Development and application of optical technology for spatiotemporal control of biological functions

Strategic Objective

Development of optical control technologies and elucidation of biological mechanisms

Research Supervisor

Ryoichiro Kageyama(Professor, Institute for Frontier Life and Medical Sciences, Kyoto University)


This research area promotes the development of optical control technologies and their applications. Recently, optical control technologies such as optogenetics, have caused revolutionary advances in life-science research by virtue of their characteristic ability for control with extreme spatiotemporal resolution. Given their reversibility, as well as their amenability to real-time monitoring, these technologies are expected to be adopted rapidly in the diverse fields of biology and medicine. On the other hand, these technologies still require improvements to enable better understanding of biological mechanisms: cellular toxicity of blue light, undesired effects of the transgene, development of long wavelength photoreceptor proteins, among others. In addition, the invasiveness associated with implanted light probes or transgenes should be overcome for clinical applications. Thus, the aim of this research area is the development of optical control technologies to overcome the aforementioned problems, and the elucidation of the mechanism of biological functions by means of these technologies. To understand and regulate intricate biological systems, we solicit research proposals in the fields of neuroscience, immunology, developmental biology, regenerative medicine, and cancer research among others.

Research Area Advisors

・Masaru Ishii
Professor, Osaka University

・Hiroyasu Itoh
Research Manager, Hamamatsu Photonics K.K.

・Masanobu Kano
Professor, The University of Tokyo

・Satoru Kawamura
Professor Emertius, Osaka University

・Yuko Mimori-Kiyosue
Principal Investigator, RIKEN

・Reiko Kobayakawa
Professor, Kansai Medical University

・Kazuto Kobayashi
Professor, Fukushima Medical University

・Hiroyuki Takeda
Professor, The University of Tokyo

・Takeharu Nagai
Professor, Osaka University

・Atsushi Nambu
Professor, National Institute for Physiological Sciences

・Osamu Nureki
Professor, The University of Tokyo

Year Started : 2016

Elucidating the higher-order brain functions by optogenetic manipulation of large-scaled circuits in nonhuman primate brain

Research Director:
Tadashi Isa(Professor, Graduate School of Medicine, Kyoto University)

Synaptic optogenetics of memory structures

Research Director:
Haruo Kasai(Professor, Graduate School of Medicine, The University of Tokyo)

Development of optogenetic tools for genome engineering and their applications to studying biological activities

Research Director:
Moritoshi Sato(Associate professor, Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, The University of Tokyo)

Optical technologies for interactive experimentation with cells on micro and macroscopic scales

Research Director:
Michiyuki Matsuda(Professor, Graduate School of Biostudies, Kyoto University)

Integrated analysis of the function of sleep and its regulatory mechanisms using optical technologies

Research Director:
Masashi Yanagisawa(Director/Professor, International Institute for Integrative Sleep Medicine, University of Tsukuba)

The study of regulatory mechanism of instinctive function which supports higher order brain function using fiberless optogenetics

Research Director:
Akihiro Yamanaka(Professor, Research Institute of Environmental Medicine, Nagoya University)

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