JSPS awards for eminent scientists

Report of the JSPS Award for Eminent Scientists in 2008

  1. Host Researcher

    Name: Sato HONMA
    Professor , Hokkaido University

  2. Invited eminent scientist (name, title and affiliation, nationality)

    Serge Daan,
    Dean of the Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences, Niko Tinbergen Professor in Behavioral Biology, Groningen University,
    The Netherlands

  3. Duration of the stay

    June 27,2008 ~July 13,2008 (17 days)

  4. Schedule during the stay (date, research activities, name of the places to visit, and description of the visits )

    Year/Month/Day Visiting place/Contents
    6.26.2008 (Thu) Lv. Amsterdam
    6.27.2008 (Fri) 9:30 At.Kansai Airport
    Visit Osaka University Graduate School of Science (Host, Prof. S.Ogihara)
    Attend RuG-OU Meeting (Groningen University-Osaka University)
    The meeting was hosted by Prof. Kiyoshi HIGASHIJIMA- (Particle Physics), Dean, Graduate School of Science and Prof. Satoshi OGIHARA – (Cell Biology), International Board, International Planning and Programs. The meeting discussed 1) the Student/scholar exchange programs between the two universities, and grant proposals, 2) TV lecture series to be telecasted from RuG, and 3) An introduction by Prof. Kinoshita of the World Premiere International Research Center: Immunology Frontier Research (IFReC) at Osaka University and possibility of a large scale scholar exchanges.
    6.28.2008 (Sat) Visit Osaka city and Kobe.
    6.29.2008(Sun) Move to Nagoya by Shinkansen.  Preparation for lectures.
    6.30.2008(Mon) Visit Nagoya University Graduate School of Science (Host, Dean, Dr.T.Kondo) Discussion with graduate students and Post-docs at Dr.Kondo’s laboratory. Visit University Graduate School of Agriculure, laboratories of Prof. S. Ebihara and Prof. T.Yoshimura.
    Present lecture at Doctor Course Special Seminar. Title: Clocks and Light - How organisms stay in synch with the earth's rotation.
    Move to Tokyo by Shinkansen
    7.1.2008(Tue) Meet Prof. Emer. K. Aoki of Sophia University. Visit their majesties, the Emperor and Empress at the Imperial Palace.
    7.2.2008(Wed) Leave Tokyo and arrive in Sapporo. Visit Hokkaido University Graduate School of Medicine.
    7.3.2008(Thu) Attend International Symposium “Environment and Health: Changing global environment and human life”. Present plenary lecture entitled “Life on a rotating planet; Challenge and opportunity) from 15:15 till 16:20.
    Attend the reception and talked with Prof. Hondoh, the vice president of Hokkaido University and the chairperson of Hokkaido University Sustainability Weeks 2008 “G8 Summit round”, the Dean of Hokkaido University Graduate School, Dr.Ken-ichi Honma and Vice Deans, Drs. Yoshioka and Shirato.
    7.4.2008(Fri) Attend International Symposium “Environment and Health:Changing global environment and human life”
    Dinner with Prof.W. Dement of Stanford University, and other sleep researchers from US, Austria and Japan.
    7.5.2008(Sat) Move to Fukuoka by plane, then onto Kumamoto and Choyou by train
    7.6.2008(Sun) Weekend at Aso mountains
    7.7.2008(Mon) Visit Kumamoto University Institute of Molecular Embryology and Genetics. Give a lecture at 115th IMEG seminar, organized by Profs. Shoen Kume and Kazuhiko Kume. The title of his lecture was “Clocks and Light - how life stays in sync with the earth's rotation”. Students of Kumamoto University Global COE, “Cell Fate Regulation Research and Education Unit” also attended the lecture.
    Research discussions with students from Prof. Kume’s lab.
    7.8.2008(Tue) City tour, lecture preparation.
    7.9.2008(Wed) Move to Fukuoka by train. Hosted by the Vice president, Prof. Shuji Endo, Dr. and Mrs. Daan visited Fukuoka University of Education and met president and all vice-presidents of the university. He gave a lecture at a seminar to the staff and students of the University of Education.
    7.10.2008(Thu) Move to Tokyo by plane
    7.11.2008(Fri) 10:30 Meeting with Prof.Emer. K.Aoki of Sophia University, Prof.Masashi Kawasaki of Virginia University, and Prof. S. Honma (Hokkaido University).
    13:00 Visit JSPS to meet President Mr.Ono and receive Eminent Scientist Award
    14:00 Meet their highnesses Prince and Princess Akishinomiya at their Palace together with Mr.Ono, Prof.Aoki and Prof.Honma
    7.12.2008(Sat) Preparation for returning to Holland.
    7.13.2008(Sun) 11:30 Leave for Amsterdam

  5. Description of and results from the invitation

    From the day of the arrival on June 27 until the day of leaving on July 13, Dr. Daan energetically completed his schedule including lectures, education of students and international networking among academic institutions. He also contributed the promotion of the amicable relations between Japan and Holland in the field of natural sciences, including his visit of the Imperial Palace. Results of Dr.Daan’s present visit are categorized into three classes, 1) the promotion of sciences especially in the field of biological clock research through lectures and discussion with Japanese students and scientists, 2) promotion of international communication among academic institutions and 3) meeting with Their Majesties at the Imperial Palace and Their Highnesses Prince and Princess Akishinonomiya.

