The Frontier Development Program for Genome Editing

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  • Mitsuo Ochi
    Program Director,
    President, Hiroshima University

    In 2019, Hiroshima University will launch the Frontier Development Program for Genome Editing, an integrated Master’s-PhD course, with the aim of training PhD students to introduce innovations to society.
    Genome editing is a new biotechnology that makes it possible to rewrite the genomic information of various living organisms at will, using an artificial DNA-cutting enzyme (genome editing tool). Basic genome editing research has advanced considerably. As it is just a matter of time before we see the industrial and medical application of genome editing in the field of biofuel, breeding, and drug discovery, the ethical aspects of genome editing should be considered when scientists conduct cutting-edge R&D in this area of biotechnology.
    Hiroshima University is one of Japan’s leading research institutions in the genome editing field and employs a number of leading researchers who have strong track records in this research field and are responsible for managing the Japanese Society for Genome Editing. In addition, in collaboration with various enterprises in the basic materials, energy, IT, and pharmaceutical industries, Hiroshima University has been conducting projects aimed at developing basic technology to utilize genome editing in industry within the framework of the Program on Open Innovation Platform with Enterprises, Research Institute and Academia (OPERA) led by the Japan Science and Technology Agency (JST). This academic-industrial collaboration is aimed at developing young researchers and providing them with support for career paths in research and development.
    In our efforts to develop new industries, I hope that new students will join us at Hiroshima University, which provides a great environment for fostering distinguished PhD students, who will lead the world in genome editing technology.

  • Hidetoshi Tahara
    Program Director
    Vice President, (Academia-Government-Industry Collaboration) Hiroshima University

    The Frontier Development Program for Genome Editing is based on curricula led by world-class domestic and overseas genome editing researchers. Its purpose is to train specialists who can take the lead in creating new industries in the field of biotechnology.
    We have established the five-year Life Science Course to develop new industries and the four-year Medical Course to study diseases and develop genome editing-based therapies and drugs. In these two courses, students will learn the basic and applied knowledge and technology of genome editing. A wide variety of curricula are provided in advanced technologies, including training at the Center for iPS Cell Research and Application, Kyoto University, and at overseas institutes; collaborative research with Tokushima University, which has outstanding research achievements in the agricultural, fisheries, and livestock field; and education by enterprises participating in the Consortium for Industry-University Cooperation in Genome Editing Technology.
    Hiroshima University has served as a driving force for advancements in the field of genome editing in Japan, and earned high acclaim. This program is designed to enable students to engage in top-level research activities, taking advantage of the university’s strong track record and network among industry, academia, government and the private sector. I hope that they will play an active role and make a valuable contribution on the global stage by taking action and resolving various social issues, based on what they have learned in this program.

  • Takashi Yamamoto
    Program Coordinator
    Professor, Hiroshima University Graduate School

    Genome editing technology needs to be actively utilized in order for industries to solve fundamental human problems related to food, energy, and diseases. Hiroshima University has led the genome editing field over the years. In 2012, it established the Genome Editing Consortium, and in 2016, the Japanese Society for Genome Editing, centered around Hiroshima University’s researchers.
    The global market of genome editing is expected to rapidly grow in many fields, including life science research, the biotechnology industry, breeding of animals and plants, medical care, and drug discovery. The competition to develop these technologies is getting more intense. Thus, Hiroshima University is one of the best places in Japan to learn genome editing because it has served as the domestic base of genome editing research and can collaborate with a wide range of organizations.
    Why don’t you join us in advancing genome editing technology?