We are interested in the cellular and molecular mechanisms of how the cells in the central nervous system, in particular the cells in the cerebral cortex, are born, migrate to their final destinations, develop unique structures such as layers, and finally form such a complex network to enable the various higher brain functions. We are also investigating how these developmental processes are disturbed by various perturbations.
In mammalian development, a vascular network is formed throughout the body to meet the tissue requirements for oxygen and nutrients. Three major processes necessary to form a complete vascular network are vasculogenesis, angiogenesis and vascular remodeling. Vasculogenesis denotes de novo blood vessel formation, in which vascular precursor cells (angioblasts) migrate to sites of vascularization, differentiate into endothelial cells, and coalesce to form the initial vascular plexus. Angiogenesis refers to the budding of new capillary branches from existing blood vessels, while vascular remodeling describes a later phase when a formed vessel increases its luminal diameter in response to increased blood flow and acquires artery, vein or capillary identity. Our research is aimed at uncovering the cellular and molecular mechanisms for these processes using multiple transgenic and knockout mice. The overall direction of our research is determined by daily observations mostly in morphological studies, never by hypothesis or practical goals. We are always seeking for what’s really interesting unprecedented rather than what’s close to clinical utility. We believe that the achievement of our research may lead to a real breakthrough in the treatment of human neovascular and ischemic diseases.
We teach Medical Physiology I, which covers sensory, nervous and muscle systems. Through lectures and hands-on experiments, students are expected to obtain a solid understanding of basic neurophysiology and pathophysiology underlying sensory and nervous disorders. It has become increasingly clear that neuronal connections (synapses) are dynamically generated, fine-tuned and eliminated during development and throughout adulthood, in an activity-dependent manner. These processes are thought to play crucial roles in cognitive functions, such as learning and memory, and underly certain neurodevelopmental and neuropsychiatric disorders. Our laboratory has been trying to understand molecular mechanisms by which synapses are formed, maintained or eliminated by focusing on glutamate receptors and C1q family proteins.
The neuroscience group in the Department of Physiology seeks to elucidate the physiology of homeostasis in the human body, and to help medical students gain a better understanding of human physiology through cutting-edge research. Our group consists of basic and clinical scientists working together closely in stem cell research projects. Studies of pathogenesis using patient-derived-iPS cells and drug discovery research aimed at the development of future treatments for neurodegenerative disease are key focuses for our group. Our group has gained international recognition for advancing the development new therapeutic approaches for spinal cord injury using neural stem/progenitor cells differentiated from human iPS cells, as well as for studies of brain science using the common marmoset, a New World monkey used in non-human primate research.
Founded by Professor Katsuma Abe, the Department of Pharmacology at Keio University School of Medicine has since led the field of pharmacology in Japan. At present, we are studying the structure-function relationships of transmembrane receptors, channels and transporters that are important targets of chemical therapies. Additionally, cutting-edge technologies such as molecular dynamics simulations and nonlinear optical imagings are actively employed in our department. We hope to contribute to the developments of better pharmacological therapies in collaboration with clinical departments.
Medical biochemistry is a field of science that focuses on understanding living systems at the molecular level in order to create innovative applications in medicine and health care. Gases are low-weight molecules that are produced in the living body; they characteristically recognize biological macromolecules and bind them in a site-specific manner to regulate their functions. Our department intends to clarify the mechanism of the production, acceptance, and distribution of gas molecules in the living body and eventually apply their characteristics to medicine. To drive gas biology research, our department is applying world's cutting-edge quantitative mass spectrometry imaging technology and structural biology, and is promoting innovative drug discovery research focused on the low-molecular metabolites.
Our laboratory is investigating RNA silencing pathways, in which cognate RNA targets are inactivated by small RNA?Argonaute complexes. Key steps in the RNA silencing pathway are shared by a diverse set of gene regulatory mechanisms. These include mechanisms that silence endogenous genes, particularly genes involved in development and stem cell maintenance, and mechanisms that restrain the expression of transposable elements (TEs) or viruses and direct transcriptional gene silencing. Our research focuses on the biogenesis of small guide RNAs and the RNA induced silencing complex (RISC), and their role in cellular gene expression and TE silencing.
The mission of the Preventive Medicine and Public Health department is to prevent diseases and to promote every aspect of human health for all people through an interdisciplinary societal framework. Our main research interests are in the field of environmental and occupational medicine, epidemiology and preventive medicine, emphasizing the significance of scientifically-based research and evidence-based practices in public health. We are also greatly devoted to public health education and activities to train professionals who can communicate to the public and contribute to the achievement of a healthier society.
