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The Institute for Virus Research, Kyoto University

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History and Outstanding Features


Since its founding in 1956, the Institute for Virus Research (IVR), Kyoto University has played a central role in the research of viruses and viral disease in Japan. Today, its research incorporates other areas of life science, such as the molecular and cell biology of host cells, in order to promote a more comprehensive understanding of virology. By studying viruses from a broad perspective that includes cell biology, genetics, and neuroscience, IVR aims to ultimately solve the mysteries of life itself. 

IVR has made many significant contributions to the advancement of virology over the years; standout among its remarkable achievements is, for example, the identification of human T-cell leukemia virus type 1 as the causative agent of adult T-cell leukemia. Research at IVR spans both basic and applied studies, including studies of the human immunodeficiency virus that causes AIDS, identification of host factors that inhibit viral infections, discovery of endogenous viruses, and development of antiviral agents. Furthermore, IVR plays an important role in the development of vaccines through the analysis of primate models. The institute continues to expand the frontiers of medicine and biology under the following guiding principles: to contribute to the establishment of a safe and secure society by eradicating the threat of viral infections, and to gain an understanding of biological phenomena at the individual and cellular level through further research of viruses. 

IVR consists of 4 departments and 3 research centers as listed below. In each of the laboratories within these departments and research centers, graduate students in the Graduate Schools of Medicine, Biostudies, Science, and Human and Environmental Studies have the opportunity to work on cutting-edge research alongside researchers at the forefront of their respective fields. 

Each year in April, IVR holds an open house where all students and faculty can gain an introduction to the research being conducted at the institute. In addition, researchers are active in presenting their latest results at weekly seminars. IVR also hosts international symposiums annually. 

*Information on the latest IVR research can be found here:

Facts and Figures