2022 Activity Report vol.8:Kyushu Institute of Technology

Activity Report of Open Application Program 2022 vol.8 (Course A)

Research exchange project in the field of plant biotechnology to improve environmental stress tolerance

Graduate School of Life Science and Systems Engineering, Kyushu Institute of Technology
Report from Shinya Ikeno

 For one week, from September 25, 2022 to October 2, we invited two undergraduate students, two graduate students, and one supervising faculty member from Ain Shams University in Egypt to conduct a research exchange project in the field of plant biotechnology. As part of this project, the participants observed and tried out technologies that improve plants' stress tolerance and research and development of plants that are resistant to damage from salt and dry air. They also worked on activities aimed at creating a pathway for international joint research and development between Japan and Egypt that will lead to the stabilization of agricultural production.

 An online meeting was held before they arrived in Japan. While they were nervous at first, having everyone talk about their impressions of each other's countries and what they know gradually loosened tension, and the activities proceeded smoothly when they arrived in Japan.

Activity Report Photo 1
Online meeting and prior meeting

 The participants from Egypt arrived in Japan on September 25, and activities began the following day. On the morning of the first day, the Dr. Metwally gave a lecture on Egypt and the history of Ain Shams University, and its research. In the afternoon, a laboratory tour of the Graduate School of Life Science and Systems Engineering was held. This graduate school has laboratories related not only biology, but also various fields (mechanical, electrical, material, and information−related) that utilize knowledge and creative phenomena of living things. We visited laboratories that are related to this program and others that are engaged in unique research.

 On the second day, a seminar was held in which the students described their research and held discussions. We were not familiar with the issue of damage from salt and dry air, but it was problem related to plants' growth that was common all over the world. The students exchanged opinions through the research seminar, which helped them on the fifth day when they did collaborative learning and had a mutually productive time.

Activity Report Photo 2
Research discussions (Day 2 of activities)

 On the third day, we visited the Iizuka campus and participated in presentations at an international symposium hosted by the Research Center for Synthetic Biotechnology. The Center develops highly versatile synthetic biological technologies that can be used for plants and many other species. After the symposium, we took a tour of the Center's laboratories, where we tried out cutting−edge technologies from the fields of synthetic biology and plant biotechnology and deepened our knowledge.

Activity Report Photo 3
Lecture at the international symposium

 On the fourth day, we visited Kitakyushu Eco−Town and the Next−Generation Energy Park as part of a recycling−oriented society facility tour. We learned about environmental technologies promoted by Kitakyushu City. In the afternoon, we visited a museum of TOTO, a company representing Kitakyushu City, where we learned about the history of sanitary ware technologies, including some of the latest. After that, we visited Kokura Castle and Kokura Castle Gardens, where we immersed ourselves in Japanese history and culture and the aroma of nature and culture, and enjoyed relaxing break.

Activity Report Photo 4
At Kitakyushu Eco Town

 On the fifth day, the students conducted collaborative learning with each other. During the discussions, we brainstormed how we could collaborate with each other's research. It was a very fulfilling collaborative learning, and we proposed many ideas, new goals, and predictions.

Activity Report Photo 5
Collaborative learning: Brainstorming for collaborative research

 On the sixth day, we went on a tour of the Kitakyushu Museum of Natural History & Human History for an off−campus study of industrial technology, history, and natural science, and learned interactively how natural science and industry have developed in Japan. We also visited the nearby Space LABO, which had been relocated and newly built this spring, to experience how fascinating science is and learn about its history. The next day, the students from Egypt left from Fukuoka Airport.

 Despite their busy schedule from the time they arrived in Japan until they went home, the Egyptian students who participated were enthusiastic about the activities and talked with many people, and we had great expectations for how our joint research will develop moving forward. In addition, I think the Japanese graduate students gained global awareness and encountered differences in ways of thinking about research through these activities.

 Lastly, I would like to express my sincere gratitude to the Sakura Science Exchange Program for giving me this opportunity and to our university's faculty, students, and administrative staff for their cooperation.