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Broadening the Minds of Japan’s Future Life Scientists

Osaka

Osaka Univ. students learnt techniques, such as protein analysis, which they plan to incorporate into their own research

Collaboration between academia and the healthcare industry is a key accelerator for innovation. To encourage such collaboration, GE Healthcare Japan’s “Life Sciences Academy” teamed up with a graduate student program at Osaka University to offer selected students access to GE Healthcare’s expertise in training and technologies for biopharmaceutical research and manufacturing.

The top four students from the Osaka University program recently completed a three-week visit to GE Healthcare Life Science’s Uppsala site to experience day-to-day life in an R&D laboratory. During the trip they worked closely with GE Healthcare scientists and engineers who shared expertise of how high-tech instrumentation and operational excellence go hand in hand for a company to be successful.

“The aim of our degree course at Osaka University is to create new treatments for intractable diseases. We believe our goal can be achieved using an innovative and interdisciplinary approach and that collaborating with industry is one of the best ways to do this,” one of the students explains.

For two weeks, the students, Ryo Iwamoto, Yuichi Ninomiya, Shin Jihoon and Takero Miyagawa, experienced protein interaction analysis and laboratory-scale protein purification first-hand by using GE Healthcare’s highly advanced instruments. “Protein analysis was totally new for us but we found GE products were easy to use (even for beginners like us!) and we were able to explore solutions to problems through discussion with instructors,” the students explained. “From this, we now realise that protein experiments are not only for experts but for all researchers and we hope to incorporate protein studies in our research going forward.”

The final week focused on ways of working with large scale manufacturing. For this the students applied what they had learned to independently plan, execute and evaluate a project exploring methods for time-saving centrifugation, the results of which could not only benefit the scientific community but also have direct commercial impact for GE by reducing lead times for customers.

Overall, the students benefited from their time at GE in many ways. “The Swedish culture and style of work was completely different from that of Japan – we noticed people used discussion to bring together innovative ideas and bypass errors.”

“We were fascinated by industrial research and will apply our new skills in developing innovative technologies which may lead new treatments” they added. “Overall, we learned that through collaboration with industry, there is an alternative way to contribute to society and believe this opportunity has broadened our minds to our future careers.”