Aquaporin water channels - from atomic structure to clinical medicine (2004年3月17日)

Kazuo Oike

 It is a great honor for us to welcome (the) Nobel Prize laureate, Prof.Peter Agre here in Kyoto University.

 First of all, I would like to express congratulations for your award. Your discovery of the water channel is surely important not only for researchers in the field of biological science, but also for our human society in general, as many different kinds of water channels were identified in our body and are involved in numerous physiological processes. Originally living organisms came into existence in water,and now the cells of all life forms on the earth are surrounded by membranes and filled with water. If I correctly understand, although simple lipid bilayers exhibit limited water permeability, many cell membranes are extremely permeable to water. I could therefore understand how your findings and research fields are important while I am not personally familiar with biology.

 I am now president of Kyoto University, and also I am a seismologist, especially studying the mechanisms of the occurrences of earthquakes and its relation with active fault movements. Water is strongly related even to my field. This is because one of the important causes of earthquakes is water and some researchers are interested in the relationship of chemical contents in water for earthquake precursors.

 In addition Kyoto basin has been constructed by the vertical relative movements of many active faults. It is the typical tectonic basin which has the four distinct seasons and serious natural disasters such as earthquakes, floods and others. Kyoto University is located in this Kyoto basin where an old capital was established more than 1200 years ago.

 There is abundant groundwater in this Kyoto fault basin. We could say Kyoto basin is likened to a huge water tank and we have a couple of water channels along the fractured zone of active faults. This water stock makes a lot of water related cultures and industrial products in Kyoto City. For example, you can enjoy tea ceremonies, "Sado" during your stay in Kyoto.
Kyoto city has now important world heritages. Kyoto is regarded as the spiritual homeland of the Japanese people and now cultural homeland of many people around the world.

 I am very happy to receive Nobel Laureate Peter Agre here in Kyoto and to have a special seminar in our recently renovated Clock Tower Centennial Hall. Kyoto University is one of the oldest universities in Japan and proud to have produced five Nobel Prize winners.

 I believe very local things can become global. I would like emphasize the importance of localy characteristic culture. The established local culture may attract people in the world. The long tradition and strength of Kyoto Culture can stand as a good example for this. I believe we in Kyoto should take this advantage and offer our culture to the outside world.

 I think your lecture here is the special example to show that our university offers scientific culture to the wide society widely in Japan. Especially, I heard Prof. Peter Agre would have time to discusswith young researchers and participants after his lecture. I hope they will learn a lot from the Nobel Prize laureate, Prof. Peter Agre.

 On behalf of our University members, I would again like to express my congratulations for your award, and welcome you to Kyoto.

 Thank you for your attention.