Research Topics


HMGB1 is actively secreted through an ER–Golgi pathway-independent mechanism from a variety of cells when they are infected by pathogens or other agents. HMGB1 is also passively released from necrotic or damaged cells. Extracellular HMGB1 associates with TLR2, TLR4, RAGE, and others. HMGB1 and TLR ligation triggers production of proinflammatory cytokines, such as TNF-α, IL-1, IL-6, and MIP-1. The association of HMGB1 with RAGE has been implicated in cell migration, cell growth, differentiation, and autophagy. The multiple functions of HMGB1 in health and disease are currently under extensive investigation by generating HMGB1 conditional knockout mice.

Research content (Tadatsugu Taniguchi - Project Professor )

The broad scope of our scientific interests encompass a number of areas including those that pertain to innate immune system activation, inflammation, autoimmunity, and oncogenesis. One recent and new focus is to understand how molecules derived from dead cells, such as HMGB1, contribute to the regulation of inflammation and immunity. We also aim to translate our achievements in basic research for the development of new strategies in the treatment of immunological diseases and cancers.

In silico reconstruction of developmental dynamics of a mammalian preimplantation embryo from 4D bioimaging data.

Research content (Tetsuya Kobayashi - Associate Professor )

Our goal is to construct mathematical theory with which we can quantitatively understand, predict, and control complex dynamics of living systems. By combining such theory with a variety of quantitative and comprehensive data from bioimaging and omics, we venture into developing informatics technology that can contribute to both basic and applied research in life science.


Wide-ranging applications of microfluidic devices

Research content (Teruo Fujii - Professor)

We have been studying on the chip-sized integrated devices named “microfluidic devices”, which perform various biochemical reactions and analyses in microscopic channels and chambers. Our research topics are ranging from basic technologies relating to microfluidics and nanofluidics to applied research such as development of cell engineering devices and deep sea in situ measurement for ocean survey and resource exploration.

Fabrication of 3D living tissues to understand disease mechanisms.

Research content (Yukiko Matsunaga - Assistant Professor)

Matsunaga lab has been focusing on disease tissue engineering by combining biomaterial synthesis, microfabrication and cell biology. Our goal is to develop controllable in vitro models to “visualize” the microenvironment of tissues from normal to disease state at the cellular level. This approach is a powerful tool for mechanistic understanding of disease and drug discovery.


Spontaneous formation of thick tissues by direct oxygenation: direct cell cultures on oxygen-permeable membranes enables efficient formation of tissue units such as thick sheet-like tissues or 3D spherical tissues for regenerative medicine and cell-based assays.

Research content (Yasuyuki Sakai - Professor , Director)

On the firm basis on chemical engineering methodologies and concepts, we are trying to develop efficient processes for large-scale propagation/differentiation of iPS cells or mesenchymal stem cells and to establish efficient organization of liver and pancreatic b-cells into 3D implantable tissue grafts.


Research content (Akira Okitsu - Research Professor)

Our research interest is to develop technologies for efficient
implantation of primary cellular tissues isolated from organs as well as
artificially fabricated cellular tissues.  Our topics include designing
grafts for minimally invasive procedures and protecting the grafts from
immune attacks.  In this context, improving technologies to isolate
cellular tissues from organs is also our research topic.  Currently our
interest is mainly in cellular therapy for diabetes.


implantable glucose sensors

Research content (Shoji Takeuchi - Professor)

We are studying MEMS-based design and fabrication of biological materials including DNA, protein, cells and hydrogels, and are trying to apply those of technologies and devices to various fields including medical care, drug development, food industry, environmental monitoring, informatics and basic-bioscience. For example, our current research target are implantable glucose sensors, lipid bilayer membrane sensors for single molecule detection, and 3D tissue construction technologies.

Molecular programming allows the rational building of spatiotemporal behaviours.

Research content (Rondelez Yannick - Research Associate Professor)

Network of molecular interactions control all living processes and in particular cellular-scale computations. We are building artificial models of such chemical systems. Our approach to molecular programming uses small synthetic DNA strands to encode the instructions. These test-tube systems can display non-trivial behaviours, such as bistability, oscillations or logic. In small compartments, they reproduce some of the feature of cellular regulatory networks. They can be used to embed information processing into wet systems.