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Campus Now

Spring Verdure Issue (May)


Social contribution through science and technology

Producing steady results from the research of Waseda

Creating future medicine and cultivating new international medical professionals
ASMeW and Kobe University form a partnerships in the fields of advanced science and medical care

Shigetaka Asano (ASMeW Director; left) and Yoshimi Takai (Dean of the Kobe University Graduate School of Medicine/School of Medicine; right) shake hands after signing the memorandum.

On February 28th, the Consolidated Research Institute for Advanced Science and Medical Care, Waseda University (ASMeW) and the Kobe University Graduate School of Medicine/School of Medicine conducted an agreement for mutual cooperation and partnership. The agreement aims to construct a new research/education model through the fusion of medicine, science and engineering.

At the signing ceremony, a memorandum was exchanged by Shigetaka Asano (ASMeW Director) and Yoshimi Takai (Dean of the Kobe University Graduate School of Medicine/School of Medicine). The two confirmed their resolve to accelerate advanced medical research by invigorating exchange between researchers and students, promoting clinical research, creating early diagnosis and future medicine, cultivating new international medical professionals and supporting medicine in developing countries.

In July 2010, through cooperation from Kobe University, Waseda University established the Asano Laboratory at the Kobe BT Center on Kobe Port Island. The laboratory was established in order to achieve increased speed in medical development and industrialization, to contribute to international medicine and to realize a city based on the international medicine industry. In the future, we will promote exchange of researchers and students, as well as mutual use of facilities such experimental facilities.

New technology for cell culturing
Significant increase in survival rate

The three-dimensional cell culturing equipment developed in this research. Culturing is performed while introducing culturing solution through a tube.

The research group led by Associate Professor Naoya Takeda (Faculty of Science and Engineering) developed a culturing technology which significantly increases the survival rate of cells during three-dimensional culturing in which cells are surrounded by gel fibers on the front, back, right, left, top and bottom. The group developed culturing equipment which is capable of embedding cells inside a gel made from collagen and then raising the cells by flowing culture solution into the gel. The survival rate for cells when culture solution is not introduced is only 12%. However, the new technology has raised the rate to 71%, an increase of almost 6 times. An additional discovery was made for when using cells which elongate the distinctive long, thin protuberance on nerve cells. It was found that the elongation of protuberances all occur in the same direction when performing cultivation using cultivation solution. Moreover, this research seeks to further develop a culturing system which enables long-term three-dimensional cell culturing. The research also aims to culture a group of multiple nerve cells with nerve protuberances that are aligned in the same direction. Such cells will then formed into never bundles like those seen in living organisms. This research will lead to advances in the manufacturing of tissues that can be used during transplants.

Research support for young researchers, female researches and local researchers
Selected for the Funding Program for Next Generation World-Leading Researchers (NEXT Program)

The themes of three Waseda University researchers were selected for the Funding Program for Next Generation World-Leading Researchers (NEXT Program) which is sponsored by the Cabinet Office (see chart below). The NEXT Program supports young researchers, female researches and local researchers who are expected to play a future leading role in the world's science and technology. The program also promotes green innovation and life innovation, which compose the Japanese government's New Growth Strategy.

  Green Innovation Life Innovation
Researcher Yuka Tabe
Professor, Faculty of Science and Engineering
Taishi Takenobu
Associate Professor, Faculty of Science and Engineering
Hiroyasu Iwata
Associate Professor, Waseda Institute for Advanced Study
Research Theme Dynamic intersecting correlation of chiral liquid crystal: Clarification of mechanism and creation of energy conversion device Ultra-high capability ink jet printed electronics Mind/body awareness robot technology which promotes reconstruction of brain nerve system through minimally invasive support for sensory-motor coordination
Gathering internet photographs which are appropriate for song lyrics
Development of a system which automatically generates a musical slideshow

Through cooperation with KDDI R&D Laboratories (Head Office: Fujimino City, Saitama Prefecture; President & CEO: Shigeyuki Akiba), Professor Jiro Katto (Faculty of Science and Engineering) succeeded in developing a system which automatically generates a musical slideshow. The system works by gathering internet photographs which are appropriate for the mood of the song and then enabling effective synchronized display of the image in time with the song. This system enable user to easily create a musical slideshow simply by inputting a song with lyrics into the system.

The newly developed system is able to automatically generate a high-quality slideshow by using a variety of unique technology (see chart). For example, the system infers impression information such as seasons and time of day from all of the lyrics, and extracts search keywords used to gather high-quality photographs from Flickr and other photograph-sharing websites which use search tags. These photographs are then synchronized with the progression of the song. Other technology automatically selects photographs which match the mood of the song from the gathered tagged photographs and controls the display timing of photographs in order to achieve synchronization with the song.

