Molecular Structure and Function Analysis
Elucidation of the structures and roles of the molecules functioning in the living body, and drug discovery research
Recently, the structures of the molecules functioning in the living body have been determined progressively, and the mechanism of life has been elucidated. These findings have contributed to the identification of the causes of many diseases and their treatments. In this laboratory, we direct special attention to several molecules that play very important roles in the living body, and make efforts to elucidate the relationship between their 3D structures and their roles and develop drugs for the treatment of diseases that are related to these molecules.
Studies on enzymes and signal-transducing proteins involved in regulating cellular functions
We are studying the molecular and physiological functions of various enzymes and signal-transducing proteins, especially focusing on their structure-function relationship, enzymatic catalytic mechanisms, and roles in gene expression. For these purposes, we analyze hematopoietic factors, protein kinases, phospholipases and their inhibitory proteins, and snake venom-related molecules. We are also studying proteins involved in nerve functions, biological defense and cellular carcinogenesis.
Studies focusing on the prevention and treatment of infections caused by pathogenic microorganisms
Microorganisms play important roles in cleaning the global environment and preserving the ecological system, although human diseases are caused by infection with microorganisms. We are engaged in studies focusing on the prevention and treatment of infections caused by pathogenic microorganisms and the effective utilization of environmental microorganisms.
Establishment of technology for cleaning environment polluting drugs and the development of new metal-containing drugs
Our research project focuses on the establishment of technology for environmental cleanup and the development of functional inorganic compounds. We make efforts to establish technologies for high sensitivity analysis and the cleanup of environment-polluting drugs. We also attempt to develop platinum complexes with anticancer activity and selenium compounds with antioxidant activity and anticancer activity. For these purposes, we take various approaches to perform drug analysis, synthesis of new compounds, assessment of activity, and the clarification of activity expression mechanisms.
Drug Discovery Chemistry
Molecular Structure Chemistry
Clarification of the origin of life activities at the atomic level
It has been known that polypeptides play various roles in the living body, and that a polypeptide needs to take an appropriate form that allows it to play its specific role. In this laboratory, we make efforts to observe these polypeptides with nanometer resolution, find the relationship between their forms and roles, and clarify phenomena that are regarded as origin of life activities at the atomic level.
Research and development of drugs for molecular diagnostic imaging
Molecular imaging technology enables us to figure out various life phenomena in the living body at the molecular/cellular level and observe their images on the screen. This new diagnostic technology has attracted attention because it assures the early and accurate detection of diseases. We are engaged in a research and development project of new drugs that facilitate the molecular diagnostic imaging of diseases.
Pharmaceutical Organic Chemistry
Use of organic chemistry for drug discovery and synthesis of natural substances, and the clarification of life phenomena from the chemical standpoint
We use organic chemistry to study new substances that inhibit the growth of breast cancer, drugs for the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease, and chemical approaches to clarify life phenomena. We also attempt to achieve total synthesis of natural organic compounds that are expected to play various physiological roles, including anticancer activity and antiviral activity.
Chemical functionalization of nucleic acids and peptides aimed at the investigation of their actions on the living body
DNA and peptides are biological components that are essential for important biological functions such as the replication and expression of genetic information. By chemical modification of DNA and peptide structures, we are challenging to create highly functionalized artificial molecules and examine their actions on the biological systems, leading to develop drugs and functional molecules.
Chemical studies of Pleurotus eryngii, dandelion, Carapa guianensis, Citrus unshiu and Fungi from marin environment
From the chemical viewpoint, we study Pleurotus eryngii, dandelion, Hypsizygus marmoreus. We also study Carapa guianensis and Citrus unshiu to discover new limonoids. We research secondary metabolites with cytotoxicity from fungi separated from marine fish and marine alga, and analyzed their absolute structures.
Natural Products Research
Analysis of ingredients of crude drugs and examination of their efficacy and physiological activities
Almost all the drugs that are broadly used today are produced by using natural organic compounds as lead compounds. We isolate the ingredients of crude drugs, analyze their structures, and examine the physiological activities of crude drugs from various aspects, including their efficacy and uses.
Life and Environmental Science
Analysis of the cell proliferation mechanism for the development of new cancer treatment
In the living body, the cell cycle control mechanism enables the orderly regulation of cell proliferation. If this control mechanism does not work normally, cells proliferate uncontrollably, and they become cancerous cells. We analyze the mechanism of activity modulation of a group of factors involved in cell cycle control. By taking this approach, we attempt to clarify the cell proliferation mechanism and develop new anticancer drugs and cancer treatments.
