30th Anniversary Mizutani Foundation for Glycoscience

30th Anniversary Mizutani Foundation for Glycoscience | MESSAGE

30th Anniversary Mizutani Foundation for Glycoscience


Tamao Endo

Board of Directors
Chairperson, Selection Committee

Senior Fellow, Tokyo Metropolitan Geriatric Hospital and Institute of Gerontology

Message for the 30th Anniversary
of the Mizutani Foundation for Glycoscience

On the occasion of the 30th anniversary of the Mizutani Foundation for Glycoscience, I would like to extend my sincere congratulations to Mr. Ken Mizutani, chairperson of the Board of Directors, and all other members and staff supporting its activities.

The aim of the Mizutani Foundation for Glycoscience is to contribute to the welfare of mankind through, among others, the promotion of glycoscience by providing research grants for original basic research projects by glycoscientists in Japan and overseas, and extending support to international exchanges among researchers as well as assistance for the organization of glycoscience-related conferences. As one involved in glycoscience research, I would like to take this opportunity to express my gratitude for the great amount of support we have received to date from the Foundation.

The most momentous event that has taken place during the five years since the Foundation's previous 25th anniversary (2017) is undoubtedly the outbreak of pandemic caused by new coronavirus (COVID-19) infection. Our lives were greatly affected by the coronavirus disaster: people were advised to refrain from unnecessary and nonurgent outings or eating out, and were encouraged to keep physical distancing, and to avoid closed spaces, crowded places and close-contact settings. For example, the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics, both originally scheduled for the summer in 2020, were postponed for a year; school events such as graduation/entrance ceremonies and sports days, etc. were cancelled; and classes were held online instead of face-to-face classroom teaching. Research-related activities were also severely restricted, with experiments limited and conferences and symposia in Japan and overseas cancelled, postponed or held online. The Foundation's Selection Committee meetings have also been conducted online during the last two years. It was felt as if the ordinary has become the extraordinary and, in turn, the extraordinary has become the ordinary.

As compared to the Spanish flu of about 100 years ago, the pace of spread of the new coronavirus disease was overwhelmingly rapid around the globe 'in the blink of an eye'. This speedy expansion was obviously due to the factors such as the increase in global population and changes in the patterns of population movement. However, basic infection control measures remained almost the same as during the Spanish flu epidemic period, with basic preventive measures consisting of the use of masks, hand sanitization, and isolation of infected patients. At the same time, scientific advances during this period have made it possible to identify the causative virus, detect mutant strains and diagnose by means of PCR and genome sequencing. In addition, the development of mRNA vaccines, a new method for inducing immunity, and the development of antibody drugs and oral medicines have helped to considerably control the viral infection situation and the disease state of infected individuals. Needless to say, the results of basic research in biochemistry, molecular biology, virology, and immunology have made a significant contribution to these developments.

Nowadays, IT (Information Technology), AI (Artificial Intelligence), social networking and other factors are significantly changing our daily lifestyles. In the field of science and technology, The 6th Science, Technology, and Innovation Basic Plan addresses the promotion of open science and data-driven research as an approach for building a new research system in Japan. In the domain of life sciences, several projects under the name of Bio-DX (Digital Transformation) have been launched, and the direction of utilization of the data accumulated in public databases has been made distinct. Although the construction of databases on complex carbohydrates is still in an unfledged stage due to their complexity, it is hoped that new research on complex carbohydrates will unfold through the utilization of these databases after they have been developed. In a related development, the Human Glycome Project, led by Dr. Kenji Kadomatsu of Nagoya University, has been adopted as a roadmap project by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology. The results obtained from this project, which will form the basis for glycoscience research, are expected to lead to a better understanding of life and disease, new developments in life sciences, and applications in medical treatment.

I had the opportunity to read anew on the Foundation's website the welcome addresses delivered by the founder, Mr. Masakane Mizutani, and Mr. Ken Mizutani. The keyword emphasized in the two addresses was "basic research". I believe that, amid the rage of COVID-19 infections this time, the Japanese people has widely achieved enlightenment about the fact that the results of sophisticated basic research have been actually used in our daily lives. In addition, it is well known that many kinds of medicines have been created from basic research on complex carbohydrates, such as the anticoagulant heparin, special effects for influenza infection and functional modulation of antibody medicines. I am convinced that the further promotion of basic research, including glycoscience, will accelerate the emergence of new mutant strains and responses to new and re-emerging infectious diseases, as well as the development of new drugs and treatments for diseases for which no curing methods exist yet.

We hope you will enjoy the lectures by distinguished researchers, scheduled for this commemorative event. Finally, I would like to express my heartfelt appreciation for the support given by the Mizutani Foundation for the promotion of glycoscience research in our country and around the world, and wish for the Foundation's continued and ever growing prosperity in the years ahead.



Messages for the 30th Anniversary

Greetings  Ken Mizutani (Chairperson, the Board of Directors)

Message  Kunihiko Suzuki (Board of Directors)

Message  Tamao Endo (Board of Directors, Chairperson, Selection Committee)

30th Anniversary Commemorative Symposium


Special Lecture  Christina M. Woo

Invited Lecture  Yoshihiro Kawaoka

Special Lecture  Yasuhiro Kajihara

Invited Lecture  Kenji Kadomatsu

Mizutani Grant for Glycoscience Research

Application guidelines for research grant


Grant awardees and titles (2018-2022)

List of Awardees (1993-2022)

Research Reports - Results and Perspectives -

Selected abstracts of the research grant projects (2017-2021)

Support for Glycoscience Meetings

Application guidelines

List of the International Exchanges and Glycoscience Meetings

Outline of Mizutani Foundation for Glycoscience

Outline of the Foundation

Board members

Past board members

Aim of the Foundation