AFTERSHOPS (2/7- 10:00~)

The aftershop is an assembly of small group discussion held on the final day (2/7, 10:00-11:30, 1:30-) of the symposium week to follow up on various research topics or questions that spontaneously arose during the symposium’s discussion session.

  • Topic 1: Catalysis in reaction networks (ELSI1 Rm205, near the staircase)
  • Topic 2: Catalyst for the origin of life: molecules and functions (ELSI AGORA)
  • Topic 3: Catalysis in geo/bio: continuous progression or independent? (ELSI1 Rm207)


For those who can't access an embedded video, please access the livestream here.


We encourage you all to click HERE or type ELSI2020wall at https://www.sli.do/ to take short time and address the question "How do you interpret the concept of catalysis?" or simply share your thoughts about the symposium topics.

During the presentation, click HERE or type ELSI2020 at https://www.sli.do/ to question the speaker.

For group discussion please use the given hash tag: #ELSI2020group1 #ELSI2020group2 #ELSI2020group3 #ELSI2020group4 #ELSI2020group5 #ELSI2020group6


How do we interpret the concept of catalysis? Is catalysis understood differently across disciplines?

Catalysis (/kəˈtæləsɪs/) is the process of increasing the rate of a chemical reaction by adding a substance known as a catalyst (/ˈkætəlɪst/), which is not consumed in the catalyzed reaction and can continue to act repeatedly. -- Wikipedia

The GOAL of this symposium is to bring together researchers from various fields to extend our views of catalysis; to link theoretical, experimental, and computational approaches to better understand the phenomenon known as "Catalysis" and the complexity that we observe on Earth and beyond.

GROUP DISCUSSION (Feb 5th, 15:30-17:00)

  • Please check the number printed on your name tag. That is your group number
  • Useful comments and Questions regarding "catalysis" came up during the symposium can be accessed from HERE!
  • We ask each group to come up with a new research theme or a new Interdisciplinary approach to address questions found in the above link, or raised during the discussion.
  • Please select two people from each group, one person to summarize what has been discussed and conclusion reached, and another person to join the panel discussion on Thursday to represent the group


Dates: Monday-Friday, 3-7 February, 2020


  • Earth-Life Science Institute: Ishikawadai Building #7 (ELSI-1) and #8 (ELSI-2), Ookayama Campus, Tokyo Institute of Technology, Meguro, Tokyo, Japan.
  • Digital Hall: West #9 Building, Ookayama Campus, Tokyo Institute of Technology, Meguro, Tokyo, Japan

Scientific Organizing Committee: Ryuhei Nakamura (co-chair), Kosuke Fujishima (co-chair), Yamei Li, Irena Mamajanov, Kristin Johnson, Christine Hernlund, Tony Jia, Ruiqin Yi, Harrison Smith

Local Organizing Committee: Ryuhei Nakamura, Kosuke Fujishima, Thilina Heenatigala, Kyoko Akiyama, Asako Sato


Shuji Akiyama (Institute for Molecular Science, NINS)

Shuji Nakanishi (Osaka University)

Joel Ager (University of California, Berkeley)

Takafumi Ueno (Tokyo Institute of Technology)

Carmen Gaina (University of Oslo)

John Hernlund (Earth-Life Science Institute)

Yoshiya Ikawa (Toyama University)

Irena Mamajanov (Earth-Life Science Institute)

Yan Qiao (Chinese Academy of Sciences)

Sheref Mansy (University of Alberta)

Jill McDermott (Lehigh University)

Bénédicte Menez (Institut de Physique du Globe de Paris)

Toshiko Ichiye (Georgetown University)

Eric Smith (Earth-Life Science Institute)

Tomoko Matsuda (Tokyo Institute of Technology)

Benjamin Carbonnier (Université Paris-Est Créteil Val de Marnee)


All attendees are requested to fill the following registration form, this will (1) tell us how to list your name and affiliation for your badge, (2) inform us whether you will attend the banquet so that we know how much food and drink to order, (3) allow you to submit a poster abstract if you wish to do so, and (4) give you an opportunity to inform us about any special needs or assistance you may require. There is no registration fee for this event (although there will be a separate charge to attend the optional banquet).

NOTE: Registration is now closed.


Our poster session will be lively and active events, and an integral part of the symposium. We will expect to have your poster set up throughout the Main symposium (Tuesday - Thursday). No poster numbers and presentation time slots are assigned, thus we all expect to have an organic interaction and discussions during each poster session.

