[Optical Control] Optical control of biological functions for the elucidation of biological systems

Strategic Objective

Development of optical control technologies and elucidation of biological mechanisms

Research Supervisor

Yoshinori Shichida (Visiting professor, Research Organization of Science and Technology, Ritsumeikan University/Professor Emeritus, Kyoto University)

Overview

The purpose of this research area is to develop innovative technologies for optical control of living organisms. Thus, we aim to establish new technologies for controlling biological functions through the collaboration and integration of different areas, with emphasis on the following three areas: “control of biological functions, observation of biological phenomena, and elucidation of biological systems.
In recent years, life science has begun to make rapid progress in understanding of biological phenomena through the development of various technologies for controlling biological functions utilizing properties of light. For example, optogenetics has brought about a revolutionary shift in the elucidation of biological systems for neural networks, through the expression of photosensitive protein in neurons followed by irradiation with light of a specific wavelength. In addition, new technologies for controlling biological functions have began to appear including technologies to control enzymatic activity with photosensitive proteins, intracellular signal transduction, and gene expression in combination with genome editing.
The development of these technologies may begin spreading explosively because a great number of findings, such as the identification of light-related proteins, have emerged over the past 70 years; furthermore, a basis for these proteins to be applied to the living organisms has been established. Additionally, basic findings have been further honed to overcome shortcomings of existing technologies, and the development of novel optical control of biological functions has surfaced as a globally impending issue.
Based on the background described above, we aim to promote research and development of technologies for the optical control of biological functions, together with the observation, measurement, and analysis of biological phenomena that emerge in the optical control of biological functions, as well as the elucidation of biological systems by these technologies. This research area will be managed to establish innovative optical control of biological functions by encouraging collaboration among research areas representing our country’s strengths; these areas include photobiology, photonics, nanotechnology, engineering, and physiology.

Research Area Advisors

・Tadashi Isa
Professor, Graduate School of Medicine, Kyoto University

・Masahiro Ueda
Professor, Graduate School of Frontier Bioscience, Osaka University

・Hideyo Ohuchi
Professor, Graduate School of Medicine, Dentistry and Pharmaceutical Sciences, Okayama University

・Jun Ohta
Professor, Graduate School of Materials Science, Nara Institute of Science and Technology

・Mikio Kataoka
Science Coordinator, Neutron Science and Technology Center, Comprehensive Research Organization for Science and Society/Professor Emeritus, Nara Institute of Science and Technology

・Hisayoshi Takamoto
Manager, The 8th Research Group, Central Research Laboratory, Hamamatsu Photonics K.K.

・Akihisa Terakita
Professor, Graduate School of Science, Osaka City University

・Hiroko Terasaki
Professor & Chairman, Department of Ophthalmology, Graduate School of Medicine, Nagoya University

・Satoru Tokutomi
Professor Emeritus, Osaka Prefecture University

・Akinao Nose
Professor, Graduate School of Frontier Sciences, The University of Tokyo

・Ikue Mori
Professor, Graduate School of Science, Nagoya University

・Akihiro yamanaka
Professor, Research Institute of Environmental Medicine, Nagoya University

Research Projects

  1. Year Started : 2016
  2. Year Started : 2017
  3. Year Started : 2018

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