Institutes for Advanced Study, The University of Tokyo

The UTOPIA Center

The University of TOkyo Pandemic Preparedness, Infection and Advanced Research Center

  

Breaking through the barriers of their respective fields, the world's top researchers have united to fight infectious diseases and develop life-saving vaccines. 

Save the World!

At the end of 2019, a novel coronavirus emerged and caused an unprecedented pandemic that brought about immeasurable damage globally. While Western countries swiftly developed and introduced vaccines within the remarkable timeframe of one year from pathogen identification, it took more than three and half years for a Japanese-made vaccine to be authorized for use. 

In response to this situation, the "Japan Initiative for World-leading Vaccine Research and Development Centers" was launched under the guidance of AMED SCARDA*, and at its forefront, the University of TOkyo Pandemic Preparedness, Infection, and Advanced Research Center (UTOPIA) has been chosen as the flagship institution.

UTOPIA serves as a dynamic hub where top researchers from various fields at the University of Tokyo come together. With a focus on vaccine development, we are committed to conquering infectious diseases through interdisciplinary research. While UTOPIA is rooted in the University of Tokyo, our collaborations extend beyond national borders, actively engaging international partners.

The COVID-19 pandemic revealed that Japan has fallen behind in both vaccine development and infectious disease research, with a major contributing factor being a shortage of talent. By nurturing young researchers at the University of Tokyo, UTOPIA aims to become a world-class research organization that leads cutting-edge research on infectious diseases and vaccines. Our shared mission is to save the world from infectious diseases!

Yoshihiro Kawaoka
Director
The University of TOkyo Pandemic Preparedness, Infection, and Advanced Research Center (UTOPIA)


*AMED: Japan Agency for Medical Research and Development 

SCARDA: Strategic Center of Biomedical Advanced Vaccine Research and Development for Preparedness    and Response 

News

 Article 


Pathogenicity and transmissibility of bovine H5N1 influenza virus

Eisfeld AJ, Biswas A, Guan L,  Gu C, Maemura T, Trifkovic S, Wang T, Babujee L, Dahn R, Halfmann PJ, Barnhardt T, Neumann G, Suzuki Y, Thompson A, Swinford AK, Dimitrov KM, Poulsen K, Kawaoka Y. 

Nature


News Release
Raw milk is risky, but airborne transmission of H5N1 from cow's milk is inefficient in mammals

Jully 2024

 Related Conference 



The ISV Annual Congress will be held in Seoul, for which Prof. Ken Ishii will serve as one of the Congress Chairs. 

International Society for Vaccines (ISV) Annual Congress
21-23 October 2024 | Seoul, South Korea

 Related Conference 


Computational Vaccinology Symposium
18 October 2024 | Meguro, Tokyo

 Related Conference 



18th Vaccine Congress
8-11 September 2024 | Lisbon, Portugal

 Event 

The Second UTOPIA Symposium was held from June 19 to 20 in Fuchu.

Click here for photos and details about Flash Talk Awards and Poster Awards.

 Event 


UTOPIA Seminar

Topic: Combatting tuberculosis and publishing in medical journals 

Speaker: ERIC J. RUBIN, MD, PHD
Editor-in-Chief, The New England Journal of Medicine, NEJM Group

Date/Time:  Friday, 12 July 2024, 16:00 – 17:00 (JST)

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

Link to Event page

June 2024 

 Event 


Innate lymphoid cells: development, differentiation, dynamics

Professor James Di Santo, MD, PhD
Institut Pasteur 

AM 10:00 - 11:30, Friday, 21 June 2024

Auditorium, Institute of Medical Science, The University of Tokyo

More information

 Article 


Cow’s Milk Containing Avian Influenza A(H5N1) Virus — Heat Inactivation and Infectivity in Mice

Guan L, Eisfeld AJ, Pattinson D, Gu C, Biswas A, Maemura T, Trifkovic S, Babujee L, Presler R Jr, Dahn R, Halfmann PJ, Barnhardt T, Neumann G, Thompson A, Swinford AK, Dimitrov KM, Poulsen K, Kawaoka Y. 

