On December 11, 2015, Japan Science and Technology Agency (JST) announced that they would commence support for 3 coordinated projects in cooperation with the Agency for Science, Technology, and Research (A*STAR)*1) on the topic of “Development of Fundamental Technology for Biodevices Enabling Dynamic Analysis and Control of Cells”. This support, within the framework of JST-A*STAR Coordinated Research, will be provided as an activity of JST’s FY2015 Strategic International Collaborative Research Program (SICORP)*2. The selected projects are as follows:
(1) “Protocellular Biosensors – Bioinspired devices that mimic cellular signal transduction machinery”
Hiroshi UEDA, Professor, Tokyo Institute of Technology, Chemical Resources Laboratory
Shawn HOON, Senior Research Fellow, A*STAR, Molecular Engineering Laboratory
The objective of this study is to make a highly sensitive digital biosensor by using aligned ‘protocells’, which are unilamellar liposomes reconstituted with artificial transmembrane receptors with antigen recognition and enzyme activities.
(2) “New optical platform to visualize mechanics of cellular self-organization”
Shuichi ONAMI, Team Leader, RIKEN Quantitative Biology Center
Fumio MOTEGI, Principal Investigator, Temasek Life Sciences Laboratory
This project aims to establish a new optical system by combining the “world’s fastest” super resolution microscopy with traction-force microscopy and laser beam-based microsurgery. It will visualize nano-scale molecular dynamics and mechanical forces simultaneously within living cells. The new optical system aims to elucidate the principles of cellular self-organization.
(3) “Near-infrared (NIR) optogenetics using up-conversion system”
Hiromu YAWO, Professor, Tohoku University, Graduate School of Life Sciences
Angelo H. ALL, Assistant Professor, National University of Singapore
This project aims to manipulate neural activity using near-infrared (NIR) light using the lanthanide nanoparticles (LNPs), which absorb NIR energy and emit visible light (up-conversion), and the light-sensitive proteins such as channelrhodopsins (ChRs) in combination.
A total of 25 proposals were submitted in response to the joint call for proposals implemented by JST and A*STAR, which was closed in June 29th, 2015. Based on the results of evaluation conducted by experts, JST and A*STAR jointly decided on the three successful projects to select for funding. Support to both the Japanese and Singaporean teams will continue for three years.