Biotechnology Research Institute for Drug Discovery
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Stem Cell Engineering Research Group

Stem Cell Engineering Research Group develops stem cell technology for quality control, stable supply and standardization. In addition, we study reliable differentiation methods using stem cells. Through the R&D of fundamental technology for regenerative medicine and drug discovery, we aim to give back these results to society and to realize healthy and longevity life.

Group's Research Theme

Human iPS/ES marker for quality control
Human iPS/ES marker for quality control

Development of quality control technologies of stem cells

Our aim is to support drug discovery and regenerative medicine through development of quality management technologies of human stem cells, such as iPS cells, ES cells, and mesenchymal stem cells. We are engaged in the establishment of more stable and high quality stem cell supply system, especially in development of biomarkers for evaluation and selection of suitable stem cells and improvement of the culture media or additives. We also investigate the mechanisms of cell differentiation occurring in the body, for applying it for development and validation of a method for manufacturing artificial organs and tissues.

Ciliated cells differentiated from ES cells
Ciliated cells differentiated from ES cells

Generation of differentiated cells useful for regenerative medicine and drug discovery

We are working on development of the differentiation protocol to generate useful cells for regenerative medicine and drug discovery. Especially, we are working on the differentiation of tissue cells including the lung, stomach, brain, and heart. Recently, we have succeeded in the differentiation of functional stomach tissue cells from ES cells, which secrete acid in response to histamine. In addition to the optimization of the differentiation protocols, we are also developing a novel anti-cancer drug that targets cancer stem cells by applying our stem cell knowledge.

Neuronal cells differentiated from ES cells
Neuronal cells differentiated from ES cells

Understanding the mechanisms governing stem cell identity

Application of stem cells, including pluripotent stem cells and somatic stem cells, in drug discovery and regenerative medicine requires development of the technology to efficiently differentiate the stem cells into specific cells. We are working to develop a comprehensive understanding of the molecular mechanisms governing stem cell identity and differentiation processes, in order to inform the development of stem cell expansion and differentiation technologies.

Application of three dimensional culture technique to drug discovery and tissue engineering

(Upper left) Xenopus laevis, (Upper right) Silurana tropicalis
(Lower left) Cynops pyrrhogaster, (Lower right) Pleurodeles waltl

Elucidation of mechanisms for organ development and tissue regeneration

To develop the methodology to generate organs and tissues applicable in regenerative medicine, we study in vivo differentiation mechanisms of organs and tissues. Amphibians are known for high regenerative capability among the Vertebrata. We analyze their regenerative mechanism and aim to apply the obtained insights to medicine.

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Research Achievements

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Staff Members

Position & Name Email Address
Group Leader
Yuzuru ITO
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Senior Researcher
Yasuko ONUMA
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Senior Researcher
Yoshikazu HARAMOTO
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Researcher
Shuuji MAWARIBUCHI
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Researcher
Tomoko WATANABE
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