The purpose of scholarship is ultimately to contribute to the well-being and development of humanity. Keio founder Yukichi Fukuzawa imbued in his school the spirit of “jitsugaku,” or empirical science, but this phrase refers to more than just practical science and technology. Shinzo Koizumi, the seventh president of Keio University, also left us with another wise saying: “That which is immediately useful soon becomes useless.” So, how can we create innovative research that will stand the test of time?
First, we have to remember that we are standing on the shoulders of giants. The most groundbreaking achievements and Nobel Prize-winning research does not appear out of thin air. We begin by absorbing the understanding and knowledge accumulated by those who have come before us, and by standing on their shoulders, we are able to see further. This mindset extends to language and communication skills as well.
The important thing, then, is to insert yourself into a loop of positive feedback. Many well-known examples of groundbreaking discoveries have been made when a thoroughly researched topic in one field has been connected to the research and development of another completely unrelated field. There are also many examples of how the approaches and concepts of one field can be applied to a seemingly unrelated one. We also understand that many excellent researchers and educators are not produced by accident but grow together in the same environment. In other words, it is of great importance that you have a place that fosters these kinds of positive feedback loops with your peers through friendly rivalry and collaboration across disciplines, laboratories, and medical departments.
We must also not forget our curiosity and a kind of wide-eyed innocence. After all, we are merely children playing with shells on the beach in front of an ocean of truth. As we aim to generate beneficial research, I hope we never lose a sense of childlike wonder for the mysteries of each “shell” that we discover.
The greatest strength of the Keio University Graduate School of Medicine is not only its ability to carry forward its wealth of expertise but also its ability to retain such a storied legacy while creating positive feedback loops that go beyond basic, clinical, and social medicine. And in doing so, we overcome generational barriers and differences in experience.
Currently, about half of our doctoral students come from the Keio University School of Medicine. In addition, a diverse range of graduates from other medical schools and other faculties are enrolled in both our master’s and doctoral programs. No matter their background, all of our students are fully committed to their research. I invite you all to become part of our positive feedback loop here at Keio and, through these friendly rivalries, become truly world-leading medical and biomedical professionals.
Prof. Yuzaki specializes in neurophysiology. He graduated from Jichi Medical University School of Medicine in 1985 and obtained a PhD in 1993. He then did his postdoctoral training supported by the Human Frontier Science Program at the Roche Institute of Molecular Biology in Nutley, New Jersey, USA. In 1995, he was appointed Assistant Professor at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee, USA. There he became an Associate Professor in 2002 before taking up his current post at Keio in 2003. His major awards include the 2005 Kitasato Award, the 2012 Tokizane Toshihiko Prize, and the 2012 Award for Science and Technology by the Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology. Outside of the university, Prof. Yuzaki also serves as the president of the Japan Neuroscience Society and is a member of the board of directors of the Union of Brain Science Associations in Japan and the Physiological Society of Japan. He is also a program supervisor of the Japan Agency for Medical Research and Development.