Poster display boards and necessary attachment hardware will be provided at ELSI-1 Gallery from Feb 3rd (Mon) late afternoon.

For those who have submitted an abstract, you are qualified for the poster presentation, please bring a poster with you! Our poster boards are optimized for A0 size in portrait orientation (841 mm wide × 1189 mm tall).

*Note: Poster abstract submission is now closed)


2/3- Monday Afternoon (Early career researcher's day)

  • *12:00 - 13:00 Early Career Researcher's Day registration
  • *13:00 - 14:00 Ice breaker & Flash talks (ELSI-1 Mishima hall)
  • *14:00 - 14:30 Coffee break (ELSI-1 Agora)
  • *14:30 - 15:40 Keynote lecture by Hideshi Ooka (RIKEN) and Kristin Johnson (ELSI) and group discussions (ELSI-1 Mishima hall)
  • *15:40 - 16:30 Break out (ELSI-1 Mishima hall)
  • 16:30 - 17:15 ELSI-1 Lab tour (Starting from ELSI-1 Mishima hall, open to all symposium attendees)
  • 17:15 - 19:30 Mixer event / Discussion (ELSI-1 Agora, open to all symposium attendees)

Events with "*" indicate students and early career researchers only

2/4- Tuesday (Main symposium)

  • 9:00 - 10:00 Main symposium registration
  • 10:00 - 10:30 Introduction by the organizing committee / opening remarks by Mary Voytek (Executive Director, ELSI)
  • 10:30 - 11:30 Keynote lecture by Shuji Akiyama (Institute for Molecular Science, NINS)

"Cyanobacterial circadian clock system through the chemistry of rhythm, structure, and evolutionary diversity"

  • 11:30 - 13:00 Lunch
  • 13:00 - 15:00 Session 1: Catalysis for Material Organization (Digital Hall)

13:00 - 13:15 Session 1 introduction by the session chair

13:15 - 13:50 Shuji Nakanishi (Osaka University)

"Spatio-temporal Symmetry Breaking in Electrochemical Reactions"

13:50 - 14:25 Joel Ager (University of California, Berkeley)

"Cascade catalysis for carbon dioxide reduction"

14:25 - 15:00 Takafumi Ueno (Tokyo Institute of Technology)

"Artifical enzymes using protein assemblies"

  • 15:00 - 15:15 Coffee break (Digital Hall)
  • 15:15 - 16:45 Session 2: The tar problem in planetary dynamics (Digital Hall)

15:15 - 15:25 Session 2 introduction by the session chair

15:25 - 16:05 John Hernlund (Earth-Life Science Institute)

"Life on a sub-critical planet"

16:05 - 16:45 Carmen Gaina (University of Oslo)

"Life’s stepping stones"

  • 16:45 - 18:00 Poster session (ELSI-1 Gallery)

2/5- Wednesday (Main symposium)

  • 9:30 - 11:30 Session 3: Polymer and Biopolymer driven Catalysis (Digital Hall)

9:30 - 9:45 Session 3 introduction by the session chair

9:45 - 10:20 Yoshiya Ikawa (Toyama University)

"Dense self-assembly of RNA enzymes as a possible proto-cellular form in the RNA world"

10:20 - 10:55 Irena Mamajanov (Earth-Life Science Institute)

"Catalysis in Chemical Evolution: Messy Views on Catalysis"

10:55 - 11:30 Sheref Mansy (University of Alberta)

"Ancient Iron-sulfur Peptides"

  • 11:30 - 13:30 Lunch
  • 13:30 - 15:00 Session 4: Geology and Geochemistry of Catalytic Materials (Digital Hall)

13:30 - 13:40 Session 4 introduction by the session chair

13:40 - 14:20 Jill McDermott (Lehigh University)

"Catalysis in Aqueous Hydrothermal Environments"

14:20 - 15:00 Bénédicte Menez (Institut de Physique du Globe de Paris)

"Mineral-assisted organic synthesis in the oceanic lithosphere"

  • 15:00 - 15:30 Coffee break (ELSI1, Agora)
  • 15:30 - 17:00 Group Discussion (ELSI1, various rooms, check your name tag for grouping)
  • 17:00 - 18:00 Poster session (ELSI-1 Gallery)
  • After - Taiko performance by Yukigaya taiko (Mishima Hall) followed by Banquet (ELSI-1 Agora)

* Banquet fee will be collected by ELSI staff at on-site registration desk (please bring cash)

