Niigata University: An Epitome Of Medical And Dental Sciences Education Built Of Fundamentals Of Distinctive, World-Class Research

By Dean, Prof. Takeyasu Maeda, DDS., Ph. D.
Dean, Prof. Takeyasu Maeda,DDS., Ph. D. From the land of the rising Sun, comes yet another higher education institute that has become synonyms with top-notch medical and dental sciences education. Niigata University operates with the ideals of autonomy and creation based on the traditions of simplicity and modesty fostered in the lofty ambition and the enterprising spirit. The university has contributed to the steady development of the region and the world through education and research as its purpose.

Niigata University seeks to train its students with a high sense of integrity and creativity, endeavoring to build a closer connection, not only with the local com-munity but also in a global society. Under Niigata University operates - the Faculty of Dentistry Niigata University which is the third-oldest national dental school in Japan and Niigata University Graduate School of Medical and Dental Sciences.

The Faculty of Dentistry Niigata University
The Faculty of Dentistry Niigata University, located in the center of Niigata City, the largest city on the west coast of Mainland Japan, was established in 1965 and is the third-oldest national dental school in Japan. “We have two programs in the Faculty of Dentistry. One is for dentists (Department of Dentistry: 6 years) and another is for Oral hygienists and social workers (Department of Oral Health and Welfare: 4 years).

At the Department of Dentistry, we provide many unique educational courses for our students using advanced and unique learning materials such as virtual slide systems for histology and pathology, virtual reality and augmented reality simulation and originally developed comprehensive simulation models for clinical skills training. To foster our students’ self-learning ability, we are adopting small group discussions, PBL, Portfolios and student’s self-assessment. In particular, efforts are being put into clinical training which is another important aspect of our teaching curriculum. In the Department of Oral Health and Welfare, the programs are provided in full PBL style”, elaborates Prof. Takeyasu Maeda, DDS., Ph.D., the Dean, Niigata University.

The aim of our programs is to train specialists with a high level of knowledge and expertise in oral care, eating and swallowing functions that can comprehensively think and manage health care, medical care, and welfare. Adding about the research activities of the institute, Prof. Maeda says, “We
conduct research on all sorts of topics in the institute including comprehensive study on the division of periodontology, biological responses against the prosthodontic treatment, the relationships between oral and general health, and the development and progression of disease, to mention a few.

We have large common labs other than individual labs for conducting most modern researches and experiments. These rooms have all sorts of advanced and high-performance experimental apparatus and machines and they are open to anyone who would want to conduct research activities.” Starting from just with 4 divisions in 1965, Faculty of Dentistry Niigata University now has 23 full-fledged divisions operating individually for the development of the society.

Niiagata University, in terms of its international contributions, is the only school in Japan that has a World Health Organization collaborating center for oral health”

Niigata University Graduate School of Medical and Dental Sciences
The Graduate School program focuses both on education and research in the field of advanced life sciences, incorporating the latest advancements in life science technology and responding to a wide range of medical challenges. The results of comprehensive research are applied to the development of medical treatment for the benefit of society.

“We provide four courses at the graduate school of Medical and Dental Sciences. One of them is the course for oral Life Science and in this course, we aim at patient comfort in such functions as eating, drinking, speaking and expressing themselves without any stress. We strive to guide the development of oral life science in a rapidly aging society.

The contents of the courses that we provide include extensive coverage of Oral Health Science, Oral Biological Science, and Tissue Regeneration and Reconstruction”, shares Prof. Katsumi Uoshima, DDS., Ph.D., Vice Dean for International Affairs, Niigata University. The Niigata University Graduate School of Medical and Dental Sciences has gained an international reputation by working in the field of mastication and swallowing. Talking further about the other research activities conducted by the institute, Prof.

Uoshima adds, “One of our research projects is to study effects of psychophysical stress on orofacial nociception and their behavior and underlying neural mechanisms. We have recently found that such stress causes functional changes in the brain such as trigeminal sub-nucleus caudalis and rostral ventromedial medulla. We also conduct researches on chewing and swallowing functions. Also, in our physiological human and animal (in vivo and vitro) study, we
investigate peripheral mechanisms of swallowing initiation and functional connection between chew and swallow.”

In terms of its international contributions, Niiagata University is the only school in Japan that has a World Health Organization collaborating center for oral health. A division of Preventive Dentistry not only provides disease prevention but is serving as a center of global oral health promotion. A focal place of what is called Glocal oral health promotions is here in Niigata where the rate of childhood caries prevalence is the lowest in Japan.

Prof. Katsumi Uoshima, DDS., Ph.D., Vice Dean

Growing Stronger Through Research-Intensive Education
The level of Japanese dentistry is thought to be quite elevated and with almost all the faculties fluent in English, Niigata University can successfully cater to the needs and meet the expectations of the international students. The students are more than welcome to consult their instructors other than the main supervisor at any time during their stay at the University. As mentioned, Niigata University conducts numerous researches on various themes and the level of those outcomes is high enough that it provides the students with the needed practical exposure and experience that will help them to thrive in their respective fields.

By offering class-leading education at a cheaper price, Niigata University makes their case strong in front of the international students’ community. Aiming to cement their position in the global education sphere, Niigata University is offering aspiring students the perfect platform to learn and grow and make the world a better place. Combining their rich history with their futuristic way of approaching education, Niigata University is making sure that they will be always at the summit of global higher education.

Dean, Prof. Takeyasu Maeda, DDS., Ph. D.
Graduated from Niigata University Faculty of Dentistry in 1984 and finished his Ph.D. program in 1988. He has worked as a chair of Oral anatomy division for a long time and currently, he is the head of Center for Advanced Oral Science.

Prof. Katsumi Uoshima, DDS., Ph.D., Vice Dean
Katsumi Uoshima Graduated from the Tokyo Medical and Dental University in 1985 and finished Ph.D. program in 1989. He has been working as a chair of Bio-Prosthodontics since 2009 and he is also the director of the Oral Implant Clinic since 2006.
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