International research collaboration with foreign universities
Research exchange with the University of Helsinki
The Center for Twin Research began research collaboration with the University of Helsinki in January 2014 with funding from the Osaka University implemented Projects for Promoting International Joint Research. As a part of the project, Dr. Karri Silventoinen from the University of Helsinki was appointed visiting researcher of the Osaka University, and the Center began to periodically send it faculty to visit the University of Helsinki. The purpose of the project is to provide the means to use the twin data gathered from both countries to conduct international comparison studies on how genes and the environment influence health, and to generally facilitate the internationalization of Japanese twin studies.
During his visits, Dr. Silventoinen has given talks to all concerned parties within Osaka University about University of Helsinki’s international twin research project CODATwins that has participants from 21 countries, and other currently active projects. In addition, he has held introductory lectures on twin studies (a three-session special lecture series) aimed at graduate and undergraduate students, given lectures on research methodology, engaged in joint research projects with the Center’s staff, exchanged views and offered advice on the Center’s research projects and actively contributed to the Center’s activities in many other ways. In 2014 November we had the pleasure of welcoming professor Kaprio and researcher Dr. Latvala from Helsinki University at the same time with Dr. Silventoinen and were able to engage in lively academic discussion regarding each other’s respective findings.
Organization of international symposiums
On the 1st of November 2014, we organized the ”1st International Twin Research Symposium” at the Center of Medical Innovation and Translational Research’s Multimedia Hall. The event, themed ”Twin Research combined with Advanced Medical Science” attracted a large number of participants and featured lectures by Dr. Yoshihide Hayashizaki, the program director of the RIKEN Preventive Medicine & Diagnosis Innovation Program, and Dr. Jaakko Kaprio, professor of genetic epidemiology at the University of Helsinki.
Dr. Kaprio gave an introduction on Finland’s 30 years long history of twin studies and explained the current state of their epigenome research. Dr. Hayashizaki introduced the various international projects he had directed in the past and expounded on the possibilities of twin research methods he had developed.
The international symposium was organized with funding from the Osaka University implemented Projects for Promoting International Joint Research program and the Osaka University International Symposium Grant.
Participation in ISTS@Budapest
Several of our staff members and 10 graduate students gave oral presentations and held poster sessions at the International Society for Twin Study (ISTS)’s conference held between 16th and 19th of November 2014 in Budapest, Hungary.
In the occasion, the organizing committee for the next ISTS conference was also voted for, and and professor Kazuo Hayakawa was nominated as one of its six board members. In addition, the steering committee meeting for the International Network of Twin Registries (INTR) was organized alongside the main event, and Osaka University’s role as the host of the next INTR meeting was confirmed.
From now on, we intend to live by the Osaka University’s motto, ”Live Locally, Grow Globally”, and continue to actively engage in international collaboration.