(Professors: 7000 yen, Other employees: 5000 yen, Students: 2000 yen, Child: Free)

2/6- Thursday (Main symposium)

  • 9:30 - 10:00 Feedback on Group Discussion: 5 min / group (Digital Hall)
  • 10:00 - 11:30 Session 5: Catalysis through theory and computation (Digital Hall)

10:00 - 10:10 Session 5 introduction by the session chair

10:10 - 10:50 Toshiko Ichiye (Georgetown University)

"Understanding the Effects of Extreme Conditions on Enzymes via Molecular Dynamics Simulations"

10:50 - 11:30 Eric Smith (Earth-Life Science Institute)

"Catalysis in networks and by networks: creating new relations among entropy, heat, information, and robustness"

  • 11:30 - 13:30 Lunch
  • 13:30 - 15:00 Session 6: Catalysis in extreme: implications to Astrobiology (Digital Hall)

13:30 - 13:40 Session 6 introduction by the session chair

13:40 - 14:20 Tomoko Matsuda (Tokyo Institute of Technology)

"Enzymatic reaction using pressurized carbon dioxide for green sustainable organic synthesis"

14:20 - 15:00 Benjamin Carbonnier (Université Paris-Est Créteil Val de Marnee)

"Miniaturization and flow chemistry: Successful wedding towards extreme environments applications?"

  • 15:00 - 15:30 Coffee break
  • 15:30 - 16:45 Poster session (ELSI-1 Gallery)
  • 16:45 - 18:00 Panel discussion for group discussion follow-up / deciding aftershop themes (ELSI-1 Agora)

2/7- Friday (Aftershops)

  • 10:00 - 11:30 Follow-up discussions on unsolved scientific questions raised during the symposium (ELSI1, various rooms)
  • 11:30 - 13:30 Lunch
  • 13:30 - Follow-up discussions (ELSI1, various rooms)
  • 17:30 - Social hour


Prior to the main symposium, we will have a half-day event just for graduate students and early-career postdocs (Less than 5 years after receiving their PhD) to present their research in the form of a flash talk, keynote lectures and breakout discussion sessions. However, we will have a lab tour and a social mixer event at the end of the same day which will be open to all symposium attendees. Note: Travel grant deadline has passed and awardees has been decided. Thank you for those who applied.


To all the attendees of the ECRD, we will have a flash talk event from 13:00 to 14:00. For this flash talk event, we encourage all the attendees to prepare a single introduction slide explaining about yourself and your research interest (Powerpoint or PDF format) and please send it to the given email address: yamei.li@elsi.jp by Feb 1st (JST). We will integrate all the slides into one ppt document and have each person to present 1-2 minutes.


During the main symposium, we will hold a public lecture entitled Extremophiles -Enchanted by Mystery of Life- at Digital Hall, Tokyo Institute of Technology on Feb 4th (Tue) from 19:00- 20:30. While we expect mainly general public attendees, symposium attendees are also welcome to join.

Please click HERE for more details.


The 8th ELSI Symposium will be held in Digital Hall and ELSI-1on the Ookayama Campus of the Tokyo Institute of Technology, in Meguro, Tokyo, Japan. Please refer to the Google Map below for detailed locations.

  • Lectures and sessions involving all participants will be held at Digital Hall, near the entrance of the campus close to Ookayama Station.
  • Poster Sessions will be held at the ELSI Gallery in the ELSI-1 building.
  • Group Discussions will be held at ELSI-1.
  • The registration desk is held at Digital Hall throughout the symposium (open from 9:30-11:00)
  • ELSI Tour (Monday, February 3rd) will launch from the Agora in ELSI-1, (starting from 16:30-)
  • Symposium Banquet (Wednesday, February 5th) will be held at Agora in ELSI-1.


We recommend you to book a hotel either near Oimachi station (you can take the Tokyu Oimachi line to Ookayama station), Gotanda station or Kamata station (you can take the Tokyu Ikegami line to Ishikawadai station). For your reference, some of the hotels are highlighted on the map.


Harassment of any kind will not be tolerated. All event attendees and staff have the right to a space that is free of all forms of discrimination, harassment, bullying, and/or retaliation. Participants who are requested to stop any harassing behaviour are expected to comply immediately. If you wish to report harassment, suspect that someone else is being harassed, or have any other concerns, please contact a member of the organizing committee as soon as possible.


Please contact ELSI symposium organizers if you have any questions:

sympo8 [at] elsi.jp *replace at with @