九州大学 大学院 システム生命科学府

Division of Life Engineering

Contents

Division of Life Engineering

Future research will continue the development of fundamental science, from application to biodiversity such as deciphered expectations for tailor-made medicine based on the genome and the beginnings of regenerative medicine. The content for the Division of Life Engineering was established with the following statement as a starting point, “Engineering plays a role in the development and application of science, and in the improvement of people’s lives.” There are in fact many fields where industrialization based on the development of life sciences can be attempted. Our aim is to train talented researchers with backgrounds in agriculture and engineering so as to be able to play an active role in the following fields in the biotechnology course.

a. Promotion of biotechnology, for instance, as involved in the production of medicines and functional foods through the use of discovered and deciphered genomes in the performance analysis, effective uses, and production of various biological macromolecules.

b. Promotion of biotechnology, where the role of the biomedical engineer is to learn the biological, chemical, and physical aspects of organization and internal organs of the living body, as well as to develop various techniques and materials targeting internal reproductive organs; as such, biomedical engineering is closely related to the important fields of regenerative medicine, medical history, operation techniques, mechanical organs, and the development of implants for patients with challenging illnesses, with the aim of contributing to saving patients’ lives and improving their quality of life.

c. The field of macromolecular biology focuses on bio-compatibility, biodegradability,and biological absorption of indispensable materials in regenerative medicine, with the aim of limiting the impact on the environment. Biological macromolecule research is likely to have a large impact on the market, with its focus on high performance materials for regenerative medicine, but also raw materials that harmonize with the environment. This field of study promotes the training of biomaterial engineers with a deep understanding of biological macromolecules, various bioceramics, metallic materials for the living body, the development of composite materials, and materials that are compatible with the application of nanotechnology.

d. We aim to promote the development of the up-to-date bioinstrumentation techniques of nano-micro diagnosis that apply to biotechnology imaging and the microelectromechanical system.

The following curriculums are offered according to the goals of the aforementioned human resources development. We believe our students should be able to acquire fundamental knowledge regarding living organisms, cells, and genomes, and to stay in touch with the rapid changes and developments in this field. The key is for students to learn to learn, or to remain flexible enough to update their knowledge autonomously Additionally, research subjects that are typically regarded as applications may have direct effects on students’ career paths. Moreover, it has become a worldwide trend to obtain patents for any invention, and so it is crucial that research findings are patented. Accordingly, we provide lectures on patent strategy and the start-up of a bio venture business.

>>> Life Process Engineering
>>> Biotechnologies for therapy, diagnosis and drug discovery
>>> Life Engineering and Physics
>>> Biofunctional Engineering
>>> Microsystems and Medical Engineering
>>> Cellular Regulation Technology
>>> Structural Biology

■Life Process Engineering

kamihira

Professor Masamichi Kamihira

Department of Chemical Engineering,
Faculty of Engineering
Ito campus

E-mail:
URL:http://www.chem-eng.kyushu-u.ac.jp/lab3/Eng_ver.html

Biological systems have generated ingeniousness by evolving their processes from an individual level to combined levels (from gene to cell, and tissue/organ to organism). The aim of our laboratory’s research is the development of new biotechnology by analyzing the complexity of biological systems and life phenomena, and by attempting to reconstruct these artificially. We are particularly interested in research and design with respect to:

  1. gene transfer techniques;
  2. artificial organs;
  3. transgenic animals;
  4. stem cell technology;
  5. molecular biology of functional cells;

and 6) the production of useful substances using cultured cells.

mizumoto

Associate Professor Hiroshi Mizumoto

Department of Chemical Engineering,
Faculty of Engineering
Ito campus

E-mail:
URL:http://hyoka.ofc.kyushu-u.ac.jp/search/details/K001447/e

The purpose of our project is to develop a culture system and a device for hybrid artificial organs or regenerative medicine using functional organ cells. For example, we try to develop a hybrid artificial liver device based on an original culture technique in which cultured hepatocytes form multicellular organoids. On the other hand, currently, one of the most difficult problems for using hybrid artificial organs and regenerative medicine in clinical situations is to obtain a source of cells. The use of pluripotent stem cells such as embryonic stem cells (ES cells) or induced pluripotent stem cells (iPS cells) has recently received much attention as an important cell source. We try to establish a mass differentiation culture system from stem cells into functional organ cells and aim to apply the techniques to a device for hybrid artificial organs and/or regenerative medicine.

