What you’ll consider in this area
The novel coronavirus pandemic is set to radically transform society. In addition to the development of vaccines and treatments for the disease, the creation of a safe society in which we can coexist with viruses is a key challenge. Amid behavioral constraints due to the pandemic, fears about infection, and anxiety about poverty, we need to examine how we think and act in response to the pandemic through the prism of cognitive science.
There are countless issues around us relating to humans and life that we need to solve, including not only infectious disease, but also problems relating to medical care and welfare in a super-aging society and challenges arising from aging populations and declining birthrates in developed countries. At the same time, we also need to address such issues as population explosion on a global scale, global warming and health problems arising from environmental pollution, and food crises triggered by extreme weather conditions. In the Humans and Life area, you will consider these social problems from the perspective of humans and life.
What you can learn in this area
To tackle issues relating to humans, such as how humans address threats to health and how to maintain mental and physical health, it is necessary to understand not only the molecular and chemical functions of life, including genes and proteins, but also human decision-making and mental activity. Accordingly, you will study basic biology, including molecular cell biology, physiology, and biochemistry, as well as human science, with a focus on cognitive science, neuroscience, and bioethics, among others.
You will examine various social problems—among them climate change, pandemics, food problems, environmental pollution, stressful societies, medical care, and welfare—from the molecular and cellular level, including genes and proteins, or from the human level, using such techniques as behavior analysis and functional neuroimaging. You will then learn how to solve those problems.
Features of this area
In the Humans and Life area, you will work on solving a variety of social issues such as the following, based on basic research in the fields of life science, cognitive neuroscience, and neuroscience, in conjunction with knowledge from the fields of agricultural science, pharmacology, medicine, engineering, information science, educational studies, economics, and sociology.
- Unraveling the functions of cytoskeletal proteins, which will lead to the development of drugs that can improve health and agriculture
- Using molecular biology to understand the mechanisms of human growth and aging
- The impacts on metabolic physiology of heat stress due to global warming
- The impacts of environmental pollution on organisms
- Using biological techniques to solve food crises
- Dealing with various aspects of society via the mechanisms of perception and decision-making
- Using visualization of brain function and behavioral analysis to assist in the areas of developmental disorders and mental health