University of Miami Chemistry Professor Awarded Science Fellowship to Japan

On February 14, Dr. Rajeev Prabhakar, an associate professor in Chemistry at the University of Miami College of Arts and Sciences, will travel about 7,500 miles from Miami to Japan.
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Prabhakar 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 he held 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.

Associate Professor in Chemistry Dr. Rajeev Prabhakar

Being accepted to partake in the fellowship is an honor not overlooked by Prabhakar. With a 25 percent acceptance rate, and the added obstacle that a host professor in Japan has to apply for the applicant, the fellowship is exceedingly coveted while being simultaneously difficult to acquire.

"It is very exciting,” said Prabhakar. “The Japanese are very advanced in science and they have a strong research culture."

From February 15 to March 9, Prabhakar will visit multiple universities in Japan, such as 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 upon the current research Prabhakar is working on at UM; research that is primed to fundamentally advance the designing 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 has been clearly highlighted by JSPS's full support of the visit. Along with collaborating and forming new connections with Japanese researchers, he will be giving research seminars as a visiting professor.

The JSPS was established with an imperial endowment in 1932. For more than 80 years, it has initiated and carried out a vast array of programs that are essential to promoting scientific research. The organization has developed itself 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 a Hemispheric University connecting, collaborating and building knowledge with organizations across the hemisphere.

“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,” he said.

By Betty Chinea


February 07, 2017