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July 14, 2004

Brenner Appointed Head of OIST

Nobel laureate Dr. Sydney Brenner has been formally appointed as the inaugural president of the Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology (OIST), a graduate university to be established at Onna-son in Okinawa in 2007. Brenner was officially named at a meeting held in Tokyo yesterday, after which he paid a courtesy call to the official residence of Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi. Koizumi repeated his hope that the new university will be a great boost for Okinawa and its economy.

The OIST aims to become a world-class center of education and research specializing in the natural sciences. And with half of the faculty and students to be from overseas, it will be truly international. With this in mind, the government was keen to select a foreign Nobel laureate to head the school. The university will focus on cutting edge research into life systems, and because Dr. Brenner's work has had great impact in this field, he was the first choice for president. Born in South Africa, Dr. Brenner acquired his Ph.D. at Oxford University. He was one of the pioneers of molecular biology when it emerged as a field of study in the 1960s. He was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 2002 for his contribution to the establishment of genetic engineering.

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