Biodefense and Regulation
Promotion of extensive researches covering cancer immunity and lipid metabolism regulation
We study the mechanisms involved in biological stress response, maintenance of homeostasis, and protection of high-order functions. Moreover, we actively promote various research projects such as studies on the activities of macrophage including the prevention of infections and antitumor effects, the exploration of cancer specific markers, the exploration of pathogenic factors including Salmonella, studies on cancer immunity and the effects and production regulation of lipid mediators, and studies on the control of abnormal lipid metabolism.
Environmental Molecular Physiology
Clarification of the biological effects of environmental chemical substances at the molecular level
We attempt to clarify the influence of natural substances and environmental pollutants on the living body at the molecular level. We take a multidirectional approach to clarify the influence of environmental chemical substances on the following mechanisms: 1) the mechanism of the production and elimination of active oxygen, 2) the mechanism of the production of lipid-derived physiological active substances, 3) the molecular mechanism of obesity, 4) the mechanism of the development of diabetes, and 5) the mechanism of the development/growth of gastric cancer and colorectal cancer.
Pathological Molecular Pharmacology
Study on the pathological roles of peptides and nitric oxide
Many neurogenic and humoral factors are involved in the development of circulatory diseases, including hypertension and myocardial infarction. From these factors, we select endothelin, the strongest vasopressor peptide, and nitric oxide, a vasorelaxant substance, and study their pathological roles.
Study on drug action mechanisms from two viewpoints: efficacy and safety
Brain amines including serotonin and dopamine play important roles in regulating mental functions in human beings. We explore the mechanisms of drug actions on these brain amine nervous systems and attempt to develop new therapies for diseases. We also promote studies on drug safety by investigating the mechanisms of the development of neurotoxicity and nephrotoxicity and examining the possibility of their prevention.
Aiming to clarify the fate of drugs in the living body and develop more effective and safer drug therapy
We should accurately understand and predict the fate of drugs in the living body. Moreover, we should control the movement of drugs into the body. These efforts are indispensable for enhancing the efficacy and safety of drugs. Aiming to develop better drug therapy, we study various factors that determine the fate of drugs into a living body, including those of the drug and those of the living body.
Formulation Design and Pharmaceutical Technology
Study on functional powder for designing new preparations
Once drugs or foods are ingested into the living body, their active ingredients should be dissolved before being absorbed or utilized effectively. A drug preparation can be regarded as a powder aggregate created by various scientific technologies. We are engaged in research projects to dissolve water-insoluble drugs in the living body using specific intermolecular action with additives, and create functional particulates that are suitable for pulmonary administration.
Study on the pathophysiology and treatment of brain, mental and behavioral disorders and methods for preventing diabetes
Disorders of brain and mental functions emerge as abnormal behavior. We engage in basic studies on the mechanisms involved in these disorders and methods of their treatment/care. We promote cooperation with other laboratories and medical institutions and take various approaches to further advance our studies. “Sleep”, “Dependence”, and “Antipsychotics” are the ongoing topics. In this laboratory, we also study the mechanism of the development of diabetes and its complications and the methods for their prevention, and the function of epithelial cells.
Contribution to healthcare by promoting research projects that bridge basic studies, and clinical studies
We clarify, at a cellular level, the important biological defense mechanisms such as mucus secretion in the stomach and ciliary movement of the tracheal epithelium, and elucidate the pathological conditions of diabetes and hyperlipidemia from the aspects of digestion and absorption. We also conduct clinical epidemiological studies on lifestyle-related diseases and alcoholism. In this laboratory, we promote a broad range of studies and thus foster both basic studies to clarify pathological conditions and clinical studies to develop diagnostic and therapeutic techniques, in order to contribute toward improving healthcare.
Cardiovascular Pharmacotherapy and Toxicology
Precise mechanisms of senescent cardiovascular remodeling to practice harmonized pharmacotherapy and toxicology
Major research subjects of our laboratory are 1) to elucidate the precise mechanisms of arteriosclerosis and heart failure from a viewpoint of molecular biology, pathophysiology and pharmacology, and 2) to develop a novel therapeutic approach in cardiology. Our recent study, using cells and animal models, revealed that hydrogen gas reduces the oxidative stress and exerts cardioprotection in heart failure. We are also conducting harmonized pharmacotherapy as specialists of toxicology, and providing a newly established three-dimensional cell culture system to study side effects of drugs.
