August 2, 2021

iCeMS Crossing – Newcomers and Reconnections

iCeMS members mingle in the lounge after the day's presentations

On July 21, iCeMS held its third retreat online. This time featuring new members and alumni guests, mixed in with the group introductions, Gather town mixer, and another new feature, “Research Highlights.” The event began with the introduction of 27 new members of ten different research groups, as well as one new addition to each the CD unit and the Analysis Center, all who have joined iCeMS since April. This included special introductions from three new faculty members, Masae Ohno (Taniguchi Group), Takumi Kawaue (Kengaku Group), and Hiroyasu Tabe (Horike Group).

The research highlights first presenters were Masahiro Maruoka and Panpan Zhang from the Susuki Group, who had their research published in Molecular Cell in March. They spoke about their research regarding the Xkr4 protein and its role in signaling a neural cell for removal. Their research necessitated the development of a new screening process which they call “revival screening.” During the research, Maruoka had to ask himself, “how does a protein which is usually in the cell nucleus interact with the cell membrane?”

The Taniguchi Group, an iCeMS newcomer from October 2020, focuses on developing new technologies to understand and manipulate intercellular functions, particularly the genome. Five of its members gave in depth introductions to their research and their personal hobbies. Yuichi Taniguchi said the group was, “a kind of crossing itself, with the goal of finding new concepts of life research by integrating recent technologies in diverse academic fields.”

As another first in the retreat series, Nobuhiro Morone and Azumi Yoshimura, two alumni who were with iCeMS until 2015, gave a detailed lecture about their work and life in the UK. Morone from the MRC Toxicology Unit, University of Cambridge, and Yoshimura from the Francis Crick Institute, both work at the forefront of electron microscopy (EM) research. “There has been a resolution revolution for the electron cryo-microscopy in the last decade,” said Morone, “and EM is spreading across the UK.” Yoshimura zoomed in on the current technology and gave a detailed picture of various biological applications.

Most of the group was able to make it over to Gather, where participants seemed a bit more comfortable with digital format and hopefully made some new connections. The next event is scheduled for August 19, and will feature another on-site laboratory, group introductions and research highlights.