Activity Report

Activity Report of Open Application Course vol.8

Experience-type Internship for Young Researchers from Thailand to Learn Traditional Pharmaceutical Science Research

Report by Hayakawa Yoshihiro from the Institute of Natural Medicine, University of Toyama

The Institute of Natural Medicine, University of Toyama invited 10 students and two instructors from Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Ubon Ratchathani University in the Kingdom of Thailand from June 20, 2019 to June 26, 2019. We held an experience-type internship for research in traditional pharmaceutical science that is common to both countries. We had concluded an exchange agreement between Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Ubon Ratchathani University and our Institute of Natural Medicine and we are encouraging students and young researchers to interact. As a result, we were able to implement this short-term internship this time through the Sakura Science Exchange Program.

The objects of these activities are to develop the interest in research of young and talented Thai students through lectures at the Institute of Natural Medicine, experience in traditional pharmaceutical scientific research and cultural exchanges, and to train young researchers and anticipate their first steps a long-term internship in Japan, including this University, and toward becoming an exchange student, by offering real-life training on subjects that require leading research methods, and specialized knowledge and techniques.

The following three main activities were implemented at this year’s internship.

(1) Lectures on Crude Drug Resource Development and Medical Treatment that Use Traditional Medicines in Japan

In addition to lectures relating to the present status of crude drug resource development currently being undertaken by the Institute of Natural Medicine, we conducted on-the-job training at the Museum of Materia Medica that is associated with the research institute and the Experimental Station for Medicinal Plant Research that belongs to the Faculty of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences. Also, we held lectures relating to Chinese medicine diagnostics as a medical treatment in Japan that uses traditional medicines. At the Department of Pharmacy, University Hospital, the students took lectures relating to Japanese and Chinese medicine preparation and participated in the hands-on training.

Training at the Department of Pharmacy, University Hospital
(2) Research Internship

We conducted research internships for two days in each research room of the Institute of Natural Medicine. Each student was assigned to their desired laboratories to conduct research on a wide range of subjects ranging from research into natural products chemistry relating to isolation of medicinal components from natural products to research into pathological pharmacology at the cellular level.

Internship at a laboratory
(3) The Toyama Pharmaceutical Industry and History and Culture Experience Training

In addition to interactions relating to science, we also allowed the students have many other cultural experiences such as observing pharmaceutical productions based on traditional medicines that thrive in Toyama Prefecture and visiting the Gokayama Gassho-style Village that has been registered as a world cultural heritage site and to experience Japanese paper making, all of them are as a part of their historical and cultural experience training. The students were taken to the museum of Koukando Co., Ltd. to learn about Toyama Prefecture’s pharmaceutical industry and were given training in the history that led to today’s pharmaceutical industry in the prefecture. The students were also given training in traditional Japanese ways of life and Japan’s culture and history by experiencing Japanese paper making at the Gokayama Gassho-style Village.

Trying traditional Japanese paper making

At the completion ceremony, university students and faculty from the Institute of Natural Medicine participated to take a fresh look back at the results of the training and the students from Ubon Ratchathani University showed their traditional dance as part of an introduction to their culture.

Traditional Thai dance at the completion ceremony

These activities proved to be a great stimulus not only to the young researchers we invited from Thailand but also to the Japanese students at the Institute of Natural Medicine and the other exchange students who have come from various countries. Results were attained that make us look forward to future exchanges. It was thanks to the great support of Sakura Science Exchange Program that we were able to have such a successful and valuable opportunity. Lastly, we want to extend our deep gratitude to them for their support.