New England Journal of Medicine

May 2024

 Article 


Memory CD8 T cells are vulnerable to chronic IFN-γ signals but not to CD4 T cell deficiency in MHCII-deficient mice

Setoguchi R, Sengiku T, Kono H, Kawakami E, Kubo M, Yamamoto T, Hori S

Nature Communications

May 2024

 Video 


UTOPIA 43 Interviews | Vol.  23
Why a Pediatrician Became a Virus Researcher

Professor Makoto Takeda
Department of Microbiology, Graduate School of Medicine, The University of Tokyo

 Available on YouTube

May 2024

 Video 


Professor Takao Someya
Department of Electrical Engineering and Information Systems, Graduate School of Engineering, The University of Tokyo

 Available on YouTube

May 2024 

 Video 


UTOPIA 43 Interviews | Vol.  21
Viral Therapy for Cancers 

Professor Tomoki Todo
Hospital Director, The Institute of Medical Science, The University of Tokyo

 Available on YouTube

April 2024 

 Video 


UTOPIA 43 Interviews | Vol.  20
Ribosomes: The Key to Life 

Professor Toshifumi Inada
Division of RNA and Gene Regulation
The Institute of Medical Science, The University of Tokyo

 Available on YouTube

April 2024 

 Event 


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

More info


18 March 2024

 Video 


Takeshi Ichinohe, Associate Professor
Division of Viral Infection, Department of Infectious Disease Control, International Research Center for Infectious Diseases, The Institute of Medical Science, The University of Tokyo

 Available on YouTube

March 2024 

 Video 


Takashi Okada, Professor  
Director, Center for Gene and Cell Therapy, The Institute of Medical Science, The University of Tokyo

 Available on YouTube

March 2024 

 Article 


TIFAB regulates the TIFA-TRAF6 signaling pathway involved in innate immunity by forming a heterodimer complex with TIFA 

Nakamura T, Ohyama C,  Sakamoto M, Toma T, Tateishi H, Matsuo M, Chirifu M, Ikemizu S, Morioka H, Fujita M, Inoue J, Yamagata Y

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America

March 2024  

 Video 


UTOPIA 43 Interviews | Vol.  17
Malaria Research Beyond Borders: Protecting People around the Globe 

Cevayir Coban, Professor
Division of Malaria Immunology, The Institute of Medical Science, The University of Tokyo 

 Available on YouTube

February 2024 

 Article 


Age-associated CD4+ T cells with B cell-promoting functions are regulated by ZEB2 in autoimmunity

Goto M, Takahashi H, Yoshida R, Itamiya T, Nakano M, Nagafuchi Y, Harada H, Shimizu T, Maeda M, Kubota A, Toda T, Hatano H, Sugimori Y, Kawahata K, Yamamoto K, Shoda H, Ishigaki K, Ota M, Okamura T, Fujio K. 

Science Immunology

February 2024 

 Video 


Journalist Meets Scientist - Protect People from Infectious Diseases  (UTOPIA Special Interview)

Takako Zenba, the host of TBS's 'Houdou Tokushu' , meets Professor Yoshihiro Kawaoka, a virologist and the Director of The UTOPIA Center

February 2024

 News 



PLATINUM STREET TIMES  Vol. 7 

The dialogue between Takako Zenba and Professor Yoshihiro Kawaoka, Director of UTOPIA,  has been featured in the magazine "PLATINUM STREET TIMES  Vol. 7 (December 2023)," published by the Institute of Medical Science,  the University of Tokyo (in Japanese). Please refer to pages 8-9.  

The dialogue can also be watched on YouTube.

February 2024

 Event 


The First Joint Symposium of AMED SCARDA Japan Initiative for World-leading Vaccine Research and Development Centers was held from January 31st to February 2nd in Kyoto. 

More info

February 2024 

 Video 


UTOPIA 43 Interviews | Vol.  16
Nurturing Research Discoveries into Real-world Applications to Save Lives

Fumitaka Nagamura, Professor  
Center for Translational Research/Division of Advanced Medicine Promotion, The Advanced Clinical Center, The Institute of Medical Science, The University of Tokyo 

 Available on YouTube

January 2024 

 Event 


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

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

January 2024 

 Event 


UTOPIA Seminar

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

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

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

Link to Event page

January 2024

 News 

https://www.nobelprize.org/

© The Nobel Assembly at Karolinska Institu 

Professors Katalin Karikó and Drew Weissman have been awarded the 2023 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for their significant contributions to the development of mRNA vaccines. 


 More information  

UTOPIA 43 Interviews

Takao Someya,  Professor
Department of Electrical Engineering and Information Systems, Graduate School of Engineering, The University of Tokyo

May 2024 

UTOPIA 43 Interviews | Vol.  23
Why a Pediatrician Became a Virus Researcher

Makoto Takeda, Professor
Department of Microbiology, Graduate School of Medicine, The University of Tokyo

May 2024

Takashi Okada, Professor
Director, Center for Gene and Cell Therapy, The Institute of Medical Science, The University of Tokyo

March 2024 

Toshifumi Inada, Professor
Division of RNA and Gene Regulation
The Institute of Medical Science, The University of Tokyo

April 2024 

UTOPIA 43 Interviews | Vol.  21
Viral Therapy for Cancers 

Tomoki Todo, Professor
Hospital Director, The Institute of Medical Science, The University of Tokyo

