“Communication” in Science
Abstract of the lecture
A chronicle delineating the career of one who has dedicated his or her life to scientific work normally consists of a series of fortunate incidents involving nature as well as many converging paths shared with other scientists, and in retrospect on several decades, numerous episodes of both joy and sorrow will have been woven into his or her scientific life.
Of the natural sciences, the life sciences in particular deal with phenomena far too complex, excepting the immobile, inanimate matter, and it is not simple for the individual researcher to command the vast amount of heterogeneous information involved. There is, naturally, little that one can do by oneself. For this reason, leaning from other scientists, just as learning from nature, is of incalculably great significance.
Today, the word "communication" is on everybody's lips. In fact, the research area that is related to "communication" is becoming more and more important in the life sciences. The human body normally consists of trillions of cells, and these cells are all the time communicating with one another. Our lives are made possible by superbly controlled and well-coordinated cell-to-cell communications, such as those between the brain cell function and muscle cell contraction, the heart beat and blood pressure control, and so on. In physiological processes, numerous biologically active substances including hormones and neurotransmitters facilitate smooth functioning, acting as lubricants, so to speak.
In the past, researchers might comprehend only certain aspects of the fundamental processes commonly observed in all of such a vast number of cell populations. At present, we are becoming aware of the molecular mechanisms of an elaborate network of cell-to-cell communications. These endeavors are motivated by the fact that malfunctions of these cell-to-cell communications may result in the development of diseases such as cancer, memory defects, and heart diseases. It is now clear that elucidation of the mechanisms involved in such physiologically important communications will facilitate progress in the treatment and prevention of the ailments affecting our daily life.
Many things are needed to undertake research work and make it a success. But there is one indispensable element: communication with scientists struggling with the riddles of nature, both at home and abroad throughout this wide world, is a must.
I shall be extremely happy if I can present such topics that are related to cell-to-cell communication and stimulate discussion on the progress achieved to date and the prospects for the future in this particular field.