WASEDA ONLINE

RSS

The Japan News by The Yomiuri Shimbun

Home > Campus Now > SPECIAL REPORT (July)

Campus Now

July

SPECIAL REPORT

Discussions with a partner corporation for joint research (Olympus Corporation)

Expectations towards a partnership in medicine, science, and engineering, as well as towards the Institution for Advanced Biomedical Sciences

Masaaki Terada
Olympus Corporation Director & Senior Executive Managing Officer
Director of Research & Development Center, Director of Research & Development Headquarters

How do corporations view the partnership in medicine, science, and engineering? What about corporate impression towards the Institution for Advanced Biomedical Sciences? These topics are discussed by Masaaki Terada, Director & Senior Executive Managing Officer of Olympus Corporation, a joint research partner with deep ties to Waseda.

Towards the birth of biomedical engineers
A major advancement brought about by universities

Witnessing the excellence of a partnership with science and engineering

---From a corporate position, how do you view the importance of a partnership between medicine, science, and engineering?

I think it is extremely important. At the time when I began getting involved with research for endoscopes, I felt the importance of medical knowledge as a means to understand the language used by doctors. To gain this knowledge, I studied in the Future Medicine Research Council of Tokyo Women's Medical University. At the time, that council was known as the "ME Curriculum", a name derived by taking the first letters from the words "Medical" and "Engineer". Even 30 years ago, the council was already espousing the importance of a partnership in medicine, science, and engineering.

However, there is still no role in Japan for a "biomedical engineer" who combines knowledge in medicine, science, and engineering. In the past, Olympus purchased a technology known as "cauterization" from a foreign biomedical engineer, and had great success using the technology. This technology is extremely high level, and involves treatment of the affected area by burning the tissue of the organism so that the tissue is necrotized. The treatment will not be successful if the damage inflicted on the tissue is too deep or too shallow. However, the biomedical engineer solved organizational problems by using knowledge in science and engineering, solved clinical problems by using knowledge in medicine, and established technology that can be used in actual treatment. At that moment, I deeply felt the merits of a partnership in medicine, science, and engineering, and I also felt the need to develop biomedical engineers in Japan.

Therefore, I think that the establishment of the Tokyo Women's Medical University / Waseda University Joint Institution for Advanced Biomedical Sciences is a major advancement.

Expectations towards students who have obtained comprehensive knowledge

---What kind of merits do you think will be created from this establishment of a single research institution by Tokyo Women's Medical University and Waseda University?

I'm sure that a tight partnership will be formed. For example, the Women's Medical University can have Waseda develop experimental devices, and Waseda can quickly receive opinions regarding the devices from clinical physicians.

In particular, the greatest merit for members of Waseda will be experiencing the process from the development of medical devices to the actual use of devices onsite. Corporations can look towards medical sites and receive opinions directly from doctors and other staff. When doctors and other staff give positive feedback regarding medical devices, there is a feeling of satisfaction in research. I'm sure this will be a big motivation for members of Waseda.

---Could you speak about your expectations toward universities?

I would like students to receive an education which is not limited to specialized fields, but also offers a wide range of comprehensive knowledge. While it is important to deeply research only one field, the possibilities of research are limited by lack of knowledge regarding other fields. For example, consider someone whose field of expertise is electricity but has also done a fair amount of studying in the field of chemistry. This kind of person is going to be very valuable in future times. I expect Waseda University to develop personnel that are appealing to corporations.

Masaaki Terada
Olympus Corporation Director & Senior Executive Managing Officer
Director of Research & Development Center, Director of Research & Development Headquarters

In 1968, graduated from the Waseda University School of Science & Engineering, Mechanical Engineering Department and entered Olympus Corporation (known as Olympus Optical Industries at the time). Since entering Olympus, responsible for the development of endoscopes. In October of 1993, assumed overall responsibility for the endoscope business. Assumed current position in April of 2003.