Glycans are one of the lesser known components of human and animal cells, but they are a vital part of the processes that keep our bodies functioning every day. Problems with glycan synthesis, function and inhibition can lead to immune problems, cancer and neurological disorders. To better understand glycans, how they work and how we can prevent glycan-related disorders, Nagoya University and Gifu University established the Institute for Glyco-core Research (iGCORE) in 2020 as part of their Tokai National Higher Education and Research System (THERS) partnership.
The iGCORE Gifu Research Center, built for the academic year 2023, was officially opened in a ceremony on Monday, May 15. The event was attended by the heads of the two universities, iGCORE researchers, representatives from the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT), the Deputy Governor of Gifu Prefecture, representatives from the CNRS in France and national media.
"Despite their fundamental role in our bodies, few people have even heard the name 'glycan'," said iGCORE Director Professor Kenji Kadomatsu, introducing the institute to the participants. "This research institute will enable us to study their role in a variety of natural phenomena."
The ceremony was followed by a ribbon-cutting ceremony to officially open the building and a tour of the laboratories, which include state-of-the-art machinery and imaging systems. With nearly 60 researchers from the two universities and partnerships with universities in Canada, Taiwan, France and Australia, iGCORE operates at the highest level of international collaborative research.
"This flagship research center, together with the planned research center at Nagoya University's Higashiyama campus, will place THERS and our two universities at the forefront of international glycan research," said Nagoya University President Naoshi Sugiyama, "I am very excited".
"Having a research center like this means that we will be able to attract the best researchers in the field from Japan and overseas to work with us," added THERS Chancellor Seiichi Matsuo.
As the largest research center of its kind in Japan, the iGCORE Gifu Research Center represents the continued commitment of THERS, Gifu University and Nagoya University to invest in world-class life sciences research, and its work will contribute to solving a wide range of problems that affect our lives and health.