Cornell signs research agreement with Japan's genome research institute

shaking hands
Teruo Ishige, left, president of the National Institute of Agrobiological Sciences, and William Fry, associate dean for research in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, signed a memorandum of understanding to foster research collaborations between the Japanese institution and Cornell.

Officials from the National Institute of Agrobiological Sciences (NIAS), Japan's largest agricultural research institute, signed a memorandum of understanding Oct. 10 to foster research collaborations with Cornell University.

Teruo Ishige, president of NIAS, and Kohichi Kadowaki, head of the institute's Molecular Biodiversity Laboratory in Tsukuba, Japan, came to Cornell to initiate a relationship that will lead to joint research projects and exchanges of graduate students, postdoctoral researchers and faculty members on sabbaticals. NIAS, a unit of the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, is known for its plant and animal genome research, its molecular and cell biology and its genetic resources division.

Ishige and William Fry, associate dean for research in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS) at Cornell, signed the agreement, which formalizes a loose partnership between Cornell and NIAS. During their visit, Ishige and Kadowaki also met with Susan McCouch, professor of plant breeding and genetics; David Stern, president of the Boyce Thompson Institute for Plant Research; Maureen Hanson, professor of molecular biology and genetics; and Kwangwon Lee, assistant professor of plant pathology.

"Cornell's impact overseas and nationally is great," said McCouch. "The Japanese researchers wanted to open this door so there could be programs financed to encourage collaborative research exchanges."

Cornell also will have opportunities to send its researchers to Japan. The NIAS was the leader of the international rice genome sequencing project, completed in 2004, and is now focusing on the development of new biotechnologies and bio-industries. Ishige and Kadowaki have signed similar agreements with Stanford University and the University of Minnesota.

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