iCeMS Photography Tour

iCeMS Main Building

The facilities of iCeMS embody the goal of the institute, which is an amalgamation of cell biology, chemistry and physics. Let's take a walk inside, starting from the main building of iCeMS, located right in front of the Kyodai Seimon-mae bus stop (at the main gate of Kyoto University).

1st floor Courtyard

The shrubbery at the center, planted to depict a cell, symbolizes iCeMS. The wisteria and cherry trees blossom in the spring.

1st floor Researchers room

There are no partitions separating the laboratories, which facilitates discussion and information exchange. Extensive use of glass in the building design creates an expansive feel.

2nd floor Exchange Lounge

iCeMS members can enjoy their lunches here, viewing the street lined with gingko trees. The lounge is used to hold meetings, concentrate on individual projects, or, sometimes, have a party.


Sliding shoji doors and sudare blinds add a tint of the traditional Japanese style.

2nd floor Seminar room

This room is used to hold symposiums and other events. It is equipped for communications with Kyoto University’s Uji Campus and a satellite office at Gifu University


You might hear the piano played by a staff member now and then.
The beautiful Daimonji bonfire is well seen from the second floor lounge.

2nd floor Shared laboratory / common equipment room

The institute encourages the shared use of equipment, an economical measure that helps create new ideas through casual conversations between neighboring groups. This is an example of efforts made by iCeMS to create a setting for cross-disciplinary amalgamation.

3rd floor Cell culture room

Researchers handle ES and iPS cells in the shoe-free incubation room. The incubator is maintained at 37°C to approximate the environment in the human body. Researchers conduct experiments in a biological safety cabinet, only putting their hands in the test cabinet.
Dr Ken-ichiro Kamei is observing iPS cells produced by Prof Shinya Yamanaka.

iCeMS Research Station

After a five-minute walk from Main Building, we have arrived at Research Building.

1st floor-2nd floor Researchers room

The stairs at the center of the room give an expansive feel and are intended to facilitate casual exchange of information between floors.

The meeting room

The meeting room is set up to allow you to have discussions whenever you want. The clear-glazed doors facilitate transparency.


One of iCeMS researchers' favorite places is between the research building and the project lab. They often have lunch at the western-style table and chairs placed here.
Researchers arrange and decorate their designated workspace to inspire their creativity.

2nd floor Project Lab

Terahertz radiation consists of electromagnetic waves with a frequency between radio waves and light (infrared) waves. The intensity of terahertz waves developed by Dr Hideki Hirori is the highest in the world. His laboratory betters its record each day and accepts tour applicants from across the globe. Advances in terahertz wave generation technology are expected to lead to the discovery of new phenomena that will enable faster and more energyefficient computers. Moreover, novel products can make use of the new phenomena, and this technology can assist technical innovation in security systems to, for instance, detect hazardous substances and illegal drugs at airports. Hideki is also meeting the unprecedented challenge of finding out what will happen when cells meet this range of electromagnetic radiation.
The rows of magnifying glass-like tools create a device that generates terahertz waves.

3rd floor Biochemical system laboratory

To understand how our body works, we manipulate and analyze genes and proteins. For instance, “custom-made” genes are created by cutting and pasting DNA, and proteins extracted from a cell are analyzed biochemically. A micropipette, which is used to suck up and dispense very small amount of liquid, is our favorite lab equipment.

4th floor Chemistry lab

Dr Shuhei Furukawa pursues gas handling technology with chemistry of nanoporous materials. When vaporized, one milliliter of liquid expands to a thousand times its volume, greater than one liter. A safe gas compression and storage technology in nanopores can improve fuel tanks of natural gas-fueled vehicles and help capturing CO2 from the air. Among other technologies, Shuhei is currently working on controlling the release of encapsulated chemicals by a signal from outside.

This apparatus is commonly known as a “glove box.” The user places their arms into the box via the black gloves to work while ensuring that the interior is isolated from the surrounding air. The box is filled with nitrogen or another inert gas.
This apparatus, popular in the laboratory, is commonly called a “microwave oven.” It operates on the same principles as marketavailable ones. In several minutes it heats liquids, which via other heat sources would take hours. Different from common microwave ovens, it is built to be explosion-proof, which means it is robust enough to prevent the container from scattering away in postulated explosions.


The official language used in iCeMS is English. Foreign researchers account for about 30% of all researchers working at the institute.

※Cooperation: Kyoto Tsushinsha Press