Report from a PhD-student’s visit at the University of Tokyo

Workshops abroad is a great way to get an international experience. Doctoral student Richeng Jiang and his supervisor was invited to the KI-SU-KTH-UTokyo collaborative workshop in October 2018.

As a PhD student of Karolinska Institutet, I’m very grateful to the board of doctoral education to support me in joining the “2nd Stockholm-Tokyo Workshop” and lab visit in the University of Tokyo. As we have seen, there are quite a few researchers from Japan who got the Nobel Prize over the years, and University of Tokyo is the top university in Japan. So I was very excited about getting the chance to visit a lab of University of Tokyo and to see their research environment.

Attending the workshop

During the workshop, I learned a lot about aging diseases not only from medical science view but also from many other different angles which gave me impression that various fields of sciences are connected.

The professors from the University of Tokyo have shown their advanced technology and plenty of impressive data which inspires me and our group to further realize the importance of collaboration with UTokyo. One of the most impressive equipment we were shown were 12 electron microscopy instruments in UTokyo core facility.

The professors from three different universities of Stockholm (Karolinska Institutet, KTH, Stockholm University) also gave very nice lectures showing that collaboration with other two universities in Stockholm is very important for KI as well.

According to the Jonas Olofsson’s (Stockholm University) lecture, I realize that the smelling loss, as one of early signs for Alzheimer’s Disease, is important to be tested in our Alzheimer mouse model. It can be implemented through collaboration since they have done a lot of smelling test in both humans and mouse models.

Professor Taisuke Tomita's lab

Since my research is focused on Alzheimer’s disease and this prompted us to contact Professor Taisuke Tomita who is an outstanding Alzheimer researcher and head of a lab at the University of Tokyo. After the workshop, we were therefore invited by Prof. Taisuke Tomita in to visit his lab.

My supervisor, Assoc Prof Per Nilsson and I gave seminars showing our research and recent data. In the lab, we observed and learned the technology of culture microglia which has a strong connection with autophagy in Alzheimer’s Disease.

We then had the opportunity to listen to all researchers and several students’ presentations of their research and their future plans. From this discussion, we found that there are many connections between our studies and theirs, and we got a lot of ideas which will be great projects that can be done by our collaboration. In the collaboration, it will also be a great chance to exchange students for learning technologies since we have complementary equipment and knowledge.

I hope this Stockholm-Tokyo joint will last long and we will also keep the connection with Tomita’s lab for future collaborations and grant applications such as STINT/JSPS grant application both in Stockholm and Japan from next year.

Tokyo and Japan are fantastic places to visit with great hospitality, strong research and very tasty food! I really recommend other students and researchers to visit and collaborate with labs in Japan.


Picture: Richeng Jiang with his supervisor Per Nilsson

Photo: Maria Lindskog.

Content reviewer:
Emma Hägg