Greetings|Graduate School of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences, The University of Tokyo

Graduate School of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences, The University of Tokyo
  • The University of Tokyo
Graduate School of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences, The University of Tokyo


Hiroyuki Arai Dean

Our graduate school has a long history dating back to 1873 with the establishment of a Pharmaceutical Department within the First University District Medical School, featuring two years of preparatory courses and three years of regular study. Since then, the school has cultivated Japan’s leading researchers and instructors, producing extremely talented people in the fields of industry, health care, and government.

Drug development involves the processes of core research, non-clinical tests, clinical trials (studies), and more recently, drug management after their release in the market. In recent years, the term “drug discovery” has come to replace “drug development” in many cases. This is a relatively new term, first coined in 1990, but I feel that “drug discovery” has much more of a “scientific” nuance than “drug development”. Reflecting that, modern drug development involves not just the low molecular pharmaceuticals of the past, but also brand-new drugs based on the latest in scientific knowledge, including antibody drugs, nucleic-acid drugs, and regenerative medicines. Finding new drug-discovery goals has also become difficult even for world-class pharmaceutical firms, leading to a major rise in companies reaching out university research laboratories to search for the seeds to new discoveries.

It is said that “we cannot create innovative drugs without fundamental scientific discoveries”. Our graduate school pursues internationally top-level core research, including the discovery of new molecular functions/life phenomena, the invention of new reaction/synthesis techniques, and the development of new analytical technology, all with an aim to create new seeds in the field of core research in drug discovery. We also aim to make leading contributions to the fields of post-core research drug-discovery processes, including the cultivation of leading pharmacists in the medical field, the development of approval/screening and its methodology (regulatory science), and discoveries in post-release side-effect data and drug repositioning, through the timely establishment of endowed chairs and other actions centered around the Department of Pharmacy with pharmacist certification process.

Interdisciplinary study has become one keyword for the development of academics. This graduate school has applied itself to being open to core research topics in fields like organic chemistry, biochemistry, and physical chemistry, as well as applied sciences like pharmaceutics and regulatory science. The extremely high level of our research activity is clear when looking at the quality and quantity of published papers in international academic journals, the amount earned in grants-in-aid for scientific research and other competitive research grants, and the academic and other awards earned by our staff. It has become a popular department in recent years, seeing a very large number of applicants from the University of Tokyo’s College of Arts and Sciences, and based on adjusted scores from students in the Junior Division, we have gathered the most talented students at the University here. I believe the thrill of research lies in the rush we feel whenever we encounter unexpected experimental results. I want our department’s undergraduate students, graduate students, and young researchers to taste this experience for themselves, eventually growing into tomorrow’s leaders in Japanese science and technology. At the same time, in order to produce active players in industry and government, I feel it is integral to listen to people’s thoughts and discuss them in a group atmosphere. It is only through efforts like these that we gain a deeper understanding of each other, making it possible to see the way to more constructive policies in the future.

Going forward, I do not intend to allow the department to rest on its laurels, its current privileged state and its past glories. We will continue to make more contributions to core research, expand our pipelines to fields like industry and government, and provide service to Japan’s scientific, industrial, and governmental spheres.

Arai Hiroyuki
Graduate School of Pharmaceutical Sciences
Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences
The University of Tokyo