November 25, 2021

iCeMS Crossing Seven – Designing organic molecules, Smart genetic switches, and iDM

On November 19, iCeMS held its seventh online retreat of the year, welcoming new members, introducing two research groups, and showing off iCeMS newest On-site Laboratory.

This week, Prof Aiko Fukazawa, one of the retreat series' two hosts, was able to introduce her own research group. The group, which has been a part of iCeMS since 2018, focuses on the design of novel molecules which can serve as the building blocks for organic photo- and electro-functional materials. The group produced two videos, one introducing the members as they assembled molecules, the second showing a typical day of an undergrad researcher working in the lab.

The Namasivayam Group, which focuses on the creation of “Smart genetic switches” which can be used to turn on and off epigenetic factors of therapeutic importance, was next to present. The group’s five current members were joined by two overseas researchers who are soon to join the team in their video introduction to their specialties and interests.

Group introductions were followed up with a segment of iCeMS—the Other Half. This time we met Yoshiharu Tsuzaki, Information Technology Strategist at iCeMS. Tsuzaki oversees the information environment – managing security and setting up networks. He also spoke of his love of cycling and encouraged iCeMS members to contact him in English or Japanese with any computer or cycling related inquiries.

Dr Daniel Packwood gave an enthusiastic introduction to iCeMS newest On-site Laboratory, the Center for Integrated Data-Material Sciences (iDM), a collaboration with the MacDiarmid Institute of New Zealand. Packwood and Fukazawa have worked together to lead the project which will be based at the University of Wellington. Packwood, a New Zealand native, light-heartedly introduced the country before explaining about the MacDiarmid Institute and the new center. He highlighted the common interests and complementary strengths of researchers at both institutes.

The event again closed with a quiz and networking session, after announcing the winners of last month’s quiz. The top two teams came from in-person groups which may hint at the limits of connecting online. For December, there is something special being planned which aims to bring more people together.