Miraikan - National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation

Tokyo, Japan World Biotech Tour 2015


Miraikan made a call for students to submit applications to join the ambassador program. Candidates wrote about their interest in biotechnology and topics they would like to research. Five talented secondary school students were selected from different schools in the Tokyo area.

Photo by Miraikan

Training and Exchanges

Ambassadors researched, conducted original experiments, and developed presentations for their biotech topics. The students met and interviewed experts in the field, worked with Miraikan Science Communicators on their presentations, and also had extra sessions to practice presenting in English.

Photos by Miraikan

Photos by Miraikan

While researching and training on their presentations, the ambassadors were also able to visit the Biogen office in Tokyo, Japan. The students were able to tour the office space, hear presentations from Biogen employees, and gain valuable insight on their biotech topics and how to pursue a STEM career.

Photos by Miraikan

ASTC hosted several online exchanges between the ambassadors so that the students from different countries could meet and learn from each other. Exchanges included science communication exercises, Q&A, and updates on the WBT events and activities occurring at each site.

Photo by ASTC


Miraikan hosted the festival from the 3rd-9th of August, 2015 at the science centre. During the weekdays, students and families visited many of the biotech activities. On Saturday August 8th during the WBT festival at the Miraikan museum, the students presented their interim projects in English in front of media and dignitaries such as Tony Kingsley (EVP Global Commercial Operations), Steve Sugino (President and Representative Director, Biogen Japan), Bud Rock (CEO of ASTC) and Mamoru Mohri (CEO of Miraikan).

Photos by ASTC and Miraikan

Following the ambassador presentations, an official ceremony took place to welcome the WBT to Japan. The ceremony featured the World Biotech Tour trophy and other special speakers, including a science cafe presentation by brain scientist Dr. Atsushi Miyawaki.

Throughout the week at Miraikan, a number of activities took place to engage museum visitors and increase their interest in science. These activities included a ‘Scavenger Hunt’ which encouraged children to find clues throughout the museum exhibits, the ‘science café’, an opportunity for visitors to listen to local scientists talk about topics of interest, and a ‘Lab-in-a-box’ where visitors could have a go at table-top experiments.

Photos by ASTC and Miraikan

Biogen Japan employees from their Tokyo office volunteered for the Biogen ‘PTC’ experiment, designed to investigate the genetics of taste by testing participant’s ability to taste ‘bitterness’, sometime to the distasteful surprise of many young testers.. More than 250 people took part in the test and were grouped into ‘super-tasters’ (17.6%), ‘tasters’ (59.2%) and ‘non-tasters’ (23.1%).

This type of experiment helps Biogen’s work in personalized medicine as they seek to understand how genetic variation influences what diseases an individual may get and how those diseases might be treated.

Photos by ASTC

Along with the WBT biotech activities, Miraikan also offered members biotech-themed workshops led by university researchers in the museum's laboratories and ambassadors surveyed visitors for their research projects, such people's opinion on the communication of the influenza vaccine.

Photos by ASTC


In the months leading up to and following the festival, Miraikan was able to showcase the World Biotech Tour at other community events and schools, including: Japan Science Museum Assocation (JASMA), Tokyo International Exchange Center (TIEC), Nagano City Youth Science Museum, Saku Children's Science Dome for the Future, Kashihara Children's Science Museum, Tachibana astronimcal observatory, and Yamanashi Prefectural Science Center.

Photos by Miraikan

SCWS2017 Ambassador

The museum staff selected ambassador Mao Hattori to represent Miraikan at the 2017 Science Centre World Summit based on several aspects, including the student's level of activity in the program, biotech presentation at the Science Agora event, and overall enthusiasm for science communication to name a few. Mao will join 11 other ambassadors in presenting biotech activities and topics during the world summit in Tokyo, Japan.

Photos by Miraikan

To give Mao an opportunity to experience the science and culture of another WBT location, the Montreal Science Centre hosted Mao, Kanami (Mao's WBT mentor), and Mao's family in an exchange with the Montreal ambassadors in Canada. The visit also included a tour of the Montreal Science Centre and other attractions in the area.

Photo by Montreal Science Centre

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