1. Computational biology after transcription and before translation
2. Comparative modeling
3. The influence of SNP on protein
4. The computational biology of supramolecular assemblies
Q: What kinds of research are you actually doing?
The question faced is whether to develop new methods for computational biology or use existing methods for analysis of the huge volume of molecular biology data. I think one of those styles will be followed. For a mutation found in the genome, we try to predict the kinds of changes that will be caused in protein structure, and then we try to predict the kinds of changes that will occur in proteins, cells, and organisms as a result. We have a fragmentary understanding of the kinds of processing transcribed RNA undergoes to finally reach a ribosome state, but we cannot watch the action like a movie.
We also try to predict the information flow and the material flow of this process. Or we try to predict the three-dimensional structure of the protein. In either case, it is biology performed using a computer. (Wet experiments are not done.) Students sit in front of a computer every day doing information analysis, computer programming, dissertation reading, dissertation writing, etc.
Q: What specific things can students learn in your laboratory?
If students make the effort, they become able to write computer programs and to personally manage a PC cluster. They also become able to analyze big data. Since this is a doctoral program, students must, of course, become able to write a dissertation.
Q: In what kinds of fields are students who have studied in your laboratory active?
Since my laboratory was established in the 2008 school year, we do not have very many graduates as yet. Up to now, our graduates have enrolled at the graduate schools of other universities; they have gone to work as science writers, pharmacists, public servants, and university faculty members; and they have taken jobs at national research institutes, software companies, banks, newspapers, and the intellectual property departments of private companies.
Q: Are graduate students who are working adults able to study here?
Yes, up to now, we have accepted two students who were working adults.
Q: Location of your lab?
The ideal situation is for students to do their research on the Ochanomizu University campus. For the first year, it is a good idea for students to proceed with their research on campus where there are many people they can consult with. After they become familiar with the work, they can do research from anywhere that has computer network access. While riding on the Shinkansen, I sometimes perform calculations on large volumes of data by connecting my notebook PC to a mainframe computer.。
Q: What is your opinion of the Disease Prevention Science Course lectures?
There is practical training for the learning of methods of analyzing data using a PC, and for the acquisition of basic knowledge of computational biology, there are lectures where people take turns reading. Students with a background of biology study are not used to using PCs, and students with a background of information systems study are not yet knowledgeable about biology so when they join my laboratory at graduate school, I have them study those subjects.
Q: Please say a word to students who want to enroll.
In medical biology, it is going to be essential to analyze large volumes of data. I hope that students will work hard to acquire the skills involved. It is only by actually trying to analyze large volumes of data themselves and experiencing many failures along the way that students can develop the abilities needed. If you are terrified of failing, you will not be able to do anything or learn anything. Please take the initiative in your studies without fear of failure.
For details concerning this laboratory see here