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JST Event Report

December 15th - 17th, 2009, Osaka(Japan)

At Senri Life Science Center

International Symposium on "Watching Biomolecules in Action"

On CREST Research Theme "Development of High-Speed Imaging Apparatus for Studying Nanometer Scale Dynamic Behavior of Protein" (research supervisor: Toshio Ando, Professor of Kanazawa University:CREST Research Area: "Novel Measuring and Analytical Technology Contributions to the Elucidation and Application of Life Phenomena." An international symposium on "Watching Biomolecules in Action" was held at Senri Life Science Center in Osaka from December 15 through 17, 2009. (Registered participants: 171 persons, including 48 persons from overseas)

Following the initial briefing on JST and CREST by Director Osamu Ichimaru of JST, lectures by invited speakers (24 from overseas and 13 from Japan) and normal oral presentations (11 from Japan and 8 from overseas) were held. Poster presentations (15 from overseas and 32 from Japan) were held on the first day.

International Symposium on "Watching Biomolecules in Action" International Symposium on "Watching Biomolecules in Action"

Single molecule biology was established more than 20 years ago for the purpose of clarifying the functional mechanism of biomolecules through single molecule dynamics measuring, based on technologies such as optical microscopes and nano manipulation/measuring with optical tweezers. Progress in this field is remarkable, and as the single molecule biology method is applied to the research of various molecule/cell dynamics, new methods such as optical microscopes which break the diffraction limit, functional optic probes, or bio-MEMS are also being developed. Also, a microscope called high–speed AFM, which exceeds the conventional time/spatial resolution capabilities achieved progress through the research of this CREST team, and is now reaching a stage of practical use. Under this circumstance, this symposium was held for the purpose of reviewing the progress up to the present time, and to search for future directions that single molecule biology should take by looking at the prospects of the dynamics research currently under development as well as the latest technology trend. Also, an important purpose was to seek for possibilities of joint research by disseminating information on the development of application of high-speed AFM, which is an achievement of this CREST team's research.

While the conventional single molecule biology method is being applied to new interesting subjects and also being actively expanded now, it also appears that there are some limitations. Among various optical microscopes that exceed the diffraction limit, STED is superior in its time resolution capability, and a rapid expansion of its utilization is expected. As for various functional optic probes, it was shown that they are effective in capturing various aspects of cell activities, and that they also make a great contribution to the evolution of optical microscopes. It was also shown that the development of Bio-MEMS technology is remarkable, and that it is effective for comprehensive analysis. We got a strong impression that its use will become widespread in life science in the future, but on the other hand, we also felt that it is important to have an active cooperation between biology researchers and engineers in order to promote its spread. Regarding the presentations on the development of applications for high-speed AFM, there was a presentation by this CREST team and many presentations by members of the high-speed bio-AFM international consortium, and the participants appeared to be surprised that high-speed AFM is already starting to be used widely. Although the microscope which integrated ultrasound and AFM showed a high potential in life science research, it is still in an early stage, and it was clear that there are many remaining issues.

As we were able to hear the latest achievements directly from the researchers, we believe that each of the participants, including the members of this CREST team were able to think about the directions to take in the days ahead. Also, the participants were able to start building new networks for research through communication with many overseas researchers, and this was another significant achievement of this international symposium.

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