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December 08, 2021

Professor Jun Takahashi elected next CiRA director

CiRA is pleased to announce that Professor Jun Takahashi, currently its chief deputy director, has been elected the next director of CiRA by its Faculty Council.

The term of the current CiRA director, Professor Shinya Yamanaka, will end on March 31, 2022. In accordance with internal CiRA rules for the selection of candidates for the director post, a vote was held at the CiRA Faculty Council meeting on December 2 this year. Professor Takahashi was elected as the next director with the majority of votes. His term as director is from April 1, 2022, to March 31, 2024.

Professor Yamanaka has served as the only CiRA director since its establishment in 2010, covering six terms, or 12 years. After his term ends, he will continue to serve as a Kyoto University professor and promote iPS cell research as a principal investigator at CiRA.

Professor Takahashi has been an inaugural member of CiRA. His main specialty areas are neuroregeneration and neurosurgery. In particular, he has worked on the development of therapies for Parkinson's disease, and in 2018, he started a physician-led clinical trial using iPS cells for the disease at the Kyoto University Hospital. As a leading researcher in the field of iPS cell research, he continues to conduct research aimed at developing therapies for cerebral infarction and other brain diseases using iPS cell technology.

In response to the decision, CiRA Director Shinya Yamanaka said, "Since my research group announced the generation of iPS cells in 2006, I have done what I can as a director and fundraiser for over 15 years. In the past few years, I have wanted more and more to focus on my own research. At the last Faculty Council meeting, I recommended Dr. Jun Takahashi as a candidate for the director from fiscal year 2022, and he was elected by the vote of the council members. With many iPS cell research projects reaching the stage of clinical trials, Dr. Takahashi, who is leading a clinical trial himself, is the perfect person as new director. As a basic researcher, I will do my best to contribute to the development of iPS cell research, medicine, and biology."

CiRA Director-elect Takahashi said, "As I was elected to become the next director of CiRA, taking over the post from Dr. Yamanaka, I am determined to do my best. I would like to express my heartfelt respect to Dr. Yamanaka, who has made extraordinary efforts over the years to get the institute off the ground. The term 'iPS cells' does not just refer to the cells themselves, but also includes iPS cell technology and the concept of reprogramming. Using this technology and other technologies, I will promote research and medical applications with CiRA faculty, staff, and students to contribute to future medicine and life sciences."

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