The Seventh Cambridge-UTokyo Joint Symposium: Session 3 Biotechnology and Governance

Monday 08:00-10:00 GMT, 1700-1900 JST
Guided by the topics of "Biotechnology" and "Governance", scholars from Cambridge and UTokyo will explore various aspects of introducing biotechnology into society.
Discussions include the governance of new and emerging biotechnology by Dr. Matsuo, CSER’s work on horizon-scanning and synthetic biology by Dr. Sundaram, global international processes related to biodiversity, land use over multiple generations, and the challenge of science-related policymaking by Dr. Kohsaka, and various possible future pathways of biosecurity governance by Dr. Hobson.

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Yee-Kuang Heng
Graduate School of Public Policy
The University of Tokyo
Yee-Kuang HENG is Professor at the Graduate School of Public Policy, University of Tokyo. After graduating from the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) with a B.Sc. (First Class Honours) and PhD in International Relations, he taught at Trinity College Dublin in Ireland, the University of St Andrews in Scotland, and the National University of Singapore. He works at the intersection between risk, Security Studies and International Relations. As Visiting Researcher at Cambridge University’s Centre for the Study of Existential Risks (CSER), he studies capacity-building and how the “futures ecosystem” in the British government interacts with academic and non-profit organisations.


Makiko Matsuo
Project Associate Professor
Graduate School of Public Policy
The University of Tokyo
Makiko Matsuo, Ph.D., is currently serving as Project Associate Professor at the Graduate School of Public Policy, the University of Tokyo, where she engages in teaching and research on topics within Science, Technology, and Innovation Governance.
Her areas of concern are interdisciplinary in nature and covers such analysis framework/approach as ELSI (Ethical, Legal, Social Implication/Issue), technology assessment, science technology policy studies, governance research (technology governance, global health governance), risk research (risk governance, risk regulation, international harmonization). Applied field of study are new biotechnology (genome-editing etc), food safety and global health.

Lalitha Sundaram
Centre for the Study of Existential Risk (CSER)
Cambridge University
Lalitha’s research at CSER is in the area of bio-risk, with a particular emphasis on emerging biotechnologies. Past projects have explored biosafety and biosecurity in DIY-bio laboratories, and GM regulatory policy ‘beyond containment’. Her current work explores risks at the convergence of emerging capabilities such as biotechnology and AI/ML. Before joining CSER, Lalitha worked on Responsible Research and Innovation in synthetic biology at the University of Cambridge, and then held a fellowship at King’s College London on the opportunities and challenges facing emerging biotechnologies seeking to tackle global health challenges. Lalitha holds a PhD in Pathology from the University of Cambridge.

Ryo Kohsaka
Department of Forest Science
Graduate School of Agricultural and Life Sciences
The University of Tokyo
Ryo Kohsaka is a professor in the Graduate School of Agricultural and Life Science at The University of Tokyo. He holds a doctoral degree of natural science from Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg, Germany. His research interests include natural resource management, landscape approach and geographical indications in agriculture and forestry field.
Dr. Ryo Kohsaka earned his bachelor’s in Rural Development at Faculty of Agriculture, the University of Tokyo (UT). After graduating from the UT, he served as Project Officer at the Regional Environmental Centre for Central and Eastern Europe in Hungary. He then earned his master’s in Environment and Development at the University of East Anglia in 2000 and his doctoral degree (Doktor der Naturwissenschaften), University of Freiburg – Albert-Ludwigs-Universität in 2004. He worked for the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity, Montréal from 2006 to 2008. He taught with full-time appointments at Nagoya City University, Kanazawa University, Tohoku University and Nagoya University before joining the University of Tokyo.

Tom Hobson
Research Fellow
Centre for the Study of Existential Risk (CSER)
Cambridge University
Tom is a Research Fellow at the Centre for the Study of Existential Risk. His research is concerned with understanding how expert communities and policy actors imagine the future, and how they endeavour to secure a particular vision of the future through technology and innovation. Practically, his work centres on the governance of emerging technologies, biotechnology and biosecurity.
Tom has a background in International Relations & STS, having completed his PhD within the Centre for War & Technology Studies at the University of Bath. He is also an Associate Fellow at the BioRISC Initiative at St Catharine's College, University of Cambridge.