April 2024 

Fumitaka Nagamura, Professor  
Center for Translational Research/Division of Advanced Medicine Promotion, The Advanced Clinical Center, The Institute of Medical Science, The University of Tokyo 

January 2024 

Cevayir Coban, Professor
Division of Malaria Immunology, The Institute of Medical Science, The University of Tokyo 

February 2024 

Takeshi Ichinohe, Associate Professor
Division of Viral Infection, Department of Infectious Disease Control, International Research Center for Infectious Diseases, The Institute of Medical Science, The University of Tokyo

March 2024 

UTOPIA 43 Interviews | Vol.  13
Pioneer in Aging Research Talks

Makoto Nakanish, Professor
Dean, Institute of Medical Science
Division of Cancer Cell Biology, The University of Tokyo

 Available on YouTube

December 2023 

UTOPIA 43 Interviews | Vol.  14
Research is Fun!
CRISPR-Cas3 Pioneer Talks Fascinating Realm of Genome Editing 

Tomoji Mashimo, Professor
Division of Animal Genetics/Division of Genome Engineering
Director of Laboratory Animal Research Center
The Institute of Medical Science, The University of Tokyo

 Available on YouTube

December 2023 

UTOPIA 43 Interviews | Vol.  15
Science: A Pleasurable and  Rewarding Journey

James Di Santo, Professor
Institut Pasteur, France
Visiting Professor, UTOPIA
with Dr. Tomoya Hayashi

 Available on YouTube

December 2023 

UTOPIA 43 Interviews | Vol.  10
Changing Healthcare with Sociology

Kaori Muto, Professor
Public Policy, Institute of Medical Science, The University of Tokyo

Available on YouTube

November 2023

UTOPIA 43 Interviews | Vol.  11
Artificial Intelligence × Virus Variants: Predicting the Future with AI


Yutaka Matsuo, Professor
Graduate School of Engineering, The University of Tokyo
Available on YouTube

October 2023

UTOPIA 43 Interviews | Vol.  12
United Against Infection: Save the World and Inspire Generations

Hiroshi Yotsuyanagi, Professor
Division of Infectious Diseases, Advanced Clinical Research Center, The Institute of Medical Science, The University of Tokyo 

Available on YouTube

November 2023

UTOPIA 43 Interviews | Vol.  7
Bones, Immunity, Rheumatoid Arthritis, and COVID-19

Hiroshi Takayanagi, Professor
Dept of Immunology, Grad School of Medicine, The University of Tokyo

Available on YouTube

August 2023

UTOPIA 43 Interviews | Vol.  8
Designing Proteins for Human Welfare
 
Kouhei Tsumoto, Professor
Department of Bioengineering, School of Engineering, The University of Tokyo

Available on YouTube

August 2023

UTOPIA 43 Interviews | Vol.  9
Rock & Science -Specialist in Signal Transduction and Guitarist in 'Ojisan(?)' Band

Jun-ichiro Inoue, Project Professor
Managing Director, The University of TOkyo Pandemic preparedness, Infection and Advanced research center (UTOPIA)
Professor Emeritus, The University of Tokyo 

Available on YouTube

September 2023

UTOPIA 43 Interviews | Vol.  4
Embracing the Joy and Sorrow of Patients
 
Sakae Tanaka, Professor
Director of the University of Tokyo Hospital


June 2023

UTOPIA 43 Interviews | Vol.  5
Deciphering Life's 3D Secrets: Unveiling Molecular Structures for Life-Saving Breakthroughs

Osamu Nureki, Professor
Department of Biological Sciences, Graduate School of Science, The University of Tokyo

Available on YouTube

July 2023

UTOPIA 43 Interviews | Vol.  6
Protect People from Pandemics!

Kei Sato, Professor
Systems Virology, Institute of Medical Science, The University of Tokyo

Available on YouTube

July 2023

UTOPIA 43 Interviews |  Vol. 1
Discovering true freedome through research

Ken Ishii,  Professor
Division of Vaccine Science,  the Institute of Medical Sciences, The University Tokyo

June 2023

UTOPIA 43 Interviews |  Vol. 2
I believe there is a ray of hope beyond countless failures.

Yasushi Kawaguchi,  Professor
Division of Molecular Virology,  the Institute of Medical Sciences, The University Tokyo

June 2023

UTOPIA 43 Interviews | Vol. 3
"Mutual benefits" and "Altruism" are the key to overcoming challenges

Masahiko Kikuchi, Project Professor
The UTOPIA Center, The University of Tokyo

June 2023

Professor Kawaoka, director, introduces UTOPIA on YouTube

In Japanese with English subtitle

Subscribe to our channel on YouTube.


May 2023