In the lead up to the 6th anniversary of the Great East Japan Earthquake, Tohoku University hosted a delegation from the U.S. Embassy, interested in learning about the progress of recovery and reconstruction in the region.
The delegation, led by the Charge d'Affaires ad interim Jason P. Hyland, visited the Tohoku Medical Megabank Organization (ToMMo) and toured the labs and facilities with Executive Director Masayuki Yamamoto.
In a meeting that included ToMMo's senior directors, Professor Yamamoto spoke briefly about the events of March 11, 2011, and explained the organization's research projects. These include rebuilding community medicine along the devastated Tohoku coast and conducting surveys to monitor the health status of residents in disaster-affected areas.
Professor Yamamoto also reiterated ToMMo's commitment to building a biobank of biospecimens and data from cohort studies, as well as sequencing DNA and analyzing the genome data for the development of more personalized healthcare. As the delegation toured the Biobank and Genome Analysis facilities, Mr. Hyland offered encouragement for the work being done.
Earlier in the day, Mr Hyland made a short visit to Katahira Campus.
Along with Rachel Brunette-Chen, a principal officer at the American Consulate General in Sapporo, he met with Tohoku University President Susumu Satomi. They spoke about Tohoku University's exchange agreements with several American academic institutions and hoped for further collaborations in the future.
President Satomi also used the opportunity to express his appreciation for the great support that the Tohoku region received from America following the disaster in 2011, including the Tomodachi Initiative started by the U.S.-Japan Council.
While Mr. Hyland acknowledged the important role that Tohoku University plays as a hub for medical connections between the U.S. National Institute of Health and Japanese universities.
Mr. Hyland became chargé d'affaires ad interim at the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo this past January, following the departure of Ambassador Caroline Kennedy. He had previously served as deputy chief of mission there since 2014.
Public Relations Division, Tohoku University