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Ten Years of iCeMS

Founded in 2007, iCeMS marks its 10th anniversary in 2017.
How have the seeds planted upon iCeMS' inception grown in the past ten years?
Let's trace the footprints of iCeMS

  • The history of the institute
  • Fruits of research
  • International activities
  • Outreach activities
  • Glossaries


iCeMS WPI Center : 5
  • iCeMS selected by MEXT as a WPI Research Center
  • iCeMS founded
  • The first iCeMS Seminar held
設立拠点長 中辻憲夫教授Prof Norio Nakatsuji,
Founding Director

The World Premier International (WPI) Research Center Initiative

A project launched in 2007 by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) to establish "globally visible" institutes with superb research environments and high quality results. Five institutes including iCeMS were selected as WPI Centers in 2007.


  • The Center for iPS Cell Research CiRA established and Application (CiRA) established as part of iCeMS (Founding Director: Prof Shinya Yamanaka)
  • The Science Communication Group (SCG) formed
  • The first iCeMS Café held

Science Communication Group

Works as a bridge between researchers and the public. Attracted much attention with its "Hands on with Stem Cells!" sugoroku (Japanese board game) released in 2015.

iCeMS Café

An opportunity for casual dialogue about science between iCeMS researchers and the public in a relaxed atmonphere.


  • iCeMS Main Building completed
  • iCeMS Satellite at Gifu University established
  • The first iCeMS retreat (researcher's camp) held
iCeMS Main Building
Piano in the iCeMS Lounge, a gift from the founding director
iCeMS Satellite at Gifu University
The first iCeMS Retreat


iCeMS WPI Centers : 6
  • Prof Susumu Kitagawa listed as aThomson Reuters Citation Laureate
  • The iCeMS Satellite at the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research National Centre for Biological Sciences
  • The 10th iCeMS Café held

Thomson Reuters Citation Laureate

Thomson Reuters annually honors the authors of excellent papers cited with extreme frequency by other researchers. This serves as a clue to predicting Nobel Prize nominees!


  • Project launched by Director Norio Nakatsuji et al. to achieve the practical use of ES cells
  • Sugiyama Lab developed a DNA selfassembly system, the"DNA origami" method.
  • Joint Symposium with Heidelberg University held in Heidelberg, Germany

DNA origami

DNA origami is the nanoscale folding of DNA strands to create two- or three-dimensional structures. The specificity of the interactions between complementary base pairs makes DNA a useful construction material.

Joint Symposium with Heidelberg University


iCeMS WPI Centers : 9
  • Joint Symposium with the Center for Life Sciences (CLS) at Tsinghua and Peking Universities held in Beijing, China
  • Co-hosted the World Stem Cell Summit 2013 (Florida, USA) with Karolinska Institute and others
  • Prof Shinya Yamanaka awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine
Joint Symposium (Beijing)
Press conference upon Nobel Laureate announcement


  • Prof Susumu Kitagawa appointed as new Director of iCeMS
  • “Biomaterials Science” journal, co-published with the Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC), launched
  • The 10th Japan-France Workshop on Nanomaterials and the first WPI Workshop on Materials Science (Kyoto) co-hosted by four WPI Centers in material science and Le Centre national de la recherche scientifique (CNRS), France
  • Porous materials that release gas molecules in response to light irradiation developed by the research group led by Assoc Prof Shuhei Furukawa, Asst. Prof Stéphane Diring and Director Susumu Kitagawa
Prof Susumu Kitagawa, Director
Biomaterials Science

Porous materials

The developed porous coordination polymers (PCPs) were assembled using metal ions and organic links, which possess framework structures with one nanometer porosity. Nitric oxide trapped in pores can be released on-demand by light irradiation.


  • "The Chemistry of Life" online edX lecture opened by Prof Motonari Uesugi
  • Four WPI institutes in material science participated in the European Materials Research Society (E-MRS) 2016 Spring Meeting (Lille, France)
  • Assoc Prof Easan Sivaniah’s group developed superior gas separation membrane materials.

edX Lectures

Free online courses from more than 20 world-leading universities, including MIT and Harvard. iCeMS was the first Japanese institute to join this project. Around 26,000 students have taken Prof Uesugi's lecture.

gas separation membrane materials

Gas separation membranes are a technology proposed to separate carbon dioxide from exhaust gases. The team has successfully developed membrane materials which exhibit superior properties and greater durability at a lower cost than conventional membranes.


  • Her Royal Highness Princess Maha ChakriSirindhorn of Thailand visited iCeMS
  • Assoc Prof Tatsuya Murakami's group developed a lightinduced method for controlling pain sensations in single neuronal cells.
  • First Learning Lounge held
  • Workshops linked to the "Think Like a Crow!" TV program on NHK Educational
  • "Our World, Your Future" newsletter launched
Princess Sirindhorn visiting iCeMS
The first Learning Lounge
"Think Like a Crow!" linked workshop
Our World, Your Future

method for controlling pain sensations in single neuronal cells.

When illuminated by near-infrared light, rodshaped gold nanomaterials are capable of highly efficient heat generation. Engineering the surface of these nanomaterials with serum proteins effectively and safely delivers them to the plasma membrane of sensory neurons. Upon illumination of the gold-nanomaterial-bound cells, TRPV1, the primal heat-sensitive nociceptor in our body, can be locally heated to induce a pain signaling. This is the first demonstration of remote control of TRPV1 in intact neuronal cells.


  • Signing of the partnership agreement with Vidyasirimedhi Institute of Science and Technology (VISTEC), Thailand
  • 200th iCeMS Seminar Special lecture by Prof Jean-Marie Lehn, a Nobel Laureate in Chemistry
Signing ceremony for partnership agreement with VISTEC
Lecture by Prof Jean-Marie Lehn

...and more!

Cooperation: Kyoto Tsushinsha Press