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January 11, 2024

2024 CiRA Award Winners

The 11th CiRA Award Ceremony was held on Friday, January 5, 2024. CiRA members gathered in the auditorium for the event for the first time in four years, as it was held online or in a hybrid format in the past few years to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

This award, established in 2014 in accordance with Kyoto University regulations and funded by the iPS Cell Research Fund, recognizes the outstanding achievements in education and research, administration and management of the institute, as well as social contributions and other activities by CiRA faculty members.

Professor Misao Fujita (Uehiro Research Div. for iPS Cell Ethics) and Junior Associate Professor Kazuo Takayama (Dept. of Cell Growth and Differentiation) were the recipients of the honor this year.

(From left) Misao Fujita, Jun Takahashi, and Kazuo Takayama
at the CiRA Award ceremony

In an extensive study published last year, Fujita discovered a significant proportion of approved therapies reviewed by Certified Special Committees for Regenerative Medicine lacked solid scientific evidence for therapeutic efficacy and safety or showed questionable mismatches with the medical expertise of physicians offering the therapies. Fujita was bestowed this year's award for her valiant efforts to scrutinize medical practices offering regenerative medicine therapies to ensure effective and safe treatments for the public.

Takayama, through his work on the research project "Constructing novel drug discovery platforms for infectious diseases using human organoid models," has been making groundbreaking research advances aimed at reproducing protective barrier failures caused by viruses such as the COVID-19 virus(SARS-CoV-2)and elucidating the molecular mechanisms involved. His remarkable contribution to building a large-scale research project and identifying novel treatment options against various human diseases brought him this honor.

In his New Year address, Director Jun Takahashi reiterated the importance of the three promises he made during his annual address last year-"Respect and Gratitude," "Independence and Autonomy," and "Challenge and Leap Forward"-and said that building trust and maintaining good relationships with each other will lead to high-quality research. He also emphasized that even a small change in everyone's behavior will make a great difference in the future and stressed the importance of daily commitment to research and work.

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