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8-9 December, 2011,
Okazaki Conference Center

Report on the international workshop “Cutting Edge in Synapse Research”

The research theme “Functional organization of local neurocircuits in somatosensory cortex” under the Presto Research Area “Decoding and Controlling Brain Information,” proposed (individual researcher: Kazuo Kitamura, Assistant Professor, Graduate School of Medicine, The University of Tokyo) an international workshop, “Cutting Edge in Synapse Research” conference together with the National Institute for Physiological Sciences, which was held for two days on 8th and 9th December 2011 at the Okazaki Conference Center.

At this conference, nine seminar topics and nineteen poster presentations spanning the multi levels of molecule, cell, and system in the field of synapse research were held. In particular, five out of the nine presenters were invited from overseas (the U.S., China, the U.K., and Portugal), making it a truly international research conference.

One of the three sessions planned for the conference, “Synapse and Systems Neuroscience” was the JST session, and Professor Alex Reyes (NYU), Dr. Marta Moita (Champalimaud Foundation), and Dr. Hirokazu Takahashi (The University of Tokyo) were invited to speak while Professor Kazuo Kitamura presented his research findings. Apart from the JST session, Dr. Aya Ishida (The University of Tokyo), Dr. Chen Zhang (Peking University), Dr. Andres Barria (Washington University), Dr. Takeshi Imai (Riken), Dr. Tiago Branco (UCL), and Dr. Hiroshi Kuba (Nagoya University) spoke in the other sessions.

The presenters comprised of up-and-coming young researchers in their respective research fields and they spoke on the latest achievements including unpublished data. Despite the fact that half of the fifty-minute presentation was given to a Q & A session, almost all presentations went over time with lively and in-depth discussions, clearly showing that synapse research is a hot research field. After the conference, the presenters and participants, in particular young ones such as graduate students and post-doctoral students had more exchanges, making this conference a very meaningful one.

The research conference ended in success and received very good evaluations from the presenters and participants. It is hoped that new networks will be formed among researchers who carry out synapse research from different viewpoints and methods and world-leading research will be born in the future.

JST, an integrated organization of science and technology in Japan, establishes an infrastructure for the entire process from the creation of knowledge to the return to the society. For more information, visit http://www.jst.go.jp/EN/