2021 Activity Report vol.5:University of Tsukuba

Activity Report of Open Application Program 2021 vol.5 (Online)

University of Tsukuba Summer Medical Research Program 2021

Report from the Faculty of Medicine, University of Tsukuba

The 11th Summer Medical Research Program was conducted for 9 days from September 21 to September 30, 2021 thanks to support from the Sakura Science Exchange Program. This is a popular international educational program that has been held for the past 10 years, mainly for medical faculties. In order to develop human resources who will contribute to future scientific research, we developed and offered a unique online education program composed of the following four sections for students selected from around the world.

1. Research Workshops

As an on-demand video lecture in which 11 laboratories from the Faculty of Medicine participated, the participants were introduced to (1) the background to instructors’ careers and their aspiration for become research scientists; (2) the trends and problems in each research field; and (3) their own research objectives and goals. After listening to the lecture, the participants responded to questions from the faculty and participated in a live discussion with the members of the laboratories at a later date regarding the details of the research. Many students participated in the on-demand lectures. There was an active discussion with the faculty of each laboratory and the graduate students of the university and the participating students.

2. Special Seminar

Live broadcasts were offered, and as beneficial knowledge for the young researchers, lectures and discussions were held on three topics, namely (1) genome editing techniques; (2) preparing research plans in English; and (3) mRNA: new vaccines and their applications. By providing genome editing technology that is easily introduced into research in various countries using versatile technologies, mRNA vaccines used under the global COVID-19 pandemic, and other highly relevant topics, we were able to stimulate the students' interest. We believe that we have inspired them to have greater interest in learning more about leading-edge research at Tsukuba University, which applies these.

3. Student Interaction Event

The participants were given a virtual experience of the learning and living environments at Tsukuba University by watching a video produced by University of Tsukuba students that introduced the campus, Tsukuba City, and students' day. In addition, the video introduced Japanese culture, language, student life, and scholarship information, and it offered an opportunity for participating students and current students to interact with each other.

4. Student Presentations

On the last day, the participants were invited to the Tsukuba Conference 2021, where they participated in oral research presentations given by students at the University of Tsukuba and students of partner schools. In the research workshop, we anticipated that by listening to presentations from other laboratories, the participants would have increased interest in research themes and graduate research.

We received more than 300 applications from students from all over the world through the university homepage and social media. They mainly came from the University of Tsukuba's partner schools. In the end, we received 187 students from 13 countries. [Breakdown: Vietnam (91); Indonesia (54); Brazil (11); Taiwan (9); France (6); Lithuania (3); Philippines (3); Bangladesh (1); India (1); Kazakhstan (1); Pakistan (1); Korea (1); and Japan (5)]. In the post-program survey, the participants expressed high interest in doing research, along with being satisfied. In addition, at the student interaction event, the participants showed high interest in scholarships, research laboratories, and life in Japan. They actively discussed these topics with the undergraduate students. In this Sakura Science Exchange Program, we believe that we stimulated young peoples’ passion for medical research and successfully helped to develop human resources who can contribute to the creation of scientific innovation and social returns as future researchers. We also contributed to inviting outstanding students to Japan.

Research Workshops: Eleven Laboratories from the Faculty of Medicine Participated in the Video Lecture. A Live Discussion Was Held Regarding the Details of the Research with the Members of the Laboratories.
Special Seminar: As Beneficial Knowledge for Young Scientists, (i) Genome Editing Techniques Using CRISPR and Cas (ii) How to Write a Research Plan (iii) mRNA: Lectures on New Vaccines and Their Applications Were Broadcast Live.
Student Interaction Event: Our Students Produced a Video Enabling the Participants to Experience the University of Tsukuba, Tsukuba City, and Life in Japan. Our Students Also Talked with the Participants about Japanese Culture and Life at the University of Tsukuba.