Division of Signal Responses
Response to Environmental Materials
Professor: Hiromasa Imaishi
Associate Professor: Hideyuki Inui
We are surrounded by diverse types of life in the environment. Human body has also evolved to sustain its life by organizing cooperative functions of organs. Our research is concerned with the biological functions that enable the cooperation in and between human body and the environment, especially focusing on the human metabolism and plant uptake of xenobiotics. To assess the safety of the chemicals and to clean the environment, we apply molecular biological techniques and transgenic plants.
1. From a viewpoint of safety evaluation of environmental substances, we have been studying the metabolism of chemicals in human body. Our research is focusing on the production of toxic chemicals in human body by cytochrome P450.
2. Clarification of plant uptake mechanisms and development of new monitoring technologies to environmental contaminants are important for maintenance of crop safety. We are developing integrated remediation and monitoring systems with biological functions of animals, plants, microorganisms.
Regulation of Stress Responses
Professor: Katsuhiko Sakamoto
Research in the Laboratory of Regulation of Stress Responses is focused on the mechanisms and functions of diapause, photoperiodism, biological clocks and heat tolerance in insects. Molecular understanding of physiological characteristics and adaptation mechanisms of insects contributes to pest control and utilization of beneficial insects.
- Seasonal adaptations of insects
- Daily rhythms of insects
Membrane Molecular Dynamics
Professor: Kenichi Morigaki
Biological membranes play essential roles in living organism. However, their functions are not yet well understood owing to the complex and dynamic nature of the membrane. We are developing a synthetic model system of the biological membranes on solid substrate for basic biophysical studies as well as biomedical applications. An important structural feature of the biological membrane is the combination of two-dimensional (2D) and three-dimensional (3D) architectures that create compartments in the cell and cell-cell junctions. We have been developing a micro-patterned membrane of polymerized and natural lipid bilayers that mimics the 2D structure of the biological membrane. For mimicking the 3D compartments, we have developed a nanometric gap structure on the patterned membrane by attaching the polymeric bilayer with a silicone elastomer (PDMS) using an adhesion layer having a defined thickness (nanogap-junction). These integrated model systems should provide novel opportunities to study the membrane functions and exploit them in biomedical applications.