University of Tokyo Students Complete Successful Summer Research Program at MD Anderson

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For the second year, MD Anderson has hosted graduate students from the University of Tokyo for two months of research. A lively, video-linked symposium marking the end of this year's visit was held Aug. 20. Participants included the students and MD Anderson faculty who hosted them, as well as faculty from the Schools of Engineering, Medicine and Pharmaceutical Sciences at Todai, short for Tokyo Daigaku as the University of Tokyo is also known. 

GAP_UTokyo2010.JPGThe program is run by the Center for Medical Systems Innovation (CMSI) at Todai. CMSI embodies a novel, cross-disciplinary approach to training and research on the boundary of medicine and engineering, with elements of social sciences and business rolled in.

I attended the CMSI Annual Meeting earlier this year and was impressed to see not only a wide range of innovative science and engineering projects, but also business plan presentations by the CMSI students. Equally creative, but thinking in a different way, the students identified needs and were proposing commercially viable solutions to them.

This year the students who visited us, and the research projects they worked on, were:

  • Yusuke Egashira, Mentor: Dr. Ritsuko Komaki, Radiation Oncology Treatment
    Experimental Evaluation of Dose Calculation Algorithms for Proton Therapy

  • Hitomi Hosoya, Mentor: Drs. Renata Pasqualini and Wadih Arap, Genitourinary Med Oncology-Research 
    Multi-platform, Ligand-Directed Delivery of Doxorubicin for Cancer Therapy
  • Mariko Ikuo, Mentor: Dr. George Calin, Experimental Therapeutics
    Plasma microRNA of Chronic lymphocytic leukemia patients

  • Hiroki Akiba, Mentor: Dr. Juri Gelovani, Experimental Diagnostic Imaging
    Construction of Reporter System for Monitoring HIF-1 Dimerization

  • Minghui Bai, Mentor: Dr. Oliver Bogler, Neurosurgery and Neuro-Oncology
    Importin beta1 and CRM1 are involved in nuclear cytoplasmic shuttling of EGFRvIII
  • Shinya Hirota, Mentor: Dr. Joseph McCarty, Cancer Biology
    alphaVbeta8 integrin-mediated TGFbeta activation and signaling is essential for angiogenesis in the neonatal retina

For the first time this year, two MD Anderson students, from the Pasqualini/Arap lab, traveled to Tokyo for the summer: 

  • Julianna Edwards, Mentor: Dr. Tatsuro Irimura, University of Tokyo
    Characterizing the mechanism of action of a mitogenic, lectin-like, synthetic polymer

  • Lawrence Bronk, Mentor: Dr. Kazunori Kataoka, University of Tokyo 
    ICG Encapsulating Micelle for Photodynamic Therapy and Photodynamic Diagnosis

MD Anderson graduate students interested in participating next summer, by applying to visit Tokyo, are encouraged to contact Gloria Da Roza in Global Academic Programs. 

The students who join this competitive CMSI program represent some of the best of the upcoming generation of scientists and innovators, and it is an honor for MD Anderson to be part of the CMSI exchange program. We hope that many of the CMSI-graduates will join us in our mission to fight cancer.


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