Special Issue on J-GRID (Japan Initiative for Global Research Network on Infectious Disease)
In the developed countries including Japan, malignant tumor (cancer), heart disease and cerebral apoplexy are major causes of death, but infectious diseases still responsible for high mortality in the developing countries, especially for children less than 5 years of age. World Health Statistics published byWHO indicates a high percentage of mortality from infectious diseases such as HIV/AIDS, diarrhea, measles, malaria and pneumonia in children of South and Southeast Asian and African countries (World Health Statistics 2014,World Health Organization). Many of these infectious diseases have the potential for borderless transmission and invasion to Japan.
Given this situation, Japan’s Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) introduced Phase I of a program “Founding Research Centers for Emerging and Reemerging Infectious Diseases,” running from fiscal 2005 to 2009 and involving 8 Japanese universities and 2 Japanese research centers. The program was established to:
1) Create of a domestic research structure to promote the accumulation of fundamental knowledge about infectious diseases,
2) Set up 13 overseas research collaboration centers in 8 countries at high risk of emerging and reemerging infections, Japanese researchers are stationed at these centers, where they conduct research in partnership with overseas instructors,
3) Develop a network among domestic and overseas research centers,
4) Develop human resources.
The program, supervised by MEXT, and managed by the RIKEN Center of the Research Network for Infectious Diseases (Riken CRNID). Dr. Yoshiyuki Nagai, Program Director (PD), heads CRNID and is organizing the program.
Phase II of the program was set up as the Japan Initiative for the Global Research Network on Infectious Diseases (J-GRID) and was established for fiscal 2010-2014.
Participating universities, institutes and countries in J-GRID are as follows:
Hokkaido University : Zambia
Tohoku University : Philippines
The University of Tokyo : China
Tokyo Medical and Dental University : Ghana
Osaka University : Thailand
Kobe University : Indonesia
Okayama University : India
Nagasaki University : Vietnam
Niigata University : Myanmar (Associate*)
National Center for Global Health and Medicine : Vietnam
National Institute of Animal Health : Thailand
*Two associate members were involved in 2011.
Each university and institute set up its collaborative research center in a country and conducts research on infectious diseases, especially typical regional diseases. The program’s outcome of each collaborative center is announced by the publication of various research papers or outreach programs, such as open lectures for citizens, and so on. The Asian-African Research Forum (AARF) on Infectious Disease organized by J-GRID is dedicated to reporting and discussing the research results of the collaborative research centers.
Details and activities of J-GRID can be seen at http://www.crnid.riken.jp/jgrid/. The Figs. 1 and 2 show examples of the home page indicating the countries and the collaborative research institutes involved.
J-GRID publishes the magazine entitled “Monthly CRNID,” which is available by mail upon request to “https://krs.bz/crnid/m?f=2&m=1110&t=8cdk&v=076691d2.” This publication contains various topical information on infectious diseases, such as research papers, newly announced news from WHO, overseas trip news, domestic infections, new drug developments, explanations, events, etc.
Phase II will terminate on March 2015 (the end of FY 2014), and Phase III will begin in April 2015 at the start of the new FY.
This special issue on J-GRID is being edited on the occasion of the final year of Phase II. The outlines of J-GRID and those of all the collaborative research centers are reviewed by Dr. Nagai, PD of CRNID, and the representatives of each respective collaborative center in this issue.
Finally, I extend my sincere thanks to all authors and reviewers involved in this special issue.