Spin-off Project “Tohoku University Tour and Round-table Discussion”

On Saturday, October 1, 2022, a laboratory tour was held at Tohoku University, Aobayama Campus (Sendai City, Miyazaki Prefecture). Seven high school students from all over Tohoku participated.

The tour included a visit to two engineering laboratories and a round-table discussion.

The first tour was to the laboratory of Professor Tanaka and Associate Professor Okuyama of the Graduate School of Biomedical Engineering, where they introduced their research on tactile sensation, including a device to measure the texture of cloth and a technology to distinguish the presence of cancer by the hardness of the prostate gland.

The second was an explanation of the synthesis of functional chemicals from unused biomass resources in the laboratory of Professor Kitagawa of the Graduate School of Chemical Engineering. In addition, at Phytochemical Products, a start-up company established by Professor Kitagawa, she introduced the production of vitamin E from rice bran, allowing us to experience the process from lab scale to production.

During the roundtable discussion, high school students, graduate students, faculty members, and NATSUGAKU staff freely exchanged opinions and talked about a wide range of topics from university life to questions about how to become a researcher. Participants were highly satisfied with the event, and it was a meaningful opportunity to think about how university research can be applied to society.


13:00-13:15 Introduction of the purpose of the event and self-introductions by participants
13:15-13:20 Break, Movement (Foyer→Tanaka Lab)
13:20-13:50 Lab tour (Prof. Tanaka), Introduction of research 
13:50-14:05 Break/Transfer (Tanaka Lab→Kitagawa Lab)
14:05-14:40 Lab tour 2 (Prof. Kitagawa), Introduction of research 
14:40-15:00 Laboratory Tour ③ (Prof. Kitagawa, President Kato) Phytochemical Products Co.
15:00-15:15 Break, Movement (Kitagawa Lab. → Foyer)
15:20-15:55 Round-table discussion Divided into 3 groups and went around the tables in order
15:55-16:00 Summary

Participant Survey

Participant Comments

  • I found out that teachers are trying to elucidate the mechanisms of tactile and haptic sensation, which will be useful in the future medical field. Also, this laboratory tour made me very interested in this field.
  • I felt the atmosphere of an engineering laboratory. I was also surprised at the wide range of possibilities in engineering, such as the need to devise ways to accurately measure tactile sensations when conducting research on tactile sensations, the many trials and errors in “research,” and the ability to use this technology not only for tactile sensation but also for everyday situations such as Braille.
  • I thought it was great that I could learn about the various fields of study at Tohoku University in a multidisciplinary way! It was also good to know the atmosphere of the laboratory.
  • It was a new attempt to create a desired commodity by reusing oil, and I want to be able to always have that kind of thinking in my mind. I strongly felt that it is necessary to increase the number of companies that integrate the production of raw materials, processing, consumption, and subsequent use of materials in a cyclical manner. And every time a very expensive piece of equipment appeared in front of me, I was thrilled inside.
  • I was very happy to be able to actually talk with current Tohoku University students and people in the science field. There aren’t many people at my school who are good at physics, so it was fun to have so many things I could relate to in the science field!
  • I was able to spend very meaningful time in places and laboratories that I would not have been able to visit on an open campus and learn about what kind of research they are actually doing.
  • I was happy to make friends with people who want to become researchers.