Professors and Projects

  • Professor/Doctor of Science Asahi, Toru Development of Chiral Recognition Methods and Their Applications to Interdisciplinary Scientific Fields
    Optical, electromagnetic, and physicochemical properties of various chiral substances are investigated from an interdisciplinary scientific view point. Advanced studies on chiroptical properties such as optical activity and circular dichroism are focused on, aiming at applications of the unique optical apparatus, the Generalized High Accuracy Universal Polaimeter (abbreviated as G-HAUP), to medical optics. Chiral film such as amino acid films are developed and chiral recognition mechanism using them is investigated. The scientific fact that a human body consists only of proteins with L-body amino acids and DNA with D-body sugars, we call it the mystery of homochrality, is well known.
    We are challenging to reveal out the origin of homochirality.
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  • Professor, M.D., Ph.D. Inoue, Takafumi Information processing in the Neuron
    My target is to understand how the higher functions of the central nervous system are organized by the molecular mechanisms and intracellular signaling pathways in neurons using electrophysiology combined with imaging techniques as well as molecular biological methods on brain slice preparations and cultured neurons. I focus on the molecular basis of synaptic plasticity by quantitative measurements of spatio-temporal dynamics of intracellular signaling pathways confined in compartments of neural dendrites.
    Projects
    • Regulation of calcium oscillation by the primary cilia of astrocytes
    • Establishment of detection mehtod and analysis of the dynamics of endogenous RNA in the neuronal dendrites
    • Dynamics of soluble proteinss in subcompartments of neurons with simultaneous multi-point fluorescence correlation spectroscopy
    • Electrophysiological analysis of the function of a cyclin-dependent kinase in the cerebellar Purkinje cell
    • Membrane potential imaging of neurons with voltage sensitive dyes
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  • Professor, MD, PhD Ohshima, Toshio Research on molecular mechanisms of brain formation and development
    Our research goal is to understand the molecular mechanisms of neuronal differentiation, brain wiring and functional development of our brain. For this purpose, we analyze the functions of the genes which are involved in the brain development using mice and zebrafish as model animals. We use the results from these studies to develop the novel therapeutic approaches of neuronal regeneration. We further study the molecular mechanisms of higher brain functions such as learning, memory and emotion. These studies will help us to understand the molecular and cellular mechanisms of neuropsychiatric disorders and contribute to develop the novel therapeutic methods of these human disorders.
    Projects
    • Functional analysis of Cdk5 in Purkinje cells of mouse cerebellum
    • Development of monitoring system of Cdk5 activity and its application
    • Analysis of expression pattern of NSC markers in optic tectum of adult zebrafish
    • Effect of VPA in the formation of nervous system of zebrafish embryo
    • Analysis of role of CRMP2 and CRMP4 in nervous system of zebrafish embryo
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  • Professor, MD, PhD Goda, Nobuhito Research on pathological significance of hypoxic response in metabolic diseases
    High calorie intakes and low physical activity cause metabolic diseases such as obesity, diabetes, and fatty liver, which are tightly associated with and considered as risk factors for cancer, cardiac infarction, and stroke. Numbers of patients suffering from the metabolic diseases are rapidly increasing in Japan and worldwide, but effective pharmacological interventions are limited. In our research, we focus on “hypoxia”, a common hallmark of metabolic diseases and try to elucidate the importance of hypoxic response in the development and progression of the diseases using gene-modified animals such as mice and drosophila. Our final goal is to establish new therapeutic against the metabolic diseases by investigating molecular mechanisms in detail.
    Projects
    • Hypoxic responses in metabolic diseases
    • Metabolism, inflammation, and fibrosis in human liver diseases
    • Metabolic regulation of cell differentiation
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  • Associate Professor/Ph.D. Sato, Masamitsu Understanding Cell Division Mechanisms by Microtubules
    Cell division is one of the most basic cellular phenomena everyone knows. Our body consists of a large number of cells, which were originated from a single fertilized cell by repeating so many times of cell division. If a cell undergoes wrong division, the cell may be killed, may alternatively result in a failure in body development or may cause cancer. In addition, abnormalities in division of germ cells may cause birth defects including trisomy such as Down syndrome. It is therefore important to understand how cell division is orchestrated by which factors. We mainly use fission yeast as a model organism to address the question. We have been established the live-cell imaging system through which we can visualise proteins or cellular organelles of interst with three colours of fluorescent protins (GFP/RFP/CFP). We have found that meiotic microtubules play a meiosis-specific essential function to produce yeast gametes (Nature Cell Biol. 2013). We are now trying to translate our knowledge and experience into analyses in higher organisms.
