Okayama University


Okayama University’s nearly 150-year-old history can be traced back to the Okayama-Han Medical Training School, which was founded in 1870. Officially incorporated as a university in 1949, Okayama has evolved over the years but remains a centre for the research and practice of medicine. In recent times, this has been supplemented by a focus on humanities, science, agriculture, engineering, economics and law. In 2004, it became a national university corporation and has received several major titles from the Japanese government including being designated a Research University and Top Global University.

Researchers at Okayama University are conducting innovative research in fields as diverse as plant science and planetary science; they pursue the former at the Institute of Plant Science and Resources (IPSR) and the latter at the Institute for Planetary Materials (IPM). With the establishment of the Research Institute for Interdisciplinary Science (RIIS) in 2016, Okayama University is aligning its research strengths to lead the way in new and emerging fields.

Tackling global problems through education and research

As one of the leading universities in Japan, the university aims to create and establish a new paradigm for the sustainable development of the world. In particular, it is confronting global problems such as environmental problems, energy issues, food supply, economics, health, security and education. The university offers a wide range of academic fields, which form the basis of its integrated graduate schools. This both allows the university to conduct the most advanced and up-to-date research and provides for an enriching educational experience.

Pleasant environment for studying and researching

Okayama University has eleven faculties spread over two main campuses, which are centrally located in Okayama-city. The Tsushima Campus occupies a huge area of downtown Okayama and houses sports facilities, administration and teaching buildings and lots of green spaces as well as the dormitory buildings for international students and the campus International House. Although in the middle of a busy city, the campus is peaceful and quiet and is only a couple of kilometres from the nearest rail station, with Osaka only an hour away by bullet train and Tokyo only three.

Okayama University retains sole responsibility for content. © 2017 Okayama University.

1 November 2016 - 31 October 2017

Region: Global
Subject/journal group: All

The table to the right includes counts of all research outputs for Okayama University published between 1 November 2016 - 31 October 2017 which are tracked by the Nature Index.

Hover over the donut graph to view the WFC output for each subject. Below, the same research outputs are grouped by subject. Click on the subject to drill-down into a list of articles organized by journal, and then by title.

Note: Articles may be assigned to more than one subject area.

119 25.10 25.09

Outputs by subject (WFC)

Subject AC FC WFC
Chemistry 25 13.65 13.65
Life Sciences 18 5.42 5.42
Physical Sciences 66 3.81 3.80
Earth & Environmental Sciences 12 2.95 2.95

Highlight of the month

A palette of flavours for one taste receptor complex

© PeopleImage/DigitalVision/Getty

© PeopleImage/DigitalVision/Getty

How can the tongue detect so many flavours with so few molecular receptors in the taste buds? A structural analysis suggests this sensory diversity is achieved because of the way water gets structured around flavour molecules, allowing many different compounds to stimulate the same complex of taste receptors.

A team in Japan, led by researchers from Okayama University, determined the atomic structure of the protein complex formed between two interlocked taste receptors. They showed that the three-dimensional shape of the complex was fairly consistent, regardless of what amino acid bound it. However, different amino acids patterned the surrounding water molecules in different ways — which helps explain how so many varied flavour molecules can dock at one site.

The researchers studied the protein complex from the medaka fish (Oryzias latipes), yet because the taste receptor proteins are found throughout the animal kingdom, the results should be applicable to human taste sensation as well.

Supported content

  1. Nature Communications 8, 15530 (2017). doi: 10.1038/ncomms15530

View the article on the Nature Index

See more research highlights from Okayama University

More research highlights from Okayama University

1 November 2016 - 31 October 2017

International vs. domestic collaboration by WFC

  • 35.8% Domestic
  • 64.2% International

Note: Hover over the graph to view the percentage of collaboration.

Top 10 domestic collaborators by WFC (82 total)

  • Okayama University, Japan
  • Domestic institution
  1. The University of Tokyo (UTokyo), Japan (6.94)
  2. Kyoto University, Japan (3.73)
  3. Japan Synchrotron Radiation Research Institute (JASRI), Japan (3.39)
  4. Tohoku University, Japan (2.80)
  5. RIKEN, Japan (2.61)
  6. Osaka University, Japan (2.36)
  7. Tokyo Institute of Technology (Tokyo Tech), Japan (1.78)
  8. Kobe University, Japan (1.73)
  9. Gunma University, Japan (1.67)
  10. RIKEN SPring-8 Center (RSC), Japan (1.58)

Note: Collaboration is determined by the weighted fractional count (WFC), which is listed in parentheses.

Affiliated joint institutions and consortia

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