On 20th June 2014, Japan Science and Technology Agency (JST) and the Department of Science and Technology (DST)*1 announced that they would commence support for 3 jointly selected projects on “Biomedical Research” within the framework of the Japan-India Research Cooperative Program*2 and as part of the FY2014 Strategic International Research Cooperative Program (SICP)*3. The selected projects are as follows:
1. “Identification of biomarkers for infection-induced reactive arthritis based on the inflammation amplifier” to be conducted by Masaaki Murakami, Professor at the Institute for Genetic Medicine, Hokkaido University in Japan, and Ramnath Misra, Dean, Professor and Head at the Department of Clinical Immunology, Sanjay Gandhi Post Graduate Institute of Medical Sciences in India.
This cooperative research project aims to show the pathogenesis of bacteria-induced reactive arthritis (ReA) and to develop specific diagnostic and therapeutic targets accordingly.
2. “Improvement of the accuracy for differential diagnosis against viral infection -DENV, CHIKV, and FluV- by spreading of high quality RDT in India” to be conducted by Takeshi Kurosu, Assistant Professor at the Research Institute for Microbial Diseases, Osaka University in Japan, Rajni Gaind, Consultant at the Department of Microbiology, Vardhman Mahavir Medical College (VMMC) in India, and Sujatha Sunil, Research Scientist at the Insect Resistance Group, International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology in India.
This collaborative research aims to develop easy-to-use rapid diagnosis test kits for dengue, chikungunya and influenza viruses, for epidemiological study and the foundation of epidemics prevention by spreading diagnosis kits to bedside clinicians.
3. “Role of TLRs in patients with severe complicated malaria due to Plasmodium vivax and the development of diagnostic method for predicting the severity” to be conducted by Fumie Kobayashi, Professor at the Department of Infectious Diseases, School of Medicine, Kyorin University in Japan, and Sehgal Rakesh, Professor at the Department of Medical Parasitology, Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education & Research (PGIMER) in India.
This collaborative research project aims to elucidate the roles of host factors such as TLRs in severe vivax malaria leading to the development of early diagnosis and prediction of severity.
There were 13 proposals submitted in response to the joint call for proposals conducted by JST and DST, which closed in October, 2013. JST and DST had the proposals evaluated by experts, and based on that evaluation with regard to quality of the research plan and expected effectiveness of exchange plans, agreed on the three successful projects.
JST and DST will start supporting the research exchange projects after July 2014. The support will continue for three years.
*1Department of Science and Technology, Ministry of Science and Technology (DST):
DST is the ministry responsible for science and technology and was established in 1971 in order to further science and technology activities in India. DST also functions as an organization which distributes funding for support of research projects, etc.
URL of DST's homepage: http://dst.gov.in/
*2Japanese-Indian Research Cooperative Program:
Japan and India agreed on the “Eight-fold Initiative for Strengthening Japan-India Global Partnership”, the action program for strengthening the bilateral relationship between Japan and India, when former Prime Minister Koizumi visited India in April 2005. In the field of Science and Technology, both governments agreed to establish “The initiative of science and technology” between Japan and India and to seek possibilities for cooperation in the fields of biotechnology and ICT. After several intergovernmental meetings between Japan and India, JST and DST concluded the Memorandum of Understandings (MoU) in December 2006. Based on this MoU, JST and DST jointly conducted calls for proposals in the field of ICT in 2007, 2008 and 2009. In 2013, Japan and India agreed to start cooperation in the field of “Biomedical Research”. On the basis of this agreement, JST and DST conducted a call for proposals in the field of “Biomedical Research”.
Strategic International Research Cooperative Program (SICP):
SICP is a “top-down type” program that provides support to international research projects with countries and regions, in fields of cooperation designated by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) on the basis of intergovernmental agreements.
URL of SICP's homepage: http://www.jst.go.jp/inter/english/sicp/index.html
Japan Science and Technology Agency, Department of International Affairs
K’s Gobancho, 7, Gobancho, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 102-0076
Shoko Hirakawa (Ms.) and Go Totsukawa (Dr.)