Following the recent successful Nobel Prize Inspiration Initiative event in Germany in July and in Brazil in August, 2017, we had the honour of hosting another Nobel Laureate visit on 6-7 September when Professor Shinya Yamanaka visited Sweden and Norway for a two day event.
Professor Shinya Yamanaka is most recognised for his discovery of induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells, which are differentiated cells that have been reprogrammed to the pluripotent state. He is the director of the Center for iPS Cell Research and Application (CiRA), which was founded in 2008 in response to his discovery, at Kyoto University, and a senior investigator at the Gladstone Institutes in the United States.
During his visit to Scandinavia, he held lectures and met students and researchers at the University of Oslo, Gothenburg University as well as the AstraZeneca Gothenburg research centre.
In Oslo, Norway, on 6 September, Professor Yamanaka held a lecture at the University of Oslo on the topic “A New Era of Medicine with iPS Cells”. He then met with students for lunch and in round table discussions as well as participated in a panel discussion on the implications of stem cell therapy for patients and society. There was also an opportunity to meet the university faculty from the Stem Cell Institute.
The following day in Gothenburg, Sweden, included a similar programme at Gothenburg University with a lecture on the same topic as in Oslo, and meetings with students. In the afternoon, Professor Yamanaka visited the AstraZeneca Gothenburg research centre where he met with young AstraZeneca scientists and participated in a panel discussion on “The Joy of Discovery: Fostering a Culture of Creativity” together with representatives from Gothenburg University, Chalmers University of Technology and AstraZeneca.
Since 2010, AstraZeneca and Nobel Media have been running the Nobel Prize Inspiration Initiative (NPII) to initiate scientific exchange among young scientists and Nobel Laureates. During lectures and roundtable discussions, students from various degrees of education can directly interact with the Laureate, discussing latest developments in medicine and biology as well as posing questions as to how to plan and organise their personal careers.