I have visited The Jackson Laboratory several times before but last year, I was there for 5 months as a visiting investigator.
Although it's a route that I have taken many times, the journey from Kumamoto - Narita - New York - Boston - Bar Harbor is still a long one.
As many of you might have already known, The Jackson Laboratory was founded by Dr. Clarence C. Little (geneticist) in 1929. In 1980, Dr. George Snell was awarded a Nobel Prize for his research in genetics of mice and researchers from all over the world come here to learn about mice genetics.
At present, there are 6 Japanese researchers including postdoctoral researchers. The Jackson Laboratoryfs mission is to improve the quality of human life by providing tools and services for biomedical and scientific education.
They are at the forefront of mice genetics and are conducting studies related to cancer, diabetes, AIDS, heart diseases, reproductive medicine, regenerative medicine and aging. They are especially well known for cancer researches and are one of the National Cancer Institute designated Cancer Centers.
The Jackson Laboratory is located in a town with a population of 4,000 called Bar Harbor on an island called Mount Desert Island in Maine.
It is about 3 miles away from the center of Bar Harbor town and is situated in a quiet area.
It is surrounded by the Acadia National Park and the surrounding area includes a jagged coastline formed by a fiord and many lakes.
There are beaver lodges in the lakes and many wild animals such as deer, bears and condors can be found.
At sea, lobster fishing is thriving and in summer, one can enjoy whale watching. At peak season, many cruise ships sails in from Boston.
There aren't any tall buildings in The Jackson Laboratory.
Most buildings are a storey or two storeys tall because of the abundance of land. (Photo 1)
Photo 2 is taken from a nearby hillside during a hike.
The buildings that can be seen at the top of the lake are all buildings of The Jackson Laboratory.
New buildings are being built recently as the area is being expanded little by little.
The sea can also be seen at the top right of photo 2.
The view of the sea with a rainbow which can often be seen after the rain and a boat slowly sailing by is really beautiful. (Photo 3)
The agreement on academic exchange with The Jackson Laboratory was brought to a conclusion during this trip and this is considered to be the most important accomplishment.
The signing ceremony was held on 26th Oct. 2004 at The Jackson Lab. with the director, Richard P. Woychik as their representative and I as the representative of Kumamoto University. (Photo 4)
My second accomplishment would be my success in giving technical instructions to the 16 participants on mice embryo ultra-rapid freezing using the vitrification method at the Cryopreservation of Mouse Germplasm Workshop conducted at The Jackson Lab. from 10th to 15th Oct. 2004 (Photo 5).
I have also compiled an English CD about reproductive technology and distributed the copies to the participants and Jackson Lab. staff.
On the other hand, the information I received from The Jackson Lab. will be invaluable when administering the mouse repository. At The Jackson Lab., the cryopreservation of mice embryos department was replaced by the Reproductive Technologies Resource (RTR) department for further development. The RTR department has a total of 45 members and in addition to managing the mouse repository, they also provide other related services as stated below.