Message from the Director-General


 Human physiology, which investigates the mechanisms of human body function, provides us with scientific guidelines for healthy living and scientific knowledge that forms the basis for elucidating the mechanisms of disease pathogenesis. The NIPS is an inter-university research institute for research and education on human physiology. The human brain is the key organ which makes a human being ‘un roseau pensant’ (a thinking reed). Also, the brain regulates and controls other organs and tissues in the human body through interactions with them. Therefore, the main subject of current investigations at the NIPS is the brain and nervous system. The NIPS can be described succinctly as an institute where investigations on human body and brain functions are carried out through joint studies with domestic and foreign scientists, and where education and training for graduate students and young scientists are provided.
 The first mission of NIPS is to conduct cutting-edge research in the physiological sciences at many levels--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. The recent progress in the life sciences is truly remarkable. The NIPS has always played a leading role in advancing the physiological sciences and brain science both in Japan and abroad. We believe that accomplishing the first mission well is making up the base for performing the second and third missions.
 The second mission of NIPS, as one of the inter-university research institutes belonging to the National Institutes of Natural Sciences (NINS), is to conduct joint studies with researchers from domestic or foreign universities and research institutes. To do this, it provides specialized equipment, large-scale equipment, research facilities, databases, research techniques and congress facilities to the researchers. Typically, about 1000 domestic and/or foreign scientists per year are invited and present at the NIPS to perform joint studies, to utilize our equipment and facilities or to attend research meetings and international symposia and workshops. From April 2009, “Section of Visiting Collaborative Research Project” has been established in “Center for Multidisciplinary Brain Research (CMBR)”. This section is for domestic brain researches to stay in NIPS for 3 to 12 months as adjunct professors / associate professors / assistant professors and conduct joint sabbatical studies. The number of the joint studies we have conducted last fiscal year was 161. This number is approximately twice as large as the numbers before the corporatization in 2004.
 The third mission of NIPS is to educate graduate students in the Graduate University of Advanced Studies (Sokendai) and to train young scientists from other universities. The NIPS is responsible for directing the Ph.D. course of study in physiological sciences in the Sokendai. The NIPS also contributes to the training or education of graduate students and young scientists from many universities and research institutes by providing various training and teaching courses. The CMBR provides a nationwide platform for multidisciplinary education and training of young brain scientists. Since 2010, Sokendai started a new project “Brain Science Joint Program”. The NIPS plays a core role in this cross-disciplinary education project.
 In addition to these three missions, the NIPS intends to extend its effort to disseminate scientific information and to publicize its work. Communication not only with scientists but with the general public will be strengthened by enriching the NIPS website (, participating in partnerships for physiological education in elementary and high schools, and giving lectures open to the public. For these purposes, the “Center for Communication The NIPS reports the offsprings and efforts through annual publication of ‘the NIPS Catalogue’ and ‘the NIPS Annual Report’. Furthermore, the NIPS publishes new research achievements through the NIPS website. Also, we hope you visit our exhibition room to see the research activity of the NIPS (Please inquire at
“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. Your understanding, and continued support of our activities is cordially appreciated.

IMOTO, Keiji, M.D., Ph.D., Director General
1976 M.D., Kyoto University. 1980 Staff Doctor, Utano National Hospital, 1985 Assistant Professor of Medical Chemistry, Faculty of Medicine, Kyoto University. 1995 Professor of Department of Information Physiology, NIPS and of Department of Physiological Sciences, School of Life Science, Sokendai . 2011 Vice Director General, NIPS. 2013 Director General, NIPS, and Vice President, NINS. Specialty: Neuroscience, Neurophysiology