By Betty Chinea
Special to UM News
CORAL GABLES, Fla. (February 15, 2017)—Rajeev Prabhakar, a chemist at the University of Miami College of Arts and Sciences, is no stranger to spending time in a foreign country.
Originally from India, he earned his Ph.D. in Sweden and is accustomed to discovering and acclimating himself in different cultures, which is why Prabhakar had no reservations about visiting Japan—for the second time in his career. But this excursion is more business than pleasure.
Recently, Prabhakar received news that he was awarded a prestigious fellowship from the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS) as a visiting professor.
Selection for this coveted fellowship is an honor not lost on Prabhakar. Only 25 percent of applicants are accepted and each must have a host professor in Japan who applies for them.
“It is very exciting,” said Prabhakar. “The Japanese are very advanced in science and they have a strong research culture.”
Prabhakar, who began his journey February 15, will visit multiple universities in Japan through March 9, including the University of Tokyo, Kyoto University, Fukui Institute for Fundamental Chemistry, Institute of Transformative Bio-Molecules, Nagoya University, and Hokkaido University.
The purpose of the fellowship is to establish research collaborations with Japanese scientists from the institutes and universities, and help advance and expand Prabhakar’s current research at UM, which is primed to fundamentally advance the design of artificial enzymes, biomaterials, antimicrobial peptides, and drugs for neurological disorders.
“It will be very beneficial to interact with some of the leading researchers in these areas and explore innovative ideas of mutual interest,” said Prabhakar.
The importance of Prabhakar’s research is underscored by JSPS’s full support of his visit. Along with collaborating and forming new connections with Japanese researchers, he will be presenting research seminars as a visiting professor.
For more than 80 years, the JSPS has initiated and carried out a vast array of programs that are essential to promoting scientific research. The organization has developed as a research and support organization designed to advance research and foster talented researchers for generations to come.
The fellowship also supports UM President Julio Frenk’s vision for UM as an innovation hub, connecting, collaborating, and building knowledge with organizations and researchers beyond our borders.
“I am hopeful that the JSPS fellowship will help me to expand the research we are already doing here and start something new and interesting while building ties between UM and leading Japanese universities,” said Prabhakar.