Disease Prevention Science Course Research
1. Elucidating mechanisms controlling formation of the liver and brain
2. Elucidating mechanisms controlling expression of liver and brain functions
3. Elucidating mechanisms controlling homeostasis of the liver and brain
Q: What kinds of research are you actually doing?
In our lab we use mice and medaka/zebra fish as our model organisms. From the perspective of information exchange (signal transmission), we are using a wide range of experimental methods (developmental engineering, genetics, cell biology, biochemistry, molecular biology, etc.) to perform research aimed at clarifying the answer to the question: “What kinds of mechanisms are used in formation of the sophisticated cellular societies of the liver and brain, and how are the liver and brain maintained as functional organs?”
Q: What specific things can students learn in your laboratory?
The formation (development/regeneration), function expression, and homeostasis of complex cellular societies can be considered a truly fascinating aspect of life. For this reason, we dissect and analyze life phenomena at a molecular level of resolution, but students acquire “research methods and ways of thinking with an awareness of each level: molecule, cell, organ, and individual.” In addition, we research causes for the onset of fatty liver (steatosis), liver cancer, and other disorders so students also acquire a medical viewpoint.
Q: In what kinds of fields are students who have studied in your laboratory active?
Our laboratory has graduate students whose previous studies were in a variety of university departments, including science, engineering, oceanography, pharmacology, and medicine. Therefore, their interests and goals are also diverse. Our graduates are active in a wide range of occupations in universities and public research organizations (academia) as well as corporate research institutes, government agencies, etc. Many of our people also experience studying overseas in countries such as England, the United States, Switzerland, Austria, and Germany.
Being specific, our employers include: RIKEN; the University of Tokyo Institute of Medical Science; the University of Tokyo Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences; the Osaka University Faculty of Medicine; the Keio University School of Medicine; the Japan Patent Office; the Pharmaceutical and Medical Devices Agency; the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology; the Nippon Kaiji Kentei Kyokai (Physical and Chemical Analysis Center); Daiichi Sankyo Company, Limited; Mitsubishi Tanabe Pharma Corporation; Kaken Pharmaceutical, Co., Ltd.; Yakult; Morinaga; Shiseido; FUJIFILM RI Pharma; Hitachi; Nikken Chemical; Zenkoku Seikatsu Kyodo Kumiai Rengokai; bio-venture companies; IT companies; CRO; and media companies.
Q: Are graduate students who are working adults able to study here?
There was a case where a doctor employed at a hospital researched patient-related problems at my laboratory and prepared a dissertation. Working at the hospital during the week and immersed in research on the weekend, that doctor was able to acquire a doctorate on the same schedule as a normal doctoral course.
Q：Location of your Lab?
The primary location is the Department of Developmental and Regenerative Biology laboratory on the 21st floor of Tokyo Medical and Dental University’s MD Tower high rise building. The 21st floor also hosts the Laboratory of Cytometry & Proteome Research, where a mass spectrometer is located, and the Laboratory of Anatomy and Cell Function, where a confocal microscope is located. Sometimes we travel to the 22nd and 23rd floors to do genome analysis and cell segregation.
Q: What is your opinion of the Disease Prevention Science Course lectures?
This course is a program through which students develop the ability to understand not just empirical science, but also the movement of society as a whole (as seen through data science, etc.). In addition to narrowly focused in-depth research capabilities, students also acquire the ability to think about things from a wide perspective.
Q: Please say a word to students who want to enroll.
The environment in which research is done is changing greatly, and the current trend is a shift away from research based on scientific interest alone and towards research where potential applications are required. In life science research, we can find various instances where scientific interest alone was judged inadequate. Medical and pharmaceutical perspectives are sought. Of course, the essence of research is the scientific elucidation of phenomena thought mysterious. In order to defend ideas you think important and make use of research results to the fullest extent possible, I believe it is necessary to pursue research from diverse scientific, medical, and pharmaceutical perspectives. In this program, Tokyo Medical and Dental University, Ochanomizu University, Gakushuin University, and Kitasato University are collaborating with the aim of developing human resources with a broad perspective.
For details concerning this laboratory see here