National Institute for Physiological Sciences (NIPS), 40 years old this year, is an inter-university research institute for research and education on human physiology, which investigates the functions and mechanisms of human body, carries out joint studies with scientists of domestic and foreign universities, and provides education and training for graduate students and young scientists. Research of human physiology can provide us with explanations of wonderful functions of our body, scientific guidelines for healthy living, and scientific knowledge that forms the basis for elucidating the mechanisms of disease pathogenesis. The main subject of the current NIPS research is the brain and nervous system, because the brain is remarkably developed in human, and is the key organ that distinguishes human being from other species. The brain regulates and controls other organs and tissues in the body through interactions with them. Research of brain will answer questions how we sense and perceive objects, how we remember things, how we think using language, and other questions; these questions have mystified our ancestors and us from ancient times. Research of brain is expected to provide us clues how to ease and circumvent problems in the coming unprecedented ageing society.
The NIPS advocates the following three major missions. The first mission of NIPS is to conduct cutting-edge research in the physiological sciences at many levels, ranging from the molecule to the system or whole organism, and to elucidate the mechanisms of living body function by integrating the research results from the different levels. Recently, life science is rapidly advancing, and its research field is becoming broader and more diversified. In such an evolving situation, the NIPS has always conducted a leading role in the physiological sciences and brain science both in Japan and abroad, owing to the warm and mighty support from the researchers’ community.
The second mission of NIPS is to promote the research in Japan, playing a role of research hub. The NIPS conduct joint studies with researchers from domestic or foreign universities and research institutes. The NIPS provides specialized equipments, such as newly developed electron microscopes and human brain imaging apparatus, to the researchers. The NIPS also provides various research resources including viral vectors for gene delivery and gene-modified rodents. The NIPS also holds workshops and international symposia to promote domestic and international research collaboration.
This year, the NIPS starts a new research support program "Advanced BioImaging Support Platform", in collaboration with the National Institute for Basic Biology (NIBB).
The third mission of NIPS is to educate and nurture young scientists. The NIPS is responsible for directing the Ph.D. course of study in physiological sciences in SOKENDAI (the Graduate University of Advanced Studies). About 40 graduate students are enrolled in the 5-year Ph.D. course. In addition, the NIPS contributes to the training or education of graduate students and young scientists from many universities and research institutes (including private sector institutes) by providing various training and teaching courses.
In addition to these three missions, the NIPS extends its effort to disseminate scientific information and to publicize its work. Please visit our website (http://www.nips.ac.jp/) for more information.
“To elucidate comprehensively human body functions by integrating the research results from the different levels” is the ultimate goal stated as the article #1 of the NIPS constitution-like dictum which was announced at the time of NIPS foundation. We all are trying our best step by step to go forward for achieving this goal. Also, we will make every effort to keep the Institute open and cooperative for researchers. Your understanding, and continued support of our activities is cordially appreciated.
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