The Department of Infectious Diseases covers a wide range of fields including tropical diseases, and parasitic, bacterial, and viral infections. Basic research activities are focused on future clinical medicine-related issues like diagnosis and infection control of these infections that are becoming increasingly diversified due to aging of the population, social globalization, and global warming among others. We work in close cooperation with various basic medical sciences and clinical departments as well as the Center for Infectious Disease and Infection Control.
To be able to directly observe and analyze diseases morphologically is one of the advantages of pathology. From the view of pathology, we aim to identify early-stage cancer, analyze its biological properties and clarify the mechanisms of carcinogenesis which are responsible for the malignant transformation. All works are purposed to be applied in clinical practice. With the help of molecular biological and cellular analysis, our main research targets are incurable cancers such as liver, bile duct, pancreas, and lung cancer. Additionally, we are now promoting the use of IT to help quantify histological information and expect to absorb this technology to be widely used not only in cancer, but also in the non-cancerous diseases. In the future, we aim to contribute to the establishment of precision medicine for cancer, lifestyle-related diseases, and degenerative diseases.
On the basis of findings from routine diagnostic pathology work, we develop scientific ideas and follow them up using a molecular pathological approach, which can yield potential benefits for patients. In order to understand the molecular basis of diseases and the mechanisms determining the clinicopathological heterogeneity of cancers, we perform integrated/multilayer-omics analysis, especially epigenome analysis, using tissue specimens we have examined pathologically. Our aim is to develop new strategies for carcinogenetic risk estimation, early diagnosis of cancer, prognostication of patients, and cancer prevention and therapy.
The aim of our research is the understanding of immune responses at cellular and molecular levels. Dysregulation of the balance between effector and regulatory cells causes immunological disorders such as allergies and autoimmune diseases. Furthermore, recent studies have revealed a deep involvement of immune responses to various diseases including cancer and neuronal degeneration. We investigate the molecular basis of immunity in such diseases by using genetically engineered mice and other molecular biological techniques.
Gut microbiota controls host homeostasis such as immunity and metabolism. Our research is aimed at the identification of specific gut bacteria that affect host physiology, in particular the immune system, using model animals mice and fruit flies. Strategies for our studies include taking advantage of gnotobiotic animals, in which all the bacteria are specified. We have so far identified 17 bacteria that induce the expansion of regulatory T cells, which are important for suppressing gut inflammation. We have also started to investigate whether they could be suitable for clinical trials.
The major role of forensic medicine is to provide evidence for clarification and resolution of cases, which also contributes to crime suppression and accident prevention. Investigation into the cause of death of an sudden unexpected death case also contribute in the same way. The final goal is to realize a safer and more secure society. Established in 1921, our department has a very long history and tradition. Currently, we are pursuing research on sudden unexpected death syndrome (SUDS) and on more objective and persuasive new forensic diagnostic methods. We also welcome and work with young researchers who will be the leaders of the next generation.
In healthcare, providing high-quality services to all patients and citizens is the foremost priority. This must be done in a sustainable fashion, and from the viewpoints of common good and public interest. To do this, we must design and manage policies, systems, and action plans that navigate healthcare ecosystems toward values that reflect various stakeholders' viewpoints. This includes not only patients, but payers and providers, corporations and governments, and must take their dynamic relationships into account. The Department of Healthcare Policy and Management is committed to collaborating with the diverse group listed above to carry out empirical and practical research that is applicable to evidence-based policy development as well as the refinement of social science methodology.
The Department of Systems Medicine pursues a broad range of scientific interests that cover regenerative medicine, rejuvenative nedicine, systems niology, bioinformatics, medical informatics, and translational research with the ultimate goal of understanding and extending the human health span. Our approaches are centered on “systems thinking” and “global systematic analyses” in both wet-lab and dry-lab settings. We employ large-scale systematic approaches to characterize and manipulate stem cells experimentally and to analyze resultant large data sets of genomics, epigenomics, and phenotypes mathematically and computationally. We develop algorithms and software tools to facilitate the analyses and applications of biological information and health records. By providing interdisciplinary education and training, we also aim to produce global leaders in biomedical research.
In the Division of Gene Regulation, our final goal is to concur cancers and the relevant refractory diseases. We are conducting a wide range of research from basic science to pre-clinical research to contribute to the development of new preventative, diagnostic and therapeutic approaches. In our laboratory, researchers and students coming from home and abroad are work hard day and night for their discoveries. We believe that knowledge and technologies cultivated by our advanced basic research can be applied to clinical medicine, and hope to foster an environment where talented people can contribute to the progress of biomedical science.