by Kazuhiro Gomi
In November 2019, we announced a joint research agreement with the Technical University of Munich (TUM), linking our Medical & Health Informatics (MEI) Lab with the Neuroelectronics Group within TUM’s Department of Bioengineering. We then opened an office in Munich in March 2020 in support of this agreement, but due to the COVID-19 lockdown, were unable to officially register the office until June. Once that occurred, we were at last able to announce the office opening, which represents an important milestone in terms of our research initiatives and global partnership strategy.
This agreement with TUM is not the first affiliation with an organization outside of our headquarters in the US. One of our eight PHI Lab joint research agreements is with Swinburne University of Technology, located in Melbourne, Australia. Another is with 1Qbit, a quantum computing software company headquartered in Vancouver, BC, Canada. We naturally have strong ties with our parent company in Tokyo, but NTT Research is itself committed to expanding its own global footprint. In this case, Dr. Tetsuhiko Teshima, who will head the Munich office, has a dual appointment as Research Scientist in our MEI Lab and a three-year appointment as Visiting Researcher in TUM’s Neuroelectronics Group.
Dr. Teshima is a top young scientist in Japan who has made a mark in various areas of micro technologies, including bio-nano interfaces, thin-film manufacturing techniques and three-dimensional synthetic tissue and organs. These areas are fundamental to the broader MEI Lab mission of developing bio-digital twins, beginning with the cardiovascular system. To produce a precise “twin” of someone’s heart in a digital space, new types of sensory devices are required. This includes implantable devices that allow continuous data gathering without impacting the patients’ daily life. In Munich, Dr. Teshima is working in a group headed by Dr. Bernard Wolfrum, a professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering and the Munich School of BioEngineering. He is an expert in neuro- and bioelectronics.
We expect Dr. Teshima’s work in Germany on biocompatible and implantable electrodes will eventually drive further research with NTT Research colleagues first on the resultant bio-data and then on automatic predictive and diagnostic tools. As Dr. Teshima noted in this Q&A about his current research in the area of medical electrodes and sensors: “By working with the wonderful team at TUM, I hope to provide findings or engineering breakthroughs that can contribute to or accelerate this scientific and industrial trend.
The office itself is located on Otl-Aicher Strasse, a few kilometers northwest of the Englischer Garten and midway between the city center and the TUM campus, 15 km to the north. Over the next few years, NTT Research will continue to seek alliances and expansion in other locations, wherever our shared vision, capabilities and opportunities align. The goal of promoting positive change for humankind, embraced by all three of our Labs, knows no boundaries.