    1) Lectures and discussions: At Nagoya University Graduate School of Science and Graduate School of Agriculture, gave lectures for graduate students and discussed with students and Post-docs which was extremely fruitful and students were very much inspired. At Hokkaido University, he attended the International Symposium and presented Plenary lecture entitled “Life on a rotating planet; Challenge and opportunity” for 1.5 hour. He explained the role of the circadian clock, its evolution and significance in the adaptation to daily and seasonal alterations. Audience of his lecture was over 200 including staff members of Hokkaido University, medical students and general audience. At Kumamoto University, Dr. Daan gave a lecture Institute of Molecular Embryology and Genetics. There was a special session for interaction with students from this laboratory interested in the genetics and molecular biology of sleep. At Fukuoka University of Education, Dr. Daan’s lecture was focused on how organisms including humans know the time of day and year, which was provocative and suggestive for the future teachers of elementary schools and junior high schools.
    2) Promotion of international communication: Osaka University has the European Center at University of Groningen, and Dr. Daan as a Dean of the Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences in Groningen, took this opportunity to promote the programs between Groningen and Osaka Universities. At Hokkaido University, Dr. Daan met Vice President of Hokkaido University Prof. Hondo, Dean of Graduate School of Medicine, Prof.K.Honma, and two Vice Deans, Drs. Yoshioka and Shirato. They also discussed the possibilities of future exchange program of students and staffs, and developed plans for a visit by a delegation from Hokkaido University to Groningen, The Netherlands in this autumn.
    3) Visit of the Imperial Palace: Dr. and Mrs. Daan met Prof.Emer. K.Aoki of Sophia University and together with him, visited their majesties, the Emperor and the Empress at the Imperial Palace. The friendly talks over the mutual relationship between Japan and Holland especially in the field of science and culture lasted for 2 hours. Dr.and Mrs. Daan visited their highnesses Prince and Princes Akishinomiya at his palace together with President of JSPS, Mr. Ono, Prof. Aoki and Prof. Honma. Since his highness Prince Akishinomiya is a well-known ornithologist who recently published a fine book entitled “Sammna Ornithologica”, they talked about topics in biology of mutual interest, especially birds, migration, domestication and hibernation. It was Dr.Daan’s honor to meet and talk with their majesties, Emperor and Empress, Prince and Princess Akishinomiya during this visit to Japan.

    During the present stay in Japan, Dr.Daan contributed a great deal for promoting mutual relationship not only in scientific or educational issues between universities, but also between Japanese and Dutch people, from royal families to citizens. The memorable and fruitful tours of 2008 through Japan from Sapporo through Kumamoto were over on July 13 when Dr.and Mrs. Daan returned home expecting another trip to Japan in 2009.

  6. Contributions to the Host Institute

    (Stimulation to Young Researchers, Internationalization of the Host Institutes, etc.)

    During the stay in Sapporo, Dr.Daan enjoyed talking with young scientists and students and teaching what they need. Through his lecture and also with discussions, he gave great impact on the young scientists and students. At the meeting in Hokkaido University Conference Hall, we had general audience which having no special biological background, yet Dr.Daan’s lecture was easy to understand and impressed the general audience and students. It is necessary to know for all the general public that we have biological clocks to know the time of day and seasons within our body and within each cell, because the recent 24-7 society has tremendous hazardous effects on our health. Especially medical students and future teachers, it is important to keep in their mind about Dr.Daan’s lecture and his message on biological clock.  Dr.Daan talked to President of JSPS, Mr.Ono, that it is real treat for him to discuss with young scientists and students. And he promised to communicate with students next year.
    Dr.Daan has contributed to the field of Chronobiology publishing series of papers which based on precise observation of huge number of behavioral rhythms in different rodent species. His papers are regarded as classics in chronobiology that they are required to read thoroughly at least once for every scientist in this field. He also promoted the understanding of sleep regulation of humans which to date, became finally started to be talked in the molecular terms. In addition, by reporting a number of studies in field, such as energy resources and timing in hibernators and pray-predator relations, Dr.Daan repeatedly taught us the ecological significance of biological clocks. Cloning of clock genes and rapid advances of molecular chronobiology strengthened the importance of these findings of Dr.Daan. His recent challenge in the field using clock gene mutant mice stimulated young students of Hokkaido University and impressed what we should explore is not only in the tubes at the bench but also in the organisms in the field.
    Dr.Daan contributed a great deal for promoting mutual relationship in scientific or educational issues between University of Groningen and Hokkaido University. We promised to promote this relationship by exchanging staffs and students in near future.

  7. Others

    We express our sincere thanks to the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS) for giving us a chance to invite Prof. and Mrs. Daan to inspire many Japanese young scientists not only in the field of Chronobiology but in wide range of science, medicine and even to publics.