Niigata University is offering the pupils, from the 5th grade of elementary school to junior high, in and around Niigata "the Junior Doctor Training School", a STEM education program selected by Japan Science and Technology Agency. Faculty of Science takes the lead in coordinating the program which aims at nurturing the budding scientists who have strong interests. The program is designed to help develop global approach to issues such as biological diversity, and to appreciate a nature-human relationship to live in good harmony with nature. Niigata University, as a pillar of the program, works with its allied universities (Fukushima University, Niigata University of Pharmacy and Applied Life Sciences, and Niigata Institute of Technology), a museum, a botanical garden and a private company in Niigata to provide a region-specific education program.
BRI hosted a one-day hands-on science experience class on August 25, 2019 as the 4th session of the master's program.
41 participants first gave their ears to a welcome speech by BRI director Prof Hiroyuki Nawa (Dept of Molecular Neurobiology) and his lecture "What brain sees and hears is distorted", followed by a lecture by Prof Yukihiko Fujii (Dept of Neurosurgery), "We are the scientists fighting against brain disorders." Then, the participants were split into 4 groups for hands-on activities at BRI labs: using a microscope to see brains (Prof Akiyoshi Kakita, Dept of Pathology); studying how the brain and body of a mouse works (Prof Toshikuni Sasaoka, Dept of Comparative & Experimental Medicine); learning about the mechanism of human disease by studying killifish (Assoc Prof Hideaki Matsui, Dept of Neuroscience of Disease); and dealing with modifying the brain function of insects (Assist Prof Atsushi Sugie, Dept of Neuroscience of Disease).
Participants showed their own enthusiasm, giving voice of fun and excitement. We hope the program inspires interest in neuroscience and develop career interests.
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