October in the ARMI calendar has become synonymous with the Monash University – Osaka University Joint Symposium on Advanced Biomedical Sciences. Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic had once again interfered with this year’s meeting, preventing it from taking place in person. Despite that, researchers enthusiastically jumped online to discuss their work, exchange ideas and strengthen partnerships for the third iteration of this symposium series.
“Once again, it was a pleasure to catch up with our Japanese peers, even though it was online,” said Silvio Tiziani, ARMI’s Director of External Strategy and Planning. “We saw old friends updating us on shared projects established three years ago while also welcoming scientists from both Monash University and Osaka University to talk about new projects they’ve been working on.”
The symposium opened with Mr Junji Shimada’s (Consul General of Japan in Melbourne) and Mr Trevor Holloway (Consul General of Australia in Osaka). Each remarked on the deep ties between the sister cities of Melbourne and Osaka and how this symposium epitomises how international collaboration can catalyse the discovery, innovation, and the production of new knowledge towards creating an impact in the lives of ordinary people citizens.
The cornerstone of this partnership are projects investigating a range of topics, from heart regeneration, ocular regeneration to single-cell RNA sequencing of skin cells, being conducted collaboratively between Monash University and Osaka University researchers. First, the conference heard from the scientists from these projects, discussing the progress of these collaborations and their research plans for the immediate future. Following that, attendees heard about new projects covering a broad spectrum of the biomedical sciences, from RNA editing to brain-AI interfaces. From ARMI, group leaders Gonzalo del Monte-Nieto, Mikaël Martino, Jennifer Zenker and Alberto Roselló-Díez presented their work.
“The real special treat was the symposium’s keynote from Scott O’Neill from Monash University’s World Mosquito Program,” commented Silvio. “While Scott outlined the latest thinking in the prevention of the transmission of mosquito-borne viral diseases, his presentation reinforced the notion of working together as an international community to solve global health issues. It was inspiring and energising.”
As always, the symposium’s program closed with a panel discussion. This year’s panel featured Genta Kawahara, Abid Khan, Atsushi Kumanogoh, Peter Currie, Akira Myoui, Silvio Tiziani and Mikaël Martino, who discussed mechanisms for developing deeper collaborative ties between the two universities.
Despite the challenges, 2021 proved to be another successful year for the Monash University – Osaka University Joint Symposium on Advanced Biomedical Sciences. Thank you to the symposium organisers, and we hope that next year’s meeting to be hosted by ARMI will take place in person in Melbourne!