Vol.7, July 2016
Toru Takebayashi, MD. PhD(medicine). MPH.
Dean, Graduate School of Health Management Professor, School of Medicine
Department of Preventive Medicine & Public Health Keio University
I have been conducting research on public health ever since I graduated from medical school and received my physician's license. Public health is a multifaceted area of research. For example, protecting the health of workers; effect of the environment on people’s health.
Another example is whether PM 2.5 air pollution affects human health. I also study the health of people in a local community.
A new recent trend is personalized preventive medicine based on an genetic background and life style conditions. I have started new cohort research by fusing different types of state of the art technology for a comprehensive understanding of human health. The aim is to develop personalized prevention.
Cancer is the number one cause of death in Japan. The other main reasons are stroke and heart disease. So-called non-communicable diseases are the first targets. The other main reasons are stroke and heart disease. So-called non-communicable diseases are the first targets. Diseases due to metabolism changes such as diabetes are targets in any country.
Currently in Japan, a cohort research on metabolism is centered in Tsuruoka City, Yamagata Prefecture. In the future, we plan to collaborate with Imperial College London to develop international standards.
Keio University and Kawasaki City
Everyone acknowledges the importance the future and internationalization of Tonomachi (KINGSKYFRONT). Actually, Keio and Kawasaki have cooperated in many ways to date.
First, historically, physicians from Keio have provided clinical medical care at two municipal hospitals in Kawasaki City. Also, Kawasaki City and Kei University have collaborated on comprehensive partnerships in conducting cutting edge research and education.
Based on this historical cooperation, Keio decided to set up the Keio University Tonomachi Town Campus at KINGSKYFRONT on 1st April 2016.
Research complex project
The goal of the research complex project is to establish KINGSKYFRONT as a place where players from industry, academia, and research institutes can gather for the development of the region.
A wide range of institutes have already started to assemble here. However, there is no academic institute. That is the existence of a university. The establishment of our campus here will accelerate the development of this region.
Keio’s immediate goal is to become a member of the outstanding players in the research complex project. Next, we want to devise means to create “horizontal connections” between the organizations located at KINGSKYFRONT.
Large scale information and data science human resource base for health care
The first priority is to develop information infrastructure to collect as much information as possible about health, medical and nursing care. Of course this is with the premise that personal information will be strictly protected.
The second role is developing human resources. Next fiscal year, we plan to start a course on innovative health care that we provisionally refer to as “Tonomachi Edge”.
Together with this, there will be courses on nurturing data science professionals and research and training courses for young physicians. We want to create an environment where university students, young researchers from graduate schools, and young entrepreneurs can gather, study, take training sessions and interact and at this campus. We believe that these are two important roles for us to play.
Nurturing internationally minded human resources
A good aspect of KINGSKYFRONT is that it does not just have universities located here. This area will give young university research students to look beyond their own lab and interact with industrialists working at KINGSKYFRONT. This networking will give students an early opportunity to design their careers. I expect that Tonomachi will become a place to nurture young people and their careers.
Each of the projects will be planned with an international perspective. In fact we are already starting working with Estonian researchers on how to use information for human health.
We expect that the results of a new project that we are planning to start on robotics and robot suits for spinal cord injuries will lead to many patients from all over the world visiting KINGSKYFRONT.
Hence, many doctors will come here to learn more about it. So, in this way, each of our projects will be planned for international participation.
Creating the environment
Students have a tendency to stay high localized inside their immediate labs. This is not very productive. So it’s important to create an environment where researchers can meet and freely exchange ideas and move away from the isolated buildings that exist at the moment.
When all the buildings scheduled to be built at KINGSKYFRONT are completed in 4 to 5 years, researchers will not stay secluded in their own institutes but move around and network with other colleagues here, with the goal to generating new ideas and innovations.
So it’s important to create such an environment. For example, there is a river and we can see airplanes at Haneda Airport. Also, greenery will enable people to take refresh. It will be a wonderful place to work and conduct research.
As KINGSKYFRONT becomes more international with increasing numbers of long stay visitors from overseas, then it will be necessary to have not only research institutes but also facilities to educate and raise children as well. Kawasaki City will be at the center of plans to produce such an environment.
Haneda Airport provides excellent international access to Tonomachi and KINGSKYFRONT. Our plans to create an innovative environment will become a model for other cities.
The Keio Town Campus is a means of preventing the university from becoming closed and isolated from society. As the name town campus implies, it was established to encourage new research and development and education in collaboration with Kawasaki City, research institutes, industries and other resources.
By locating it in Tonomachi, Keio University wants to generate new innovative ideas with partners located here.