence (COE) projects, 21st-century COE and Global COE, undertaken by our department since 2002. The Graduate School is located not far from the SPring-8 and SACLA of RIKEN, and it also has its own custom-developed vibrational spectroscopy equipment and other resources, thus forming a prime environment for protein research. We aim to achieve a structural and functional analysis of picometer levels by taking advantage of the environment in next-generation picobiology, and hence to apply the result for understanding macroscopic biological phenomena. Students will refine their expertise in life sciences through participating in research for the establishment of next-generation picobiology.
In this leading program based on advanced research capabilities in the life sciences, we aim to develop leaders, rather than mere researchers, who are active in a wide range of fields in society such as corporations, government agencies, and news and publishing.
The role expected of leaders not only varies by each organization and department, rather, the responsibilities expected of leaders also change according to situation. The point is to lead an organization in a desirable direction by taking appropriate actions that fit each situation accurately. Through the profound investigation of next-generation picobiology, students will surely acquire the ability to take a bird's-eye view, study issues extensively, identify appropriate methods for solving problems, and discuss one's achievements and thoughts in an international setting, all being the essential abilities for leaders.
There is a saying that "to excel in one talent is to know many talents." By mastering something thoroughly, one is naturally able to hone one's skills in many areas, which is an idea with deep implications. We can also daringly proclaim "excelling in one talent never justifies being buried in it." However, when limited to a single talent, one can very often lose sight of one's surroundings and this is what disqualifies one as a leader. Thus, consciously broadening our view beyond areas of our own expertise will not only allow us to see new possibilities but also eventually lead us to expand our "one talent."
In the picobiology major, we first present extensive specialized courses selected to aid students to expand their one talent. In the "Technical Course of Structural Analysis ," students learn the use and function of large-scale equipment on-the-spot, from the principles to application, which is something unique in the world. In order to get a chance to broaden students' perception of the field, we have also designed science-linked liberal arts classes with leading lecturers. The study abroad program and internship as practical courses are compulsory, and by taking full advantage of these courses, students gain the additional characteristics of judgment and sophistication needed to assume leadership roles.
Harima Science Garden City, where our department is located, has the world's most impressive structural analysis equipment. Such places cannot be found anywhere else in the world, and thus it can be a stronghold of protein research. Far from the hustle and bustle of the city and on top of a lush mountain with energetic colleagues and instructors full of passion from all over the world, let us build the next-generation of picobiology and turn into leaders.