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Press Release - Japan-Australia collaboration to accelerate stem cell research

12 February 2013

Japan-Australia collaboration to accelerate stem cell research

Leading Australian and Japanese experts in bioengineering, nanotechnology, stem cell biology and clinical research will meet at a two day summit in Australia this week to share ideas and forge plans on how to address some of the big questions in stem cell science.

Stem Cells Australia will host the summit at the University of Melbourne with researchers from Kyoto University. The summit will build on existing relationships and explore new collaborative opportunities to accelerate progress in stem cell science and regenerative medicine.

Professor Martin Pera, who leads the Stem Cells Australia initiative and is the Chair of Stem Cell Science at the University of Melbourne, said “Stem cell research is a field with great opportunity but also enormous challenges. These challenges will only be met by an international effort that promotes free exchange of information, collaboration, and effective use of research resources”.

The Japanese delegation is led by Professor Norio Nakatsuji, Founding Director of the Institute for Integrated Cell Material Sciences (iCeMS), Kyoto University’s premier interdisciplinary research initiative with a focus on stem cell science and technology.

Professor Nakatsuji commented, “By facilitating scientific exchange between leading scientists in Stem Cells Australia and iCeMS, we will be able to accelerate the progress of both teams towards applications of stem cells in research and medicine”.

The summit is supported by the Australian Government through the Australia-Japan Foundation of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

Stem Cells Australia is an Australian Research Council funded Special Research Initiative, bringing together Australia’s premier life scientists to address the big questions in stem cell science. Stem Cells Australia has been established by the University of Melbourne, University of Queensland, Monash University, University of NSW, Walter and Eliza Hall Institute for Medical Research, Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute, Florey Neuroscience Institutes and CSIRO. 

Kyoto University Institute for Integrated Cell-Material Sciences (iCeMS) is part of the Japanese government's World Premier International Research Center Initiative (WPI), aimed at forging a new model for scientific institutions. The Institute seeks to illuminate a chemical basis of cells, creating compounds to control processes in cells such as stem cells (materials for cell control) in addition to sparking cellular processes to create chemical materials (cell-inspired materials). Delving into the mesoscale world lying at the boundary of materials and life, the Institute is making a concerted effort to ultimately create a new research field of integrated cell-material science.

Media:     Megan Munsie (0417 585 621 or                      
                    Yutaka Iijima (81 75 753 97533 or