Institute of Tropical Medicine, (NEKKEN), Nagasaki University

NEKKEN is Japan’s leading research institute for tropical medicine

NEKKEN building © NEKKEN

The Institute of Tropical Medicine was founded in March 1942 as the East Asia Research Institute of Endemics in order to conduct basic and applied studies on endemic diseases in East Asia. The tragic consequences of the atomic bomb on 9 August 1945 and massive flooding in 1957 meant that the Institute needed to be re-built and this was done on the current campus in April 1961. It has further expanded its activities and was renamed in June 1967.

NEKKEN aims to contribute to the control of tropical diseases, particularly infectious ones, and the various health problems associated with them. Its missions are to conduct high-quality research in tropical medicine and international health, to apply the fruits of the research to make a global contribution to the control of tropical disease and health promotion in the tropics, and to cultivate researchers and specialists in the above fields.

NEKKEN is divided into three main units: Tropical Microbiology, Pathogenesis and Clinical Sciences, and Environmental Medicine. There are 12 academic departments, including Virology, Bacteriology, Protozoology, Parasitology, Clinical Medicine, Immunogenetics, Epidemiology, Public Health, Social Environment and Vector Ecology.

The Institute has academic exchange programs with eight overseas institutes and has overseas research stations at the National Institute of Hygiene and Epidemiology in Hanoi, Vietnam and at the Kenya Medical Research Institute in Nairobi, Kenya.

NEKKEN has been conducting various multidisciplinary research programmes in tropical medicine with its strength in infectious diseases both in and outside of Japan. The Institute has been designated as a ‘centre of excellence’ in the forefront of scientific research by the Japan Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology since 1995.

Master of Tropical Medicine course

All the departments in the Institute take part in the PhD course in infection research at the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, Nagasaki University and play a major role in the Master of Tropical Medicine (MTM) course, which was opened in April 2006. The one-year, residential MTM programme is open to recipients of the Africa London Nagasaki scholarship.

Nagasaki University in partnership with LSHTM established the new School of Tropical Medicine and Global Health (TMGH) in October 2015. Consequently the former MTM course under the graduate school of biomedical sciences is now run by TMGH. But the partners, managing ALN - LSHTM and NEKKEN, have not changed.