    Projects
    • How microtubules are reorganised during the cell cycle
    • Functional analysis of microtubules specifically formed at meiosis I onset in fission yeast
    • How microtubules attach kinetochores in mitosis and in meiosis
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  • Ph.D. Semba, Kentaro Discovery and functional analysisi of cancer-associated genes
    Many genes are thought to be involved in human cancer. Discovery and functional analysis of cancer-associated genes is necessary to understand how cancer cells continuously grow and metastasize. Purpose of our research is to discover novel oncogenes using genomics and proteomics techniques and to analyze their functions towards the development of efficacious targeted therapeutics.
    Projects
    • Retinoic acid receptor alpha (RARα) induces epithelial-mesenchymal transition(EMT) and promotes cell migration
    • Identification of the ERBB2-dependent transforming activity of GRB7
    • Identification of a novel oncogene by systematic screening using NMuMG immortalized epithelial cells and a full-length cDNA expression library
    • Optical properties of salicylideneaniline microcrystals with photomechanical functions
    • Identification of Smad2-binding proteins by mass spectrometry
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  • Professor/Doctor of Engineering Takeoka, Shinji Challenge in Artificial Blood and Nanoadhesive Plasters
    Research in our group is directed towards the assembling structures and cooperative phenomena of functional lipids (phospholipids, glycolipids, aminolipids, peptidelipids, PEG-lipids), polymers (water-soluble polymers, polyelectrolytes), proteins and supramolecules in the aim of creation of functional nanodevices.
    The construction of nanosheet with a few tens nanometer has succeeded by using biopolymers and nanotechnologies. The basic properties and functions as nanoadhesive plasters are explored for medical applications.
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  • Associate Professor Takeda, Naoya Development of novel biomaterials, micro/nano biodevices and integration of these technologies for applications to cell manipulation and tissue engineering
    The cells in human body are about 10 μm scale and range over more than 200 species. These cells adhere to each other or to extracellular matrices and assemble to be integrated into finely structured three-dimensional tissues and organs to realize the various functions. Interaction with these surrounding microenvironment affect the cell’s behaviors and characters (e.g. shape, motility, location, proliferation, differentiation), depending on the property and/or topography of the adjacent cells and materials.
    Aiming at manipulation of individual small cell, fabrication of engineered tissue from cells and application of these technologies to regenerative medicine, development of novel biomaterials and micro/nano biodevices are studied in my laboratory. In particular, creation of the micro/nano structured biointerface is focused to regulate celluar behaviors and functions including shape, migration, adhesion/de-adhision, polarization and differentiation just by culturing thereon (i.e. without applying biosignaling factors). Moreover, we study spatiotemporally configuring cells to generate cellular networks or three-dimensional tissues (e.g. nerve, blood vessel, muscle, tendon) by using polymer scaffolds and microfluidic devices.
    Projects
    • Fabrication of Three-Dimensional Engineered Tissues (muscle, nerve, tendon) Based on Uniformly Oriented Polymeric Microfibrous Scaffolds
    • Co-axial Double Layered Three-Dimensional Laminar Flow Microfluidic Device for Cell-Embedded Gel Fiber Formation and Its Application to Tissue Fabrication
    • Creation of Micro/Nano Structured Biointerface (Surface Interacting with Cells) for Harnessing Cell Abilities and Behaviors Including Polarity, Migration and Stem Cell Differentiation
    • Advanced Thermoresponsive Polymer Surfaces for Development of Cell Sheet Engineering and Application to Cell Separating System
    • Creation of Novel Polymer Biomaterials and Biointerfaces and Dynamic Regulation of Material Properties with External Stimuli
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  • Marine Biotechnology: Marine Genome and Utilization Takeyama, Haruko Marine Biotechnology: Marine Genome and Utilization
    Most of microorganisms in environments including marine environment are unculturable.
    We have exploited these treasures by screening useful genes and creation of new recombinant organisms in the application of medical, catalytic and environmental conservation purposes.
    High-throughput DNA detection system employing nano-sized biomagnetites has also been developed and applied to discriminate human disease-associated genes including signal nucleotide polymorphisms (SNP) and identify species of organisms.
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  • Functional Analysis and Structure Control of Biofilm Tsuneda, Satoshi Functional Analysis and Structure Control of Biofilm
    Many microorganisms in nature tend to adhere to solid-1iquid interfaces, such as surface of a stone in a river, bottom of a ship, and inner surface of a water pipe, and form biofilm as a thick layer of microbial cells. Even in a human body, biofilm exists as an oral plaque. Although biofilm causes infectious disease and food poisoning, regulation of biofilm is difficult because of lack of information on its structure and function.
    We study microbial ecology of biofilm by molecular analysis and also simulate its formation and dynamics by mathematical analysis.
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