In 1934, the Research Institute for Microbial Diseases (RIMD), the first institute attached to Osaka University, was established for the study of microbial diseases. For more than 80 years since its foundation, the RIMD has concentrated on basic researches in infectious diseases, immunology, and oncology and made significant contributions to the control of infectious diseases through the identification of new pathogens, the elucidation of pathogenesis of microbes, and the development of vaccines and diagnostics based on these basic research findings. In addition, the RIMD has achieved an outstanding contribution in the progress of life sciences through the discovery of oncogenes and cell fusion phenomena and the elucidation of innate immune system.
The RIMD conducts research in the following research systems: Three research divisions aiming for basic research including Infectious Disease, Host Defense, and Cellular and Molecular Biology. Three research centers aiming for applied research including Research Center for Infectious Disease Control, Genome Information Research Center, and International Research Center for Infectious Diseases. Three research collaboration centers in Thailand to investigate infectious diseases difficult to handle in Japan including Research Collaboration Center on Emerging and Re-emerging Infections (RCC-ERI), Mahidol-Osaka Center for Infectious Diseases (MOCID), and BIKEN (the Research Foundation for Microbial Diseases of Osaka University) Endowed Department of Dengue Vaccine Development. In 2014, BIKEN Innovative Vaccine Research Alliance Laboratories were established to develop novel vaccines based on research findings in the RIMD.
The cutting-edge research in the RIMD is conducted by the most advanced research facilities for common use these include: the Central Instrumentation Laboratory to operate the large-scale and high-priced research facilities in efficient, the Central Laboratory for Biological Hazardous Microbes to carry out the experimental study of biologically hazardous microbes, the Animal Resource Center for Infectious Diseases to generate genetically manipulated mice, the Radioisotope Laboratory, the DNA-Chip Development Center for Infectious Diseases to analyze comprehensively the gene expression related to infectious diseases, and the Department of Infection Metagenomics to analyze genome information using second and third generation DNA sequencers and bio-informatics. These experimental facilities are widely opened for use to the research community for collaborative research.
The RIMD is certified as the Joint Research Center by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology Japan (MEXT). In addition to the collaborative research conducting in our facilities, the RIMD is also responsible to support for international scientific community through the provision of the bacteria stored at our Pathogenic Microbes Repository Unit. Faculties at the RIMD are also affiliated to the Graduate Schools of Medicine, Frontier Biosciences, Science, and Pharmaceutical Sciences at Osaka University and accepted many graduate students worldwide for contribution to the development of human resource in the next generations.
The RIMD produces world-leading research on infectious diseases from basic research to clinical applications through tight collaborations with BIKEN, public interest incorporated foundation engaged in development, production and supply of a wide variety of vaccines based on the research findings in the RIMD, and the Immunology Frontier Research Center (IFReC), established by the great efforts of 4 researchers in the RIMD to develop new research projects designed to clarify immune responses in a spatiotemporal manner in the body.
In 1980, WHO declared the eradication of smallpox and all of us thought that we could eradicate major infectious diseases from the earth within the 20th century. However, our expectations were completely denied by the emergence of SARS in 2003 and we were forced to realize the importance of research on emerging infectious diseases. After the SARS outbreak, we have continuously been faced the threats of infectious diseases such as influenza, Dengue fever, Ebola hemorrhagic fever, and multi-drug resistant bacteria.
The RIMD will continue to dedicate our efforts in the progress of the basic research of infectious diseases, immunology, oncology, developmental biology, and cell biology based on the past outstanding achievements, and to focus on the development of young researchers either in Japan or abroad who are highly motivated to discover and establish new scientific paradigms by themselves.
Director Yoshiharu Matsuura