RIKEN Center for Developmental Biology (CDB)
2-2-3 Minatojima minamimachi, Chuo-ku, Kobe 650-0047, Japan

School’s open for the summer
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August 7, 2006 – The RIKEN Center for Developmental Biology (CDB) played host to a number of budding scientists August 2 and 3, with a group of high school students taking part in a summer school organized by the Center. The group of 10 students came from Kokura High School in southern Japan, officially designated by Japan’s Ministry of Education, Culture, Science and Technology as a “Super Science High School,” which prioritizes teaching on science, technology, and mathematics. The students enjoyed a varied program over the two days, taking in a tour of the Center and its facilities and visits to working laboratories, before finally trying their hand at actual lab work and experiments in the Center’s mock laboratory. The program provided the students with an opportunity to find out more about the latest research and technology taking place in the field of development and regeneration.

Experiments performed by the students allowed them to observe a range of cellular structures through antibody staining of DNA, Golgi apparatus, and tubulin and actin that make up the cellular cytoskeleton. This involved using the same protocols and tools employed in actual working laboratories in the CDB, and this was certainly one of the pluses for the students. Saki Urano, one of the students on the course, commented that “It was great to actually use equipment and reagents that high-school students normally don’t have access to; at the same time I was worried about whether the experiment would turn out well. Fortunately, the experiment was successful and it was really exciting to see the cells that I’d stained under the microscope – I never got tired of looking at the images!”

The students also had time to visit the neighboring Institute for Biomedical Research and Innovation to learn about the Kobe Medical Industry Development Project and recent efforts in promoting cooperation between basic research, regenerative medicine, and the bio-tech industry.

The summer school is just one of many outreach programs that the CDB carries out in attempting to enhance the awareness and understanding of the Center’s research among the general public. These include an annual Open House and exhibitions at local science museums, in addition to maintaining a permanent onsite exhibition gallery and mock laboratory.

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