Voices of Faculty, Students, and Alumni

Messages fromFaculty Members

Akira Shibuya

Professor (TARA Center),
Former Program Leader

Expectations for the HBP family

I was the program leader for seven years from 2012 to this spring. During this time, we were able to welcome 78 students from 15 countries around the world to HBP. At the time of its founding, it was a groping situation, but now HBP has grown tremendously as a program that is highly evaluated not only on campus but also off campus. Being in the path of program growth and being able to interact directly with many excellent students is a fortunate as a faculty member at the University of Tsukuba and a great pride in my faculty life.

This program started from the beginning with the full support of the Ministry of Education, and is still receiving special support from the university. Currently, the program has a capacity of only 8 students per grade, but a huge number of faculty members from inside and outside the university participate in the program, and it is operated together with the administrative staff. Students should always remember that HBP is such a special program and have the pride of learning here. HBP graduates are obliged to become captains who can steer unknown routes aimed at creating a society in which humans live like humans. I have no doubt that the HBP family will be active in the oceans around the world in the near future.

Satoshi Takahashi

Professor, Anatomy and Embryology Laboratory

Aiming to be a world leader

The Human Biology Program (HBP) was launched in 2011 as a program to develop world leaders. Unlike traditional Japanese graduate schools, all education is conducted in English for acquiring the ability to perform discussions in English. In addition, overseas laboratory and company rotation and appropriate technology course are obligatory. Because of these, it is possible to cultivate the ability to work around the world. HBP is an innovative program that reforms previous graduate school education in Japan. I've been in charge since I applied for the program, and I was worried if we could really achieve such a high goal, but our graduates so far have proved that the goal has been fully achieved. As examples, there are several graduates who have found employment as postdocs at well-known overseas Universities such as Stanford University, MIT, and the University of Michigan, and some of them have published their papers with their current affiliations in top journals. In addition, some students were hired as faculty members at the University of Tsukuba and Gifu University immediately after graduation. In this way, HBP functions as a program to develop true world leaders.
I hope that everyone will join HBP with the aim of becoming the next world leader.

Kiong Ho

Assoc. Professor, Faculty of Medicine

Develop Your Scientific Leadership Skills for Human Society

In less than a decade, the HBP had gained recognition as one of the most successful graduate programs in the nation and has served as a prototype for the other graduate programs in Japan. The program has attracted students from overseas, with more than 70% of students from abroad. The success of HBP can be attributed to several key factors. Firstly the diversity of the faculty members, drawn from the academia, government, and industrial sectors. Students learn interdisciplinary approaches to developing projects towards addressing global questions that cannot be approached within single traditional disciplines. Secondly, its unique curriculum, such as the Appropriate Technology Course, and the availability of travel scholarships to attend conferences and advanced training courses overseas.

Aside from the traditional Ph.D. requirements, HBP students need to satisfy two qualifying examinations, consisting of oral examinations focused on the student-written research or business proposals. The first qualifying exam is taken in the early stages of their research project to encourage students to think critically about their theoretical and practical aspects of their dissertation project. The second qualifying exam is scheduled in the 5th year of the program focus on students' original proposal on the topic outside of their dissertation, with the expectation that they will be able to apply for individual funding for their future career. Upon completing the degree, I am confident that HBP graduates will have an adequate breadth and depth of knowledge to become global leaders in the emerging field of Human Biology.

Yukihiro Yada

KAO Corporation
R&D-Development Research-Sanitary Products Research
Senior Principal Research Scientist

Breaking down the status quo and future oriented

Eight years have passed since I started working for Doctoral Program in Human Biology, during which time I have had the opportunity to perform experiments and participate in activities with many students and teachers. I have also served as a mediator between companies and students, helping students desiring to work as a corporate researcher after graduation. Now, in 2020, the whole world is in the middle of a corona virus crisis. The pandemic has transformed social life in a way that no one could have imagined, and has already presented numerous challenges for how to reconstruct our lives. This situation has made me realize once again that our generation can pass on our experience and knowledge to the next generation, but we may not be able to provide a guide on how to cope with the arrival of a new society that we had never expected and on how it should be transformed in the future. We need to propose and implement different social systems and lifestyles. In that sense, I look for the willingness and effort of young, future-oriented people who will forge a way through this current situation.

Takeshi Nagata

Research Manager, Information and Communication Research Department,
Mizuho Research & Technologies, Ltd.

Bringing the power of computational science to life science!

There are very few modern science researches that does not require computational science. I am a technical consultant, solving the problems of various customers with the power of computational science. Computational science includes various fields such as physical simulation, computational mathematics including optimal solution search, signal processing, cryptographic processing, image recognition, statistical analysis, machine learning, and many experts are not familiar with non-specialty fields. My strength is having knowledge and experience in such various fields. Therefore, I can proceed with multifaceted research.

Many of the issues facing humanity today cannot be solved by experts in one field alone, and it will be necessary for experts in various fields to gather and proceed with multifaceted research. I believe that this program will foster the human resources who will lead such research. I have no doubt that computational science is essential there, so I am providing my own knowledge and experience to this program. I look forward to the new light that guides humanity from sessions in computational science and other fields in this program.