■Biotechnologies for Therapy, Diagnosis and Drug Discovery

katayama

Professor Yoshiki Katayama

Department of Applied Chemistry,
Faculty of Engineering
Ito campus

E-mail:
URL:http://www.chem.kyushu-u.ac.jp/~katayama/

Our laboratory specializes in nano-biomaterials for cell-specific therapy, diagnosis and drug discovery, which includes new concepts of DDS and gene delivery systems, bio-imaging probes, and high throughput assay systems. We have developed new cell-specific drug and gene delivery systems responding to intracellular protein kinase or protease, imaging probes for protein kinase for detecting cancer activity, various high throughput assay systems of protein kinases by using peptide array, and gold nano-particle or fluorescence molecules. In our studies, we aim to create new concepts for the post-genomic era, and to apply the research results to life sciences, medicine, welfare and education.
kishimura

Associate Professor Akihiro Kishimura

Center for Molecular Systems Faculty of Engineering
Ito campus

E-mail: —
URL:http://www.chem.kyushu-u.ac.jp/~katayama/

There have been many intractable diseases still left. To overcome this situation, new technology is required to clarify the reason why it is difficult to treat the intractable diseases by conventional pharmaceutical methods and current drug delivery system, particularly nano-medicine.
In our group, functional nano-devices that can be used for drug delivery vehicles have been developed to obtain structural information of diseased parts at the nanoscopic level as well as some insights of their physicochemical properties. By utilizing our original techniques, properties of polymer nanoarchitectures, such as sizes, morphologies, softness, surface properties, stability and so on, have been tuned to clarify the “nano-pathophysiological properties” of target tissues. Also, nanopathophysiology is considered to contain the field of soft matter sciences, to describe extremely condensed environments found in the living things, for example, cytoplasm and body fluids, and dynamic environments mainly caused by the flow or circulation system in the body. We have carefully dealt with these issues to design nano-medicine of the next generation, and finally to establish the approach of “material physiology”. Novel therapeutics with higher efficacy must be achieved on the basis of the knowledge of nano-pathophysiology.

np

Associate Professor Takeshi Mori

Department of Applied Chemistry,
School of Engineering
Ito campus

E-mail:
URL:http://www.chem.kyushu-u.ac.jp/~katayama/

Cellular lipid bilayers are critical platforms for the myriad of functions performed by membrane proteins. These proteins perform together to correctly respond to outer stimuli. Thus, the cellular responses can be modified by artificial expression of membrane proteins on cell surface by transfection. This concept is called “cell surface engineering”, which has been gathering a lot of attentions recently. Our group approaches this cell surface engineering based on the chemical modification of the cell surface instead of the conventional transfection. As a basement molecule for modification of the cell surface, we have been developed polymeric anchors and peptide-based anchors. Utilizing these anchoring molecules, we modified the cell surface with artificial receptor and ligand molecules which endow homing and endocytotic characteristics to the cells, respectively, to aim effective cell therapy.

■Life Engineering and Physics

np

Professor Kazuhiro Hara

Department of Applied Quantum Physics and Nuclear Engineering,
Faculty of Engineering
Ito campus

E-mail: —
URL: —

With small variation of environmental conditions, some substances making up the living body are known to show very large changes in their structures and functionalities, which is considered to be the origin of the distinctive properties of the biological systems. For making clear the characteristic mechanisms, we have been investigating the properties of hydrogels and hydrocolloids as the model substances of the living-system constituents, including the nano-scale structure investigations by utilizing the synchrotron-light and neutron scattering techniques. In addition to such basic investigations, we have been also developing the functional materials through the use of their discriminative properties serviceable for solving the environmental and resource depletion problems.
OKABE1

Associate Professor Hirotaka Okabe

Department of Applied Quantum Physics and Nuclear Engineering,
Faculty of Engineering
Ito campus

E-mail:
URL:http://www.okabe.ap.kyushu-u.ac.jp/index-j.html

Although a living body is a complex system, we may be able to understand it by coarse graining and simplification. We are doing research from such a physical viewpoint. The present contents of research are the developments of the method of diagnosing a physiology state by measuring ultraweak light called the biophoton of reactive oxygen origin, and the soft matter actuator which is the candidate of an artificial muscle.

  1. Research of the artificial muscle using liquid crystal elastomer.
  2. Biophoton Emission from hand and root plant.

■Biofunctional Engineering

np

Professor Susumu Kudo

Department of Mechanical Engineering,
Faculty of Engineering
Ito campus

E-mail:
URL:http://www.bfe.mech.kyushu-u.ac.jp/

We are elucidating the mechanisms by which the functions of cells and tissues adapt to mechanical environments on the basis of biomechanics. We are also trying to clarify the mechanism and micro- and nanoscopic biotransport. Macroscopic biotransport can be often be analyzed by using a differential equation to model physical phenomena. However, biotransport at much smaller scales (the micro-and nano-scales) is more difficult to model in physical detail. Clarification of the mechanisms of such micro- and nanoscale biotransport will be useful not only in improving our understanding of the mechanisms of disease and the maintenance of stable biological functions, but also for the development of clinical applications such as tissue engineering. The following are examples of the studies that have been performed.

