Japan Science and Technology Agency. Metabolism and cellular Function PRESTO
Japanese English Japan Science and Technology Agency. PRESTO
Research Outline
Research Supervisor
Photo Masahiro Nishijima
(Director General, The National Institute of Health Sciences)

Research area in the strategic sector
"Establishment of basic technologies for controlling of cell functions based on metabolomic analysis"

Outline of Research Area
The research area is aimed at the creation of innovative technological seeds based on creative ideas of individual researchers to analyze cellular metabolites and to control cellular functions efficiently.
Specifically, it targets the research expected to the creation of new methodologies and technological developments about systematic or comprehensive analyses of such metabolite groups as lipids, carbohydrates, amino acids, nucleic acid, etc., evaluations and classification of cellular conditions based on metabolite information, modeling and simulations of metabolic pathways in cells, prediction and designs of compounds that control metabolic pathways, and preparations of cells with newly conferred functions, and so on. These researches are wide range from each technological element to cell control.

Research Supervisor's Opinions on Public Invitation and Selection
As genomic structures of various organisms including human are elucidated, life science is shifting to and developing in post-genomic research for the utilization of the genomic information. The research for protein functions is being advanced by structural and proteomic analyses. In addition to the research about genes and proteins, another important theme which is the aim of this research area, are the elucidation of the dynamics and functions of the metabolites and the control of cellular functions. Metabolites contain substrates for energy metabolism, cell membrane components, physiologically active substances, etc. produced by enzyme.
The metabolomic analytical techniques, in which metabolite groups are analyzed in a systematic or comprehensive method by mass spectrometry, etc., has brought research on cellular metabolism into a new era.
The research area is aimed at development of new analytical techniques which contribute to metabolomic research, identification of metabolites that prescribe specific cellular conditions, the discovery of new metabolic processes, the elucidation and control of cellular functions with information on alterations of metabolites, by the metabolomic analysis at state of mutation, pathology, development in microorganisms, animals, and plants, etc.
Metabolic research in Japan is ranked high by international standards in various fields as lipids and carbohydrates. So, Japan can lead the world in metabolomic research. I expect the discovery of new physiologically active metabolites, the development of diagnostic methods with disease-specific metabolic markers, therapeutic drugs for metabolic diseases, the organisms which product useful metabolites efficiently.

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