UCL News


UCL strengthens links with Osaka

30 November 2005

The first UCL-Osaka City University (OCU) joint forum was held on 28-30 November 2005 in Osaka, Japan.

Osaka conference Lectures were presented both at OCU and at an open meeting at Osaka City Hall. UCL was represented at the event by Professors Santa Jeremy Ono (UCL Ophthalmology) and Semir Zeki (UCL Anatomy & Developmental Biology), who both gave keynote lectures.

Around 300 people, including government officials, CEOs and other senior management from pharmaceutical companies, attended the events which followed on from a visit by Osaka scientists to UCL earlier this year. Explaining the purpose of the event, Professor Ono said: "The joint UCL-Osaka Forum in biomedicine is part of a regional strategic plan focused on 'green' chemistry and health science. The City of Osaka is now planning a major health sciences park in central Osaka and will work closely with UCL scientists to develop this quadrant of the city. Their commitment to working with UCL is very serious, and we are their preferred partner in the UK."

The symposium was born out of discussions between UCL's President and Provost, Professor Malcom Grant, and Osaka's Mayor, Junichi Seki, on UCL's global strategy. The strategic involvement with Osaka and Japan also includes UCL's Memorandum of Understanding with Osaka University (OU). Both OCU and OU will play key roles in the development of this new bioscience quadrant in central Osaka. Professor Ono added: "As Osaka is Japan's second city, with a core population of 2.6 million and a metropolitan area in Kansai of 17 million, the planned development is quite significant and reminiscent of what has been accomplished at Biopolis in Singapore. The interaction is also indicative of the strong momentum of the Provost's positioning of UCL as London's Global University."

During the two-day symposium, Professor Zeki discussed his research into the functional specialisation of the brain as it relates to vision and consciousness. Professor Ono gave two lectures: 'Molecular and Cellular Bases of Immune Diseases of the Eye' and 'Gene Expression in the Healthy and Diseased Retina'.

Commenting on the forum, Professor Grant said: "This symposium is very important for both UCL and OCU and builds upon our past links with the City of Osaka and OCU, and lays the foundations for a strong programme of future collaboration."

Image: Zoning of Osaka station North Area Redevelopment