[MultiSensing]Research on Multi-sensing Biosystems and Development of Adaptive Technologies

Strategic Objective

Integrated understanding of human multi-sensing networks and elucidation of their control mechanisms

Program Supervisor

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Ryouzo Nagai(President, Jichi Medical University)

Research supervisor

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Atsushi Iriki(Team Leader, Center for Biosystems Dynamics Research, RIKEN)

Overview

 This research area aims for an integrated understanding of “multi-sensing systems,” which encompass biological sensory systems and the peripheral nervous network, and the development of ways to visualize and control these. To achieve this, the Japan Science and Technology Agency (JST) and the Japan Agency for Medical Research and Development (AMED) have simultaneously established four programs (CREST, PRESTO, AMED-CREST, and PRIME), which will promote research while collaborating with each other. Therefore, this research area has Program Supervisor (PS) for collaborate with four programs in addition to Research Supervisor (RS). Also, JST may share with proposal with AMED during the selection process. Please be understanding in advance that JST’s sharing this proposal with AMED.

Conception of the Program Supervisor
 Sensory functions and the autonomic nervous system play an important role as feedback systems that make sure the body is always fulfilling its functions. On the other hand, the decline and failure of sensory functions due to internal and external stresses such as increasing age, as well as impairment to the peripheral nervous system are major risk factors for health problems and the onset of chronic illness. Thus, by gaining an integrated understanding of the physiological mechanisms of “multi-sensing,” which encompasses biological sensory systems and the peripheral nervous network, we expect that it will become possible to develop new treatment methods that can target illnesses related to the organs across the body, to improve quality of life (QOL), and thus to extend healthy life expectancy. Moreover, the social implementation of innovative technologies via multi-sensing systems, such as sensory substitution and sensory sharing, could contribute to the realization of a richer, happier society.
 JST aims to expand sensing functions and to acquire new functions, based on the clarification of basic principles and the development of foundational and applied technologies. Meanwhile, AMED’s objective is the restoration and preservation of lost functions, i.e. the restoration, preservation, and prevention of sensing and regulatory functions, based on medical applications from basic research with a view to channeling these into health and medical care.
 More specifically, we aim to clarify the operating mechanisms of multi-sensing systems, to explain pathological conditions, to develop technology that visualizes and quantifies states of activity, and, based on these, to develop treatment and prevention methods with few side effects and to create medicines, medical equipment, and minimally invasive devices that are suitable for individuals. At the same time, JST and AMED will work together to encourage this, on the understanding that the expansion of the multi-sensing functions of living organisms and the application of advanced sensing mechanisms will create seeds of innovation.
 In this research area, researchers from the four programs will create a network-based research institute, and in so doing will advance mutual collaboration between young researchers and encourage further development of research. Moreover, Goal #2 of the Moonshot Research and Development Program (from the 2019 academic year to the 2029 academic year) is “Realization of ultra-early disease prediction and intervention by 2050,” and we will act on this with our sights set on collaboration with AMED’s Strategic Research Program for Brain Sciences/Brain Mapping by Integrated Neurotechnologies for Disease Studies/Strategic International Brain Science Research Promotion Program (from the 2014 academic year to the 2023 academic year).

Conception of the Research Supervisor
 This program will create a novel research area of biological multisensing systems synthesized across the sensory organs of multiple modalities and the peripheral nerves innervating them by crossing the boundaries of conventional life sciences (e.g., sensory physiology, molecular and cellular biology, and neuroscience) to interact with a broader spectrum of disciplines, including electronic and mechanical engineering, information and mathematical sciences, and cognitive psychology, resulting in the development of fundamental and applied technologies to be implemented in daily social environments.
 Currently, advancing measurement technologies have opened avenues to discover novel sensing functions and mechanisms and have revealed that sensory systems interact with the immune, metabolic, and endocrine systems to maintain homeostasis and at unconscious levels affect various perceptions or emotions that contribute to shaping our view of humanity and the world. Additionally, the application of advanced Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs; e.g., XRs, wearable devices) would allow the expansion of human internal and external sensing functions.
 This research area encourages research synthesizing a wide spectrum of sensory information, from internal and external environments to the biological functions of the body as a whole; however, reductionist approaches within conventional boundaries are discouraged. The development of technologies that realize biological sensor fusion by applying the principles of these multisensing mechanisms is also encouraged, including, for example, the visualization, manipulation, transmission, and representation of multiple sensory modalities. Furthermore, super-sensing mechanisms (by nonhuman animals or by engineering beyond ordinary human abilities) also fall within the scope of this research area in terms of incorporating them into human sensing systems through the development of their governing principles and the associated detection devices.

Research Area Advisors

Yuri Aono Editorial Board, The Mainichi Shimbun
Minoru Asada Vice-President, International Professional University of Technology in Osaka
Yuichi Iino Professor, Graduate School of Science, The University of Tokyo
Junichi Ushiba Associate Professor, Faculty of Science and technology, Keio University / Chief Executive Officer, University-based Startup Connect Inc.
Hideki Katagiri Professor, Graduate School of Medicine, Tohoku University
Takefumi Kikusui Professor, School of Veterinary Medicine, Azabu University
Hirotaka Sato Associate Professor_Provost, College of Engineering, Nanyang Technological University / CEO, Less Tech Inc.
Tetsuo Hatsuda Program Director, Interdisciplinary Theoretical and Mathematical Sciences Program, RIKEN
Masaaki Murakami Professor, Institute for Generic Medicine, Hokkaido University

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