Aiming to develop new reliable assessment methods and new cancer treatments
Our main research theme is to assess diseases using light. We are attempting to develop new reliable optical assessment methods of substances responsible for many pathological conditions: 1) oxidative-stress markers, 2) metabolic syndrome markers, 3) tumor markers, 4) CKD markers etc. We are also engaged in the study of microwave-based cancer treatment.
Clinical Practical Pharmacy
Pharmaceutically scientific approaching into clinical actualities
In our “dry” laboratorial activities, outcome researches / intervention studies on pharmaceutical care management, exploratory researches to establish an inter-professional collaboration system supporting the regional comprehensive care system and the development of educational programs for self-medications are included. Besides, as part of study toward management of hospital infection, microbiological investigation is also carried out in our “wet” laboratory. And through these activities, we aim at educating residents to become clinical pharmacists who appropriately support future healthcare.
Clinical Practical Pharmacy for Education
Experienced pharmacists in “pharmacy practice” provide more practical education suitable for 6-year educational course toward the clinical pharmacist
We, laboratory staffs, teach course in the introductory education of clinical practice (pre-education for clinical practice in hospital and community pharmacy) with reality on the bases of our long-term experiences of pharmacists in clinical settings. For example, these include dispensing of medicines, checking of prescription and dispensed medicines, instruction on medication, in-pharmacy preparation (sterile or not-sterile), team medical care and so on. And all residents on clinical practices in hospitals and community pharmacies are tutored and graded by us.
Clinical Pharmaceutical Sciences Practical Education
Utilization of natural materials for the assurance of effective and safe drug use
Herbal preparations and many other drugs are produced from natural materials. To promote the effective, safe and proper use of drugs, we should understand the raw materials of drugs, as well as their effects and interactions. We examine the interactions and quality of herbal preparations produced from natural materials. In this manner, we attempt to develop methods for the proper use of herbal preparations.
Joint Research Center
Providing comprehensive support for advanced researches in the field of pharmaceutical sciences
The Joint Research Center was established to promote and support advanced researches in the field of pharmaceutical sciences. The center consists of Central Equipment Research Facilities with the latest laboratory equipment such as a nuclear magnetic resonator and a mass spectrometer, RI Research Facilities featuring a system that enables accurate and safe performance of experiments using radioisotopes, and Animal Testing Facilities with a facility for safe and efficient breeding and the use of experimental animals such as mice and rats.
Structural-chemical approach to cancer and genetic diseases
We adopt X-ray crystallography and other analytical techniques using various devices to analyze DNAs having new structures that are involved in cancer, transcription and genetic diseases, and the complex crystals of DNA and DNA binding substances. In this manner, we take a structural-chemical approach to studying cancer and genetic diseases. Moreover, we attempt to design calixarene-based sodium channel membrane protein and study it from a structural-chemical standpoint.
Language and Culture Study Group
Approaching the bases of languages, their users' lives and cultures
The purpose of language education is to enhance one’s ability to think and express oneself in one’s own words. We should not forget that all languages are based on their users' lives and cultures. Professor Kusunose studies nature and people in literature. Associate Professor Smith specializes in cognitive linguistics and language education (English for specific purposes).
Mathematics and Natural Science Group
Using the theoretical study of mathematics and physics to support pharmaceutical sciences
We use the theoretical study of mathematics and physics to support pharmaceutical sciences. Associate Professor Nagata, a mathematician, directs attention to mathematical methods and techniques in various fields, and studies number theory and related areas. Associate Professor Yoshioka, a physicist, attempts to develop a unified theory of the elementary particles that control the natural world, and studies neutrinos, cosmology, supersymmetry and higher dimensional theory.
Human Culture Study Group
Changes in the social environment change medicine
Society and healthcare have very close ties. Whenever our society changes, medical sciences including pharmaceutics must alter their structure. To clarify such structural changes, this group studies humanities and social sciences related to healthcare. A political Science Professor Somae focuses on historical analysis of medical policy development during mid- and post-war Japan. He has also conducted case studies about public hospitals M&A to publish papers on academic journals.
Environmental Medicine Study Group
Studies on healthcare from the viewpoints of life, ethics, society and health
In addition to healthcare specialists’ efforts, cross-functional or interdisciplinary efforts are indispensable for promoting studies on current healthcare. We study current healthcare from the broad viewpoints of life, ethics, society and health. Associate Professor Taima, specializing in health science, is engaged in the development of a training method for water polo. Associate Professor Sakamoto specializes in human healthcare studies, German philosophy and bioethics.