  1. Effect of ambient temperature on finger skin blood flow
  2. Effect of shear stress on functions of endothelial cells
  3. Effect of shear stress on macromolecule permeability across endothelial cells
  4. Effect of flow load on hepatic function in co-culture of hepatocytes and endothelial cells
  5. Using a photochromic fluorescent protein to analyze membrane protein diffusion in endothelial cells under shear stress
  6. Visualization of intracellular diffusion in endothelial cell using photochromic fluorescent protein

■Microsystems and Medical Engineering

r-sawada3

Professor Renshi Sawada

Department of Mechanical Engineering,
Faculty of Engineering
Ito campus

E-mail:
URL:http://nano-micro.mech.kyushu-u.ac.jp/

We are working on research and development and also expansion of the application of a portable radio signal transmission micro sensor, developed by using photolithographic technology (micromachining technology), not consisting of assemblies of individual optical components like in the past. All of the following devices are several times or several tens of times smaller than the conventional devices and are the smallest in the world. Also, these devices are also applied to the medical engineering field. 1) a tiny scanning microscope which enables a tomography application of a micro mirror; 2) a high accuracy micro displacement sensor which can be built into a micro mirror, motor, finger of a robot, or manipulator; 3) noninvasive portable micro devices such as a blood flow sensor, a blood sugar level sensor, or an alcohol level sensor that can perform body condition sensory functions, and 4) a low power-consumption radio signal transmission sensing device for avian influenza.

■Cellular Regulation Technology

katakura

Associate Professor Yoshinori Katakura

Department of Genetic Resources Technology,
Faculty of Agriculture
Hakozaki campus

E-mail:
URL:http://web.me.com/katakura/Site/TOP.html

Recently, oncogenes, oxidative stress, other forms of stress as well as telomere shortening have been shown to induce cellular senescence in normal human somatic cells. Cellular senescence is one of the triggers that cause age-related disorders in specific tissues and organs. We are now investigating the molecular basis for cellular senescence programs to understand age-related disorders, and are trying to develop anti-aging foods. Our research projects are as follows:1) the discovery of senescence-associated factors; 2) the elucidation of regulation mechanisms of telomerase; 3) the elucidation of signaling networks for senescence and aging; 4) the elucidation of roles of senesced cells in age-related diseases; and 5) the development of anti-aging foods.

■Structural Biology

kimura

Professor Makoto Kimura

Department of Bioscience and Biotechnology,
Faculty of Agriculture
Hakozaki campus

E-mail:
URL:http://www.agr.kyushu-u.ac.jp/lab/seibutsukagaku/index.html

RNA degradation plays a crucial role in the regulation of gene expression. The laboratory of Structural Biology is concerned with study of the structure-function relationship of macromolecules involved in RNA degradation, such as ribonuclease P and toxin-antitoxin encoded by the rel operon. First, the ribonuclease P (RNase P) is a ubiquitous trans-acting ribozyme that processes the 5?Eleader sequence of precursor tRNA (pre-tRNA). RNase P is composed of a catalytic RNA and protein cofactors, both of which are required for pre-tRNA processing in vivo. We are also concerned with the study of the protein-RNA interaction, the catalytic mechanism and thermostability of RNase P from hyperthermophilic archaeon Pyrococcus horikoshii OT3. Second, the rel operon, one of the toxin-antitoxin (TA) systems, is composed of two genes organized in an operon that encodes a stable toxin (RelE) and a labile cognate antitoxin (RelB). In steady-state, RelB neutralizes the effects of RelE through direct protein-protein interactions. Upon inductions by environmental stresses, such as amino acid and carbon source limitation, the labile RelB is degraded by a specific protease such as Lon, ClpXP or ClpAP, thereby leading to rapid growth arrest and mRNA degradation through a cellular effect of RelE. We determined the three-dimensional structure of aRelB-aRelE complex, RelB-RelE homologue in the hyperthermophilic archaeon Pyrococcus horikoshii, at a resolution of 2.5 AE
y_kakuta

Professor Yoshimitsu Kakuta

Department of Bioscience and Biotechnology
Faculty of Agriculture
Hakozaki campus

E-mail:
URL:http://www.brs.kyushu-u.ac.jp/~biophys/

The translation factor that works in each step of tRNA, beginning with the extension, and ending with the transportation post of mRNA and the amino acid (the mold of the genetic code), represents a complex reaction to the translation that reads the genetic code in the amino-acid sequencing (as accomplished by the ribosome and the interaction). Currently, we are analyzing the structure and the function correlation of each biological macromolecule in the genetic code conversion reaction by making hyperthermophilic archaeon Pyrococcus horikoshii OT3, narrowing the focus to the biological macromolecule related to those genetic code conversions, and attempting to discover the higher-order structure. We are also analyzing the structural and biological function of sulfotransferase and glycosyltransferase.
Graduate School of SystemsLife Sciences Kyushu University

Grad. Sch. Sys. Life Sci.
Kyushu University
744 Motooka
Nishi-ku 819-0395
Japan

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