[yuCell] Cell Control

Strategic Objective

Development of innovative cell manipulation technologies and elucidation of cellular regulatory mechanisms

Research Supervisor


Miyawaki Atsushi(Laboratory Head, Center for Brain Science/Advanced Photonics, RIKEN)


The aim of this research area is to achieve innovative technological advancements that impact a wide range of life sciences through interactive research that seeks to manipulate and understand cell control mechanisms.

Here, cell in cell control is regarded as an element that constitutes a multi-cellular system such as individual organisms and artificial organs, or as an entire system made up of subcellular components such as organelles. In contrast to conventional analytical methods, for example, electrophoresis that requires grinding more than one million cells for use as samples, advanced techniques with high spatiotemporal resolution, including single-cell omics analysis and bio-imaging techniques, safeguard the personality and integrity of individual cells. As a result, these advanced techniques have yielded more detailed and multifaceted data on cell control mechanisms than before. As if in step with this explosive growth in data volume, fundamental technology for artificial intelligence has been disseminated, allowing for quick data analysis.

However, an increase in the amount of data does not necessarily lead to a better understanding of cell control mechanisms. To uncover causal relationships governing a complex system, it is useful to manipulate the function of one particular element to examine the behavior of the system as a whole or of other elements. From the perspective of technological development, this research area focuses on the innovative manipulation of cell control mechanisms (hereinafter referred to as cell control). While recognizing the need to quantitate the manipulation of objects that inevitably occurs in analysis, we are keenly pursuing the development of technology that allows researchers to manipulate objects at will. It is indeed important to persistently pursue the growth potential of existing technology. If genome editing and opto- and chemo-genetics are improved by some state-of-the-art technology, for example, reasonable progress will be made toward increasing the precision and diversification of cell control. In addition, the development of both hardware and software will be necessary to support cell control. It is highly recommended that attempts be made to realize breakthroughs through exhaustive crossovers with different technologies. Furthermore, it is necessary to create element technologies from scratch to accomplish new cell manipulation methods to explore new aspects of cell control mechanisms.

Cells are full of mysteries waiting to be uncovered. Cells will probably stay clear of researchers who completely rely on entrenched textbook knowledge. On the other hand, cells will disclose the soul of cell control mechanisms to researchers who possess inquisitive and malleable minds. Here we will view cell control as playing with and in cells. In a playful environment, we would like researchers to challenge mysterious cells with no fear of failure. We hope that the spiral of manipulation and understanding that emerges from playing cells will grow positively while interacting with fields beyond this research area, and will create a new vortex somewhere, no matter how small it may be. By actively incorporating unforeseen developments, each team is expected to revise its set goals as it undertakes the actual process of research, and this research area will grow in such a flexible way.

Research Area Advisors

Mariko Okada Professor, Institute for Protein Research, Osaka University
Tomohiro Kawahara Researcher, Technology Platform, Technology Infrastructure Center, Advanced Research Laboratory, Sony Group Corporation
Hideki Kandori Distinguished Professor, OptoBioTechnology Research Center, Nagoya Institute of Technology
Osamu Nureki Professor, Department of Biological Sciences, Graduate School of Science, The University of Tokyo
Tomoyoshi Nozaki Professor, Graduate School of Medicine, The University of Tokyo
Itaru Hamachi Professor, Faculty of Engineering, Kyoto University
Yasuhiro Yamada Professor, Graduate School of Medicine, The University of Tokyo
Takashi Yamamoto Professor, Graduate School of Integrated Sciences for Life, Hiroshima University

Research Projects

  1. Year Started : 2023

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