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Event archive 2007

150th Anniversary Overseas Lecture Series 2 (London, UK)
“Frontiers of Neuroscience: major advancements in medical research and their applications”

On April 27 2007, Keio University, University College London (UCL) and Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS) jointly hosted a symposium on "Frontiers of Neuroscience: major advancements in medical research and their applications" at UCL’s campus in London, UK.

The event, part of Keio’s commemorative 150th Anniversary International Symposium series, was held in part to highlight research activities being conducted within the School of Medicine, raise its international profile, and promote collaboration with leading scientists in the UK. The symposium also commemorated the opening of the Keio University London Office, which played a major organizational role in the day’s events.

The program began with opening addresses from Keio President Professor Yuichiro Anzai, and UCL Vice-Provost (Special Projects) Professor Richard Frackowiak. Following the welcoming remarks, two leading scientists from each university presented some of their recent research findings relating to the brain and its functions, and discussed potential applications.

From UCL, Professor Frackowiak, a specialist in brain plasticity and recovery from injury, discussed how experience and learning affect the structure of different parts of the brain by using the latest Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) technology. The audience was intrigued by his presentation, in which he explained, for example, how the hippocampus of a London taxi driver differs from that of a bus driver, or how the part of the brain involved in second language acquisition is different in a person whose mother language is English rather than Italian. His colleague at the Wellcome Department of Imaging Neuroscience Professor Semir Zeki, who specializes in the relationship between vision, art and the brain, explored the nature of visual consciousnesses in his lecture. He focused on the unique nature of human consciousnesses, arguing that only human beings are conscious of being conscious.

From Keio, Professor Hideyuki Okano, a specialist in damaged Central Nervous System regeneration, explained his recent discovery of the Musashi-cell, its role in brain regeneration, and the development of related treatments and therapies. Professor Masato Yasui, also from Keio’s School of Medicine, specializes in aquaporin membrane proteins and discussed both their role in transporting water through brain cell membranes and their potential relationship to various mental disorders.

In two panel discussions, where the lecturers were joined by Dr Yukio Nishizawa of Eisai London Research Laboratories, they explored various issues common to Japan and the UK surrounding major advancements in neuroscience and related topics, and invited audience participation. Following the second panel discussion, Professor Yuko Furukawa, Director of the JSPS London Office, gave the closing address.

The response to the symposium was overall very positive, with several attendees commenting in a distributed questionnaire that they would like to see more presentations and have more time for questions in future events. The audience included many specialists in the field of neuroscience, both from UCL and Keio partner universities, as well as Keio alumni and members of the public. The audience showed a strong interest in each of the individual presentations, asking many questions after each lecture, and Keio received requests for similar future events in areas ranging from developmental biology, to mobile communications, to frontiers of mathematical techniques.

This was an important opportunity for Keio to raise the visibility of its educational and research activities, specifically within the field of medical science, within the UK. Through this, and other events related to the university’s 150th anniversary, Keio aims to strengthen its reputation as a world-class higher education institution, and promote greater collaboration with top universities worldwide.


Event details


Friday April 27, 2007


UCL Cruciform Lecture Theatre 2, Gower Street, London WC1, UK


Free and open to the public


Keio University
University College London
Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS)



Keio University London Office
c/o JSPS London Office
12 Berkeley Street, London W1J 8DT, UK
Tel: +44 (0)20 7629 3577



Opening address
Professor Yuichiro Anzai, President, Keio University
Professor Ricyard SJ Frackowiak, Vice-Provost (Special Projects), UCL


Introduction to the symposium
Professor Hideyuki Okano


"Modern Human Brain Imaging: structure-function correlations"
Professor Richard SV Frackowiak


Coffee Break


"Water Neurobiology: potential roles of water channel, aquaporin"
Professor Masato Yasui


"Challenges toward Regeneration of the Damaged Central Nervous System"
Professor Hideyuki Okano


" The Many Consciousnesses of the Brain "
Professor Semir Zeki


Panel discussion and Q& A
Chair: Professor Hideyuki Okano
Panelists (in alphabetical order):
Professor Richard SJ Frackowiak
Dr Yukio Nishizawa, Research Director, Eisai London Research Laboratories
Professor Masato Yasui
Professor Semir Zeki


Closing address
Ms Yuko Furukawa, Director, JSPS London Office


Reception at the South Cloisters

Speaker Profiles (in alphabetical order)

photoProfessor Richard SJ Frackowiak
Vice-Provost (Special Projects)

Wellcome Department of Imaging Neuroscience, Institute of Neurology
University College London
photoProfessor Hideyuki Okano
Department of Physiology
Keio University School of Medicine
photoProfessor Masato Yasui
Professor and Chair, Department of Pharmacology
Keio University School of Medicine
photoProfessor Semir Zeki
Wellcome Department of Imaging Neuroscience
University College London