Biotechnology Research Institute for Drug Discovery
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Stem Cell Biotechnology Research Group

The stem cell biotechnology research group develops fundamental technologies for a reprograming and direct reprograming (transdifferentiation), culture devices and cultivation tools using functional stem cells. We also study their application in therapeutics to treat human diseases.

Group's Research Theme

Research of adipose tissue and contains stem cells for regenerative medicine
 

Research of adipose tissue and contains stem cells for regenerative medicine

Although adipose tissue is an expandable and readily attainable source of proliferating, multipotent stem cells, its potential for use in regenerative medicine has not been extensively explored. We focus on adipose tissue functions and roles of adipose derived stem cells in our body. Adipose tissue contains abundant mesenchymal stem cells, named an adipose derived stem cell (ADSC), that have multiple-differentation capabilities to become various type of cells, including iPSCs (PNAS.2010, Nat.Protoc.2011, CellStemCell.2015). Our goal is establishing global epigenetic data of adipose tissue, including gene expressions, epigenetic modifications and bioenergetics (Nature. 2011, Epigenetics.2014).
We are also challenging to develop stem cell technologies for regenerative medicine. One of those, we applied technologies to reduce the healing time of tendon injury using ADSCs. (Lab.Anim.2016)

Reconstitution of in vitro organs and their functional connections for drug screening and testing
 



Reconstitution of in vitro organs and their functional connections for drug screening and testing

Morphology and function of the nervous system is maintained via well-coordinated processes both in central and peripheral nervous tissues, which govern the homeostasis of organs/tissues. Although further investigation is warranted to reveal the molecular mechanisms of progression in diseases, appropriate model systems mimicking the patient-specific communication between neurons and organs are not established yet. We reconstructed the neuronal network in vitro either between neurons of iPSC derived peripheral nervous system (PNS) and central nervous system (CNS), or between PNS neurons and cardiac cells in a morphologically and functionally compartmentalized manner (PLoS ONE 2016). Compartmentalized culture devices are promising tools for reconstructing network-wide connections between PNS neurons and various organs, and might help to understand patient-specific molecular and functional mechanisms under normal and pathological conditions.

Development of an RNA vector suitable for cellular reprogramming
 



Development of an RNA vector suitable for cellular reprogramming

Cellular reprogramming to create induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells and tissue-specific cells by introducing defined factors into somatic cells would be an invaluable tool for regenerative medicine including cell therapy. iPS cells hold a promise in serving various types of tissue cells. Currently, using iPS cell technology, a clinical trial has been started, and iPS cell-derived tissue cells are expected to be broadly used for treatment of diseases. Furthermore, those cells are also expected to be used in pharmacological and safety studies for contributing to drug discovery.
We have successfully developed a persistent RNA vector to deliver transgenes into mammalian cells and to produce them stably without chromosomal insertion (J. Biol. Chem., 2011). This technology enables us to establish transgene-free iPS cells from human skin fibroblasts and peripheral blood monocytes. We are now trying to improve this technology to create more homogenous and highly safety stem cells and tissue-specific cells.

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Research Achievements

Staff Members

Position & Name Email Address & Web SiteWeb Site
Group Leader
Yasuyuki S. KIDA
Email AddressEmail Address
Web Sitehttps://staff.aist.go.jp/y-kida/
Chief Senior Researcher
Yuzuru IKEHARA
(Also belongs to the Electronics and Photonics Research Institute, Innovative Plasma Processing Group)
Email AddressEmail Address
  Ikehara Laboratory
Web Sitehttps://staff.aist.go.jp/yuzuru-ikehara/
Senior Researcher
Tomoko KUWABARA
(Also belongs to School of integrative and Global Majors (SIGMA), Disease Mechanism Course, Regulatory Analysis of Adult Stem Cells, University of Tsukuba (Associate Professor))

Email AddressEmail Address
Senior Researcher
Masayuki SANO
Email AddressEmail Address
Senior Researcher
Yuzo TAKAYAMA
Email AddressEmail Address
Web Sitehttps://sites.google.com/site/yuzotaka0124/engpage
Senior Researcher
Yutaro KUMAGAI
Email AddressEmail Address
Researcher
Nobuhito MORI
Email AddressEmail Address

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