08Apr. 2019

Dr. Hitoshi Nakamoto visited Aix Marseille university and CNRS 

Professor Hitoshi Nakamoto 


I, a faculty member of department of biochemistry and molecular biology, visited Aix Marseille university and French National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS) in Marseille from March 14th to March 21st. Dr. Olivier Genest who is an investigator of CNRS, and also associated with Aix Marseille university invited me and took care of me during my visit. The purpose for this trip was to discuss about collaborative research projects with him and other researchers of this university and CNRS, and to explore a student exchange between this university and Saitama University. On March 15th, I presented an institutional seminar. The title for my talk was ‘Paralogs of molecular chaperones in photoautotrophic cyanobacteria: their non-classical structures and functions’. The conference room was crowded with many people and I received good, and thought-provoking questions.



I met Dr. Olivier Genest several times at international meetings and he kindly asked me if I am interested in visiting him whenever we met each other. He is one of the young, promising scientists in the field of the molecular chaperone research. He has been publishing high-impact papers. So, I was interested in visiting him. He arranged my visit so that I can meet many researchers and professors during my visit. Every day, I could enjoy meeting various researchers/professors. I learned that they are conducting high-quality researches on various areas. I could eat lunch together with researchers and students every day. They are very friendly. Different research labs/groups in CNRS are cross-functional, and exchange their laboratory equipments and ideas.




In France, undergraduate students complete their studies in three years, and then undertake postgraduate study for a master’s degree. A master course student spends half a year in a laboratory working on his/her thesis. In France, all the graduate students are financially supported so that they can devote themselves to research. In fact, I saw students working hard on their projects. Students were doing experiments in a lab when I arrived at Dr. Genest’s lab at 9 am. I felt that it would be very nice for a Japanese student to come and study here.

I had an opportunity to discuss possible student exchange between Saitama University and Aix Marseille university with Professor Amel Latifi who chairs a biology department. I knew that it may not be so easy since a certain number of students have to be sent and accepted every year and all of them have to be supported financially. But it may be possible to exchange students for short periods between labs after the mutual agreements.