Kazuhiko Ohashi
Dean, Graduate School of Infectious Diseases

 

Message

 

In recent years, emerging and reemerging infectious diseases, such as the Ebola virus infection, Zika virus infection and pandemic influenza, have occurred in many parts of the world, posting a threat to humankind. In Japan, tick-born viral infectious disease (SFTS) is becoming a major social problem. All of these arise from zoonotic disease agents, which invade and transmit from wild animals in nature to livestock animals, poultry and people, causing virulent infectious diseases. In addition, highly pathogenic avian influenza, foot and mouth disease and other infectious diseases invade from overseas and spread in Japan, wreaking tremendous economic damage on domestic animals, which are important for food production. To combat these zoonoses and transboundary animal diseases, countermeasures beyond the national framework are necessary, and international collaboration is indispensable. To overcome these infectious diseases, basic research on pathogens, research on biology in nature and host immune response, applied research on diagnosis, preventive measures and curative medicine, as well as extensive knowledge and expertise on the occurrence prediction of infectious diseases, risk assessment, management and international health administration are necessary, and there is increasing demand in Japan and elsewhere for experts capable of leading research on such infectious diseases and their control.
The concept of "One Health" that animal health and environmental conservation should be considered as one to maintain the health of people and society is spreading worldwide. To overcome many infectious diseases, it is necessary to promote the philosophy of "One Health" and collaborate beyond disciplinary and research domain boundaries. Against this backdrop, Hokkaido University has established an international collaboration center for zoonosis control using the Global COE Program, and in Fostering Global Leaders in Veterinary Science toward Contributing to "One Health" (academic 2011 - 2017), a Program for Leading Graduate Schools, the university reformed graduate education to produce experts in veterinary science who can play a leading role on a global stage, and has strengthened schooling for developing an interdisciplinary vision and promoted graduate education involving practical international activities.
The Graduate School of Infectious Diseases develops and strengthens the above initiatives to further internationalize and promote interdisciplinary graduate education in infectious disease science and veterinary medicine. To this end, the Graduate School of Infectious Diseases builds a cross-disciplinary educational system with the participation of teaching staff of the Research Center for Zoonosis Control, the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, the Faculty of Medicine and other organizations, uses a joint research network comprised of more than 30 countries in the world and fosters individuals capable of playing a leading role in the control of infectious diseases, which pose a social problem, to produce professionals in the field of infectious diseases.