Trish Morse and Billie Swalla

The E. S. Morse Institute and the Japan/US Scholar Exchange Program has entered its second year and numerous activities have occurred.

An “Agreement on Academic Exchange Between Friday Harbor Laboratories, University of Washington and Graduate School of Science, The University of Tokyo” was signed by the FHL Director and Dean of the University of Tokyo Graduate School of Science for a period of five years. This is for implementation for exchange of ideas in research areas of mutual interest.

Professors Arthur Whiteley and Motonori (Ghen) Hoshi.
Photo credit: Trish Morse

A major grant was secured by Professor Koji Akasaka, Director of the Misaki Marine Biological Station (MMBS) of the University of Tokyo supporting the MMBS – Friday Harbor Laboratories exchange program. The funding came from the Mikimoto Pearl Company, and they will provide $26,000 as the Mikimoto-Morse Scholarship and will be available every year for a period of four years. We will try very hard to match this generous Japan contribution here in the USA!

This year the program founders (Hoshi, Omori and Morse) named three Honorary Fellows as members of the E. S. Morse Institute. This honor is to celebrate the scholarly contributions of these scientists who over their lifetimes involved exchanges between our two countries involving the Friday Harbor Laboratories. The first Honorary Scholar was Professor Arthur Whiteley.

Arthur and his wife Professor Helen R. Whiteley spent time in the laboratory of Hoshi-san and based on those years of friendship, continued to promote exchanges with Japanese colleagues. Arthur was very involved in the Morse Institute Committee, and proudly received his certificate shortly before his passing in April 2013.

Professors Arthur Whiteley and Motonori (Ghen) Hoshi. Photo credit: Trish Morse

A second Honorary Fellow, Dr. Shinya Inoue, was inducted into the E. S. Morse Institute in May. A faculty member at the University of Washington in 1953, Dr. Inoue visited FHL and studied sea urchin development as he continued to develop the remarkable polarizing microscope. This invention allowed the early visualization of microtubules separating the chromosomes in dividing cells. His microscopic inventions have provided numerous scientists with more and more accurate video visualizations. He joined the 100th FHL celebration symposium on the Green Fluorescent Protein (GFP).

Dr. Shigeko Ooishi at the E.S. Morse Institute picnic in July 2013. Photo credit: Flo McAlary

The third Honorary Fellow, Dr. Shigeko Ooishi, a Japanese scientist currently in residence at the Friday Harbor Laboratories, was inducted at the 2013 Morse Institute summer picnic. A Professor in the faculty of Biosciences at Mie University in Japan, Shigeko spent many summers at the Friday Harbor Laboratories working with Professor Paul Illg on the systematics and biology of parasitic copepods. Upon retirement, she has spent many years continuing her copepod work at FHL.

This summer a postdoctoral student, Dr. Ken-Ichiro Ishii, joined the laboratory of Dr. Vera Trainer (from Northwest Fisheries – NOAA) at the Friday Harbor Laboratories as a visiting scholar from Japan. A Ph.D. in Marine Environmental Microbiology from Kyoto University, Ken’s scientific expertise is identifying the resting stages of diatoms that exist in the sediments and often give rise to the harmful algal blooms. Once isolated, Ken raises these stages to the mature species that can then be identified. These harmful blooms in the Puget Sound waters are being documented and investigated by the Trainer Laboratory team at the Friday Harbor Laboratories. Ken was inducted into the E. S. Morse Institute at the 2nd annual picnic and is the fourth Junior Scholar.

Dr. Ken-Ichiro Ishii at the E.S. Morse Institute picnic in July 2013. Photo credit: Flo McAlary

Also joining the Trainer Laboratory was last year’s inductee, Noboharu Inaba, currently a Ph.D. student with Professor Ichiro Imai in Japan. “Haru” was invited to come to the United States to participate in a Gordon Conference in Massachusetts on harmful algal blooms. He presented a paper there on his work during the 2012 summer at FHL.

We are looking forward to the third year of the E. S. Morse Institute and the Japan/US Scholar Exchange Program. We are pleased that after only a couple of years, the number of Japanese researchers at FHL has increased and hope that the program continues to expand. We are also looking forward to sending US researchers to Japan in the coming year.

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