Messages from Dean

IGARASHI, Kazuhiko

Medical Sciences are Our Frontier

Diversity Drives Our Education and Research towards an Innovative Future

Medical sciences and services are critical to society, in that they are essential to ensuring a better life for those persons suffering from diseases. To promote these efforts, Tohoku University School of Medicine was established in 1915 as a part of Tohoku Imperial University. The origin of our school can be further traced back to Miyagi Prefecture Medical School which was established in 1872. Based on the three grand philosophies of Tohoku University, namely, “Research First”, “Openness and Diversity”, and “Impact on Society”, our medical and graduate schools have evolved to carry out cutting-edge research programs as well as provide education and training for professionals in diverse areas of medicine. A long list of our prominent accomplishments includes developments related to electroencephalograms, the Kasai Procedure for congenital bile duct atresia, and mass examination for the early detection of cancer. Our researchers also discovered moyamoya disease, the signaling mechanisms involved in protective responses including those related to immune and oxidative stress and the networks of major organs connected by the neural system, as well as congenital diseases involving Ras and related signaling molecules. In cooperation with the University Hospital, we are also striving to translate our basic discoveries into innovations for application at the bed-side.

Nonetheless, we are still faced with patients for whom there is no effective treatment, as well as many incurable diseases including cancer, neurodegenerative diseases, and infectious diseases. Other challenges include the development of new effective treatments and the prevention of diseases based on the diversity of genetic information between people. When we pay close attention to our society, it quickly becomes clear that there is a need for better societal systems to promote health care, insurance, and support for people with diseases, both young and old. Especially, we have made it a new mission to support and promote the health of people living in the areas devastated by the Great East Japan Earthquake of 2011. With this as a goal, we established the Tohoku Medical Megabank Organization, and together with them and the University Hospital, we are striving to develop precision medicines and prevention based on genomic diversities. In cooperation with the International Research Institute of Disaster Science, we are developing disaster-related medical sciences. In addition, we are establishing a public health program and a training course for general physicians.

As our activities clearly illustrate, medical science is a frontier of modern society. This frontier shall be explored and exploited by a motivated younger generation and their boundless curiosity. We strongly believe that our schools can provide an excellent gateway into exploration, through which you can serve humanity in the future.

IGARASHI, Kazuhiko
Dean, Graduate School of Medicine, Tohoku University
2005- Professor, Tohoku University Graduate School of Medicine

Specialist areas: Biochemistry: Gene expression regulation, Epigenetics, Cancer, Immunity, and Hematopoietic cell differentiation