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.


Unexpected differentiation of ES cells in the standard culture   Differentiation test using mesenchymal stem cell (MSC)
Unexpected differentiation of ES cells in the standard culture.
(Upper left) Bright field, (Upper right) Cell nucleus, (Lower left) Stem cell marker, (Lower right) Differentiation marker
 
Differentiation test using mesenchymal stem cell (MSC). Adipocyte (Upper right), chondrocyte (Lower right) and osteocyte (Lower left) derived from MSC (Upper left)

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.

Function of adult neural stem cells under diabetes and /or neuronal diseases





Function of adult neural stem cells under diabetes and /or neuronal diseases

The mammalian brain contains neural stem cells (NSCs) that allow continued neurogenesis throughout the adulthood life. However, declines in stem cell function and/or number are clearly associated with aging and diseases. Adult neurogenesis has unique feature that niches of NSCs secreting factors promote the differentiation of NSCs in a paracrine manner. Our studies reveal the insight of the cell-extrinsic control of adult neurogenesis during aging, under neuronal diseases and the essential role of secreted factors from NSC-niches. These studies to uncover regulatory links more deeply and widely would be crucial to understanding the functions and plasticity of adult brains.
Drugs designed to enhance cellular plasticity and resilience, and attenuate the activity of maladaptive stress-responsive systems, may be useful for the treatment of severe neuronal related disorders.

Collaborative Research:
Email Address_small, iPS Cell Advanced Characterization and Development Team at RIKEN Bioresource Research Center

Exercise-mediated activation of stem cells: NSC and satellite cells in Skeletal muscle




Exercise-mediated activation of stem cells: NSC and satellite cells in Skeletal muscle

The central nervous system and skeletal muscle are most affected by diabetes. In neuronal tissue, diabetes is associated with a number of neurodegenerative diseases. In the skeletal muscle, diabetes leads to a variety of structural, functional, and metabolic changes, such as muscle atrophy, muscle weakness, and the reduction in energy turnover. Satellite cell dysfunction is also induced by diabetes, resulting in a disturbance to myogenesis.
Exercise is very useful for preventing in diabetes-related alterations to the neuronal tissue and skeletal muscle. The effects of exercise implicate the upregulation of neuronal factor-secretion, resulting in the activation of adult and myogenesis in mature skeletal muscles. Physical exercise is useful for diabetes- and Sarcopenia-patients to prevent the negative effects of disorders and to maintain their quality of life.

Collaborative Research:
Email Address_small, Tohru Takemasa (University of Tsukuba)

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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
Yoshikazu HARAMOTO
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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))

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Researcher
Shuuji MAWARIBUCHI
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Researcher
Tomoko WATANABE
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Researcher
Yuri HASHIMOTO
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