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Group Introduction

Molecular and Cellular Breeding Research Group

Introduction to research

In order to expand the industrial use of advanced function of cells and biological molecules, we aim to promote a new technology called “molecular and cellular breeding technology” based on the understanding of the evolvability which is inherent in all living objects. Since cells and biological molecules can be regarded as rational machines as well as consequences of evolution, we develop the technology through the elucidation and integration of both physical necessity and historical contingency behind them.

Development of protein breeding technology

Proteins play a major role in both biological phenomena and biopharmaceutical process such as drug discovery, manufacturing, and quality control. To generate functional proteins that promote biopharmaceutical industry, we have developed protein-breeding technology on the basis of rational protein design and evolutionary engineering. To date, we have generated a wide variety of artificial proteins such as 10-residue minimal protein chignolin, functional proteins that evolve from chignolin, stabilized cytokines, antibody-like artificial proteins, conformation-specific ligands for quality control of biologicals.

Development of algal polysaccharide breeding technology

Expansion of industrial application range of algae-derived materials requires an increase in algal bioproductivity as well as development of utilization technology. Our effort in this area have focused on the usage of Euglena and its storage polysaccharide (referred to as paramylon) as potential industrial raw materials. Our investigation strategy features a simultaneous pursuit of development of facile and effective Euglena cultural methods and creation of paramylon-based high value-added products using chemical modifications. Potential Euglena/paramylon-based products range from bioplastics to bioactive agents.

List of Publications



  • Shinya Honda (Research Group Leader)
  • Motonari Shibakam
  • Takayuki Odahara
  • Tsukasa Ishihara
  • Hideki Watanabe
  • Kazuhiko Ishikawa (MP: Kansai Collaboration Center)
  • Yukako Senga
  • MP=Main Post, AP=Additional Post