Biomedicine Discovery Institute PhD candidates to study at largest Japanese research institute

PhD candidates Declan Rowley (L) and Tom Burns

Two Monash Biomedicine Discovery Institute PhD students will spend more than six months next year at Japan’s largest and most comprehensive research institute, RIKEN. The students were successfully chosen to travel to the Japanese institute as part of a recently established PhD exchange program.

PhD students Tom Burns and Declan Rowley, both from the Biomedicine Discovery Institute’s (BDI) Neuroscience Program, will travel to RIKEN in April next year to complete up to a year of their PhD research.

Mr Rowley said he hoped to learn cutting-edge experimental techniques during his time at the Japanese institute to bring back to his lab at the BDI.

“The researchers at the RIKEN Brain Science Institute are leading the world in neuroscience,” Mr Rowley said.

Mr Burns said he hoped to grow his professional network and skill set and bring this knowledge back to Australia.

“I’m hoping to build my knowledge of and skills in theoretical neuroscience and neuroscience generally by working with world-leading experts in the field,” Mr Burns said.

Monash University recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding with RIKEN, an almost century old institute that researches across the natural sciences, with a strong focus on neuroscience.

This new Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) will help grow the collaborative relationship between RIKEN and Monash’s Faculty of Biomedical and Psychological Sciences, with the relationship to focus on a PhD student exchange program taking in new students twice a year.

The MoU was driven by the Head of the BDI’s Neuroscience Program Professor Marcello Rosa. Professor Rosa said he had been working towards an MoU with RIKEN for more than two years.

“Our research areas align really well, particularly with the Brain/MINDS (Brain Mapping by Innovative Neurotechnologies for Disease Studies) project,” Professor Rosa said.

“I’m working together with researchers from RIKEN to understand the connections between brain cells and how these could be altered by diseases such as Parkinson’s,” he said.