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


WPI Center : 5

The history of the institute

iCeMS selected by MEXT as a WPI Research Center

iCeMS founded

The first iCeMS Seminar held

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 history of the institute

The Center for iPS Cell Research and Application (CiRA) established as part of iCeMS (Founding Director: Prof Shinya Yamanaka)

Outreach activities

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 atmosphere.


The history of the institute

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


iCeMSWPI Centers : 6

Fruits of research

Prof Susumu Kitagawa listed as a Thomson Reuters Citation Laureate

The history of the institute

The iCeMS Satellite at the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research National Centre for Biological Sciences

Outreach activities

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!


The history of the institute

Project launched by Director Norio Nakatsuji et al. working towards the practical application of ES cells

Fruits of research

Sugiyama Lab developed a DNA self-assembly system, the "DNA origami" method.

International activities

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


WPI Centers : 9

International activities

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 the Karolinska Institute and others

The history of the institute

Prof Shinya Yamanaka awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine

Joint Symposium (Beijing)
Press conference upon Nobel Laureate announcement


The history of the institute

Prof Susumu Kitagawa appointed as new Director of iCeMS

International activities

“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 materials science and Le Centre national de la recherche scientifique (CNRS), France

Fruits of research

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 history of the institute

"The Chemistry of Life" online edX lecture opened by Prof Motonari Uesugi

International activities

Four WPI institutes in materials science participated in the European Materials Research Society (E-MRS) 2016 Spring Meeting (Lille, France)

Fruits of research

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.


International activities

Her Royal Highness Princess Maha ChakriSirindhorn of Thailand visited iCeMS

Fruits of research

Assoc Prof Tatsuya Murakami's group developed a light-induced method for controlling pain sensations in single neuronal cells.

Outreach activities

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.


International activities

Signing of the partnership agreement with Vidyasirimedhi Institute of Science and Technology (VISTEC), Thailand

The history of the institute

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!

The growth of the courtyard garden marks the swift passage of time.

Tree planted upon the inauguration of the NCBS-inStem Satellite. See how tall it has grown!