Congratulatory Address from Dr. Toshio Kuroki
(Program Director of WPI Program)

On the behalf of JSPS and as a program director of WPI program, I would like to express our sincere congratulations for a new building of IFReC, by which now, Osaka University becomes a Mecca of immunology.

IFReC was launched in October 2007, 3 years and 10 months ago, as one of 5 WPI research centers. Within such a short period, IFReC established a solid position as a world leading institute of immunology, which is amazing and to which I deeply respect. Although I was not in a position to select them, I am convinced that this was a quite reasonable and natural, because immunology is a tradition of Osaka University since Professor Yamamura and Professor Kishimoto and Professor Akira, the center director, is a successor of these two great names.

WPI program is unique among many government programs in that it will support for ten years with a large amount of money (13.5 oku yen a year) and that it aims four ambitious goals. These are; 1. Top quality of science. 2. Fusion of studies in order to create breakthrough in existing disciplines 3. Internationalization and 4. Reform of present systems of universities and science. Among these four goals, fusion of disciplines is easy to say but not so in implementation. IFReC is approaching this hard goal by fusion of immunology with molecular imaging and bio-informatics. I much expect that his approach, called "3-i" will create a new immunology in near future. For fusion study, it is very important to gather researchers with a variety of background and communicate freely under one roof. In this sense, I am quite convinced that this new building connecting with the Biken will facilitate creation of new immunology.

I visited IFReC several times in this 4 years and learned a lot about highlight of immunology and very much impressed outstanding works of Professor Akira and his colleagues. I was also impressed by the support of Osaka University to IFReC and appreciate President Washida for his continuous support. I take this opportunity to express my congratulations to Professor Toshio Hirano, present PI of IFReC, who will be successor of President Washida.

Once again, as program director of WPI program, I am very pleased to note that IFReC is a role model of WPI research center by satisfying all the above criteria. I am quite convinced that IFReC will continue for the next five years or more as a WPI center as a world center of immunology.