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Faculty of Medicine

Educating medical personnel who treat patients using a holistic approach,
Unraveling the mysteries of the systems that sustain human life,
And breaking new ground in the areas of medical science and treatment – we are the Faculty of Medicine.

Overview

Overview

     What first comes to mind when you hear the words “Faculty of Medicine”? Perhaps it’s the figure of a doctor wearing a white coat and holding a stethoscope. Or maybe you think of researchers shaking test tubes around in a laboratory. In actuality, the field of medical science spans far beyond these perceptions, covering an extremely wide range of topics. Medical science as an academic discipline is ultimately concerned with using scientific research methods to treat illnesses contracted by, and contribute to the overall health of, human beings. In order to fulfill these objectives, areas addressed in medical science range from those on molecular and cellular levels to internal organ and individual person levels, all the way to topics that involve society or the world as a whole.

     A large portion of studies in the Faculty of Medicine is concerned with clinical medicine. The majority of students in this Faculty, in fact, aim to become clinical doctors. The ultimate subject of all studies in clinical medicine comes down to one human being: the patient. Of course, clinical doctors must possess knowledge of the human body on a molecular level as well as an advanced understanding of organs. Just as important, however, is being constantly aware of the fact that the subject of one’s studies or treatments is a human being with a personality, and is therefore not all that different from you. A clinical doctor’s responsibility is to take a patient, who is a human being just like herself or himself, and help them to recover from whatever illness or disease that is affecting them. Advancements in the field of medical science are continuously being made, and the high level of knowledge and latest techniques gained from these advancements contribute greatly to helping patients recover from illnesses. Utilizing these new techniques and expert knowledge for the sake of helping patients is what brings clinical doctors the most joy. Nevertheless, illnesses, as explained later, at times become so overbearing that they control our fates, leaving medical science powerless to do anything to treat or prevent them. In such cases, we identify the mechanisms of these illnesses and develop new methods of treatment for them. By doing so, we can be prepared to fight against these illnesses when they appear again in future patients. However, this process is by no means successful every time. As fellow human beings who share the same eventual fate of death, it must be said that one of a clinical doctor’s duties is to protect the dignity of their patients.   

     In order to accomplish the goals set forth by medical science, research on the molecular and cellular level is necessary. In the time period when bacterial research was at the forefront of the medical field, the science surrounding pathogenic bacteria advanced by leaps and bounds. However, Fleming’s discovery of penicillin, which showed that curing any infection was possible in principle, came 50 years after this research. Studies in medical science are currently centered on molecular biology. Taking this past account into consideration, it is expected to take a long time for the results of molecular biology research to actually manifest in clinical medicine.

     As can be seen, though it may seem indirectly related or unrelated to treating illnesses, conducting basic research is both necessary and vital in order to contribute significantly to medical science. Basic research requires an understanding of biological phenomena on molecular and cellular levels. Furthermore, with the recent addition of gene manipulation as a research topic, questions of how changes on the molecular level affect an individual organism’s composition and behavior are now being asked. This kind of research, which bridges the molecular level to the individual level, has increased greatly in recent years.

     Meanwhile, involvement with society and the entire world are also topics that fall within the wide-ranging domain of medical science. The subject area that covers these kinds of topics is called social medicine. As social medicine is concerned with pressing issues such as changes in disease proportions, an aging population, industrial waste and its effects on health, and the difference in health between advanced and developing countries, research in this area of study will continue to become more and more of a necessity. Also, changes in society have brought about the need for a reform of nursing education, which is currently being implemented. Accordingly, the Faculty is making great efforts to train talented people who will be capable of managing and teaching in high-quality nursing education programs.

      As explained above, the Faculty of Medicine covers a wide range of subjects, spanning from the molecular to the global level.

     One more special characteristic of medical science that bears mentioning is that there is no end to medical science. Until the middle of the 20th century, many deaths were due to infectious diseases, and the average life expectancy did not even reach 50 years. With a major decrease in deaths from these diseases due to the discovery of antibiotics, hypertensive intracerebral hemorrhage and other similar forms of strokes became the leading cause of death. With progress made in treating high blood pressure and strokes, deaths due to strokes have decreased, making cancer the current leading cause of death. This cycle can continue to be applied to the present day. If, for instance, a groundbreaking new treatment for cancer that reduced death rates were developed, the current second and third leading causes of death (arteriosclerotic strokes and heart attacks) would become the next big illnesses to face. And if cures were found for those illnesses, perhaps Alzheimer’s disease and other age-related illnesses would take center stage. In other words, solving one problem leads to the next difficult problem appearing. This cycle is one of the major characteristics defining medical science.

     We sincerely hope that many of you who are reading this are interested in medical science and want to join us in our fight against illness!
 

Departments

Departments

School of Medicine
School of Integrated Health Sciences

Type of Degrees

School of Medicine: Bachelor of Medicine
School of Integrated Health Sciences: Bachelor of Health Sciences

 

Contact

Academic Affairs, Administrative Department: kyomu AT m.u-tokyo.ac.jp

Office of International Cooperation and Exchange: koryu2f AT m.u-tokyo.ac.jp

Website

Faculty-related Information: The University of Tokyo Hospital

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