Past Events

UTOPIA Welcomes Representatives from HHS/ASPR, CDC, US Embassy, and Japan's Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare

On 18 March 2024 UTOPIA was honored to welcomd a group of representatives from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)/ Administration for Strategic Preparedness and Response (ASPR), the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)'s East Asia and Pacific regional office,  the US Embassy, and Japan's Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare.

The visit began with a short speech by Ms Dawn O‘Connell of HHS/ASPR. This was followed by a presentation on the "Japan Initiative for World-leading Vaccine Research and Development Centers " by Professor Ken Ishii, Deputy Director of UTOPIA, the flagship Center of the Initiative. The presentation was followed by a tour of the Biobank Japan facility, which is affiliated with the supporting institution at UTokyo. The tour was led by Professors Matsuda and Morisaki. 

Visit by GLEAP: Students of Seoul National University's College of Natural Sciences 

Date and Time: 10 January 2024, 9:30 - 11:30 

Number of Participants: 9 students, accompanied by 1 supervising professor


Welcome Remarks  

Professor Jun-ichiro Inoue


Research at the UTOPIA Center: Under the Japan Initiative for World-leading Vaccine Research and Development Centers 

Professor Yoshihiro Kawaoka (via ZOOM)

Vaccine R & D in UTOPIA/Japan: for 100 Days Mission

Professor Ken Ishii

 Lab Tour 

Dr. Ryuta Uraki

 Presentations by Young Researchers 

Hide and Seek: The Herpes Simplex Virus's Strategy to Escape from the Human Immune System

Dr. Ayano Fukui

Virus Research from Cellular to Global Level

Professor Yuki Furuse

UTOPIA Seminar

Date/Time: Thursday, 18 January 2024   16:00 -   

Place: Auditorium, 1st building, The Institute of Medical Science, The University of Tokyo

Topic: Antibody responses to SARS-CoV-2 infection and vaccination

Speaker: Florian Krammer,  Department of Microbiology,  Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York, USA

It is thought that mRNA-based vaccine-induced immunity to severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) wanes quickly, based mostly on short-term studies. We analyzed the kinetics and durability of the humoral responses to SARS-CoV-2 infection and vaccination using >8,000 longitudinal samples collected over a three-year period in New York City. Upon primary immunization, participants with pre-existing immunity mounted higher antibody responses faster and achieved higher steady-state antibody titers than naïve individuals. Antibody kinetics were characterized by two phases: an initial rapid decay followed by a stabilization phase with very slow decay. Booster vaccination equalized the differences in antibody levels between participants with and without hybrid immunity, but the antibody titers reached decreased with each successive antigen exposure. Breakthrough infections increased antibodies to similar titers as an additional vaccine dose in naïve individuals. Our study provides strong evidence that SARS-CoV-2 antibody responses are long- lasting, with initial waning followed by stabilization. In addition, this talk will also focus on the breadth of the induced antibody responses beyond SARS-CoV-2, mucosal immune responses, the functionality of non-neutralizing antibodies and development of novel vectored SARS-CoV-2 vaccines.

Organizer: Yoshihiro Kawaoka

Kei Sato

 The Institute of Medical Science, The University of Tokyo 

Wendy Barclay 

Virology, Infectious Disease, Imperial College London 

@The 70th Annual Meeting of the Japanese Society for Virology

Innovation in vaccine development: Perspectives from global research leaders 

26 September 2023, Sendai

Ralph S Baric 

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill 

Yoshihiro Kawaoka

National Center for Global Health and Medicine
The University of Tokyo
University of Wisconsin-Madison 

Keiji Itaka

Center for Infectious Disease Education and Research (CiDER), Osaka University
Institute of Biomaterials and Bioengineering, Tokyo Medical and Dental University 

Science for delivering vaccine in 100 days

3 - 6 September 2023

Chair: Ken J. Ishii

First UTOPIA Symposium

10 - 11 June 2023, Nagano (+Web)

UTOPIA International Kick-off Meeting

29 - 30 March 2023, Web

UTOPIA Kick-off Meeting

5 - 6 November 2022, Tokyo