Development of electrical disintegration
New method of ore fragmentation contributes to the formation of a society which recycles resources

Concept of electrical disintegration

Professor Shuji Owada (Faculty of Science and Engineering) has developed a new method for using electrical pulses to fragment ore which includes a variety of minerals. The conventional method for crushing materials, particularly when producing metals from ore, is to press and crush the materials using equipment such as a roller. This kind of crushing operation is inefficient and results in thermal energy being released outside of the solid. Conversely, electrical disintegration is fundamentally performed by subjecting the solid to direct voltage within water. This process separates the solids by causing a minute explosion at the boundary of the generating minerals, thus creating destructive energy directly within the solid. Through electrical disintegration, it is possible to recover useful resources without shattering them to pieces. In regards to compounds of various materials, Owada Laboratory has clarified how boundary priority destruction is affected by the permittivity, conductivity and physical structure defects of components. Recently, there are frequent cases of research being performed to apply electrical disintegration to recycling processes for waste products. The technology may become an essential process in the formation of a society which recycles resources.

Contributing to reform measures for lifestyle habits
Clarifying the importance of physical activity for preventing arteriosclerosis

Graph showing the relationship between amount of physical activity and oxidized low density lipoprotein value

A research group (Professor Yoshio Nakamura, Assistant Researcher Masashi Miyashita) in the Faculty of Sports Sciences has clarified that oxidized low density lipoprotein values are low among elderly individuals who get large amounts of physical activity in their daily lives. Oxidized low density lipoprotein value is a blood endpoint for the prediction of arteriosclerosis.

It is widely known that habitual physical activity will reform blood indexes such as lipids and saccharides and is effective for the prevention of arteriosclerosis. However, until now, no research has focused on indexes deeply associated to the formation of arteriosclerosis focus and focused on the elderly when clarifying the importance of daily physical activity.

The research group surveyed 27 elderly individuals and measured their daily physical activity by using an acceleration meter, a device with functions to record energy consumption and the degree of physical activity. The group then analyzed the relationship between physical activity and oxidized low density lipoprotein value.

In addition to academic results, it is also expected that the research will lead to measures for reforming lifestyle habits in order to prevent arteriosclerosis.

Participation from the Islamic Area Studies Center
Seminar to explore the future of political change in the Middle East

Panel discussion

On March 2nd, the NIHU Program: Islamic Area Studies Open Seminar was held on Tokyo University's Hongo Campus in order to discuss the succession of anti-government movements in the Arab region. The seminar was held by the Islamic Area Studies Center of the National Institutes for the Humanities (NIHU), an association formed by Waseda University, the University of Tokyo, Sophia University, Kyoto University and the Toyo Bunko (Oriental Library). Waseda instructors Professor Takeshi Yukawa and Associate Professor Megumi Suzuki, both from the Organization for Islamic Area Studies, participated in the seminar and reported on the most recent conditions in Arab lands.

At the seminar, our university's organization held a panel discussion entitled "Dramatic Regional Changes & Regional Research" where numerous opinions were exchanged. For example, some participants discussed the inability to predict recent movements and questioned the assumption that major political movements are conducted by organizations of equivalent large scale. Others discussed why the Muslim population continues to increase and raised the importance of knowing family values.

Matching advanced university technology with industry
Advanced technology event in the fields of the environment and life science

Participant drives the Mini-HOKUSAI

On January 14th, "Technology Link in WTLO*" was held on the Nishi-Waseda Campus.

The event began with a keynote lecture given by Professor Hiroyuki Nishide (Faculty of Science and Engineering, Waseda University) and Takuya Komoda (Research Director, Panasonic Corporation). A wide range of lectures were then given on topics such as methods for promoting future industry-academia alliances and the differences between R&D methods and systems used at universities and corporations. Furthermore, Waseda instructors gave presentations on advanced research themes.

The venue lobby featured a poster exhibition of research seeds leading to patents by our university. Also featured were posters introducing research themes being conducted at laboratories in the Faculty of Science and Engineering. Another exhibition displayed HOKUSAI, a two-seater electric vehicle jointly developed by Sumida Ward and Waseda University. Furthermore, the event featured a test drive for Mini-Hokusai, an electric wheelchair which was also jointly developed. Participants expressed surprise at the smooth acceleration and turns of the wheelchair, and we received many question regarding specifications. The lectures were attended by a total of 60 people and were a great success.

*WTLO: Abbreviation for the Waseda Technology Licensing Organization. A corporation which patents the research results of Waseda University researchers and transfers technology to corporations.