The biological sciences have a long history. But recently, there is rapid change with the development of the molecular biological method, whereby processes shown in biology are understood to be functions of molecules. Through the radical pursuit of knowledge in modern biology, the structure of DNA (the blueprint of life) has been explained and information of the genome has been analyzed. The fundamental facts behind these and other life processes are being revealed one right after the other. By obtaining the blueprint of life, our outlook on biology has changed, and the application of the results is starting to change how we live. The role of the biological sciences in society will grow bigger and bigger in the future.
The Division of Biological Science consists of nine basic laboratories (17 research groups), the Marine Biological Laboratory (one research group), the Center for Gene Research (two research groups), the Bioscience and Biotechnology Center (one research group) and two laboratories in the Division of Materials Science (the Biochemistry Lab) and the Structural Biology Center. As the cutting edge of life science research in the post-genome era, the aim of this division is to understand a broad array of fundamental biological processes as the movement of molecules, such as: genome information and evolution, gene expression, cell division, cell structure and control of organelles, biomembranes, motility and energy transduction, receptor and intracellular signal transduction, plant and animal reproduction, the development of higher structures in multicellular organisms, the structure and function of the brain and neural networks, the circadian rhythm and environmental response.
We started the 21st Century COE program "System Bioscience: Integrative Study of Molecular Signal Networks" in our division in 2002. Through this project, we have promoted new biological sciences by building on the solid foundation of molecular biology. Based on that, we have integrated our understanding to make predictions in regard to biological processes. Since 2006, by participating Special Rearing Plan for Researchers(Tenure-Track Positions) by Institute for Advanced Research, we have promoted advanced research independently. Through these Programs, we trained young research scientists who can lead others. Also, in 2007, we started the Global COE program "Advanced Systems Biology: Designing the Biological Function." In this program, we worked with the Graduate School of Bioagricultural Sciences to develop a training program for mainly graduate students in "International Research Competence" and "Interdisciplinary Competence". Furthermore, we started Program for Leading Graduate Schools "Integrative Graduate Education and Research Program in Green Natural Sciences" in 2011. This program is composed of Graduate School of Science, Graduate School of Engineering and Graduate School of Bioagricultural Sciences. We consider it our mission to cultivate global leaders of the next generation. Furthermore, in cooperation with our department, Institute of Transformative Bio-Molecules (ITbM) has been launched since 2013 as The World Premier International Research Center Initiative (WPI) institute of Nagoya University. Full-scale collaboration between leading biologists and chemists is in progress to develop innovative functional molecules that make a marked change in the form and nature of biological science and technology.
The education in our division uses mainly lectures, exercises and practicums with faculty from the Division of Biological Sciences. But in order to cover a broad range of topics in the biological and life sciences, we actively invite part-time lecturers from other universities to give intensive seminars. In the senior (fourth) year, students spend the whole year at one of the various research facilities devoting themselves to their graduation research, which leads to the submission of a thesis explaining their work at the end of the year. Also, we strongly recommend that our students in the Division of Biological Sciences do research with students from other divisions or universities who have received a different type of education in physics and chemistry. For this purpose, we are implementing a new method of selecting students other than the conventional achievement tests to use with students who are not from the Division of Biological Sciences. In so doing, we will be able to carry out even more aggressive research.