九州大学 大学院 システム生命科学府

Division of Biological Sciences

Contents

Division of Biological Sciences

Recent developments in ecology and evolutionary biology provide us with better tools to investigate interactions among individuals and the coexistence of species within ecosystems. Similar advances in other branches of biology have likewise led to improved knowledge and techniques. At the individual level of cell developments in physiology we have refined our methodologies of analyzing biological phenomena. Comparable advances in molecular biology have enhanced our knowledge of genomes and clarified the details of mechanisms underlying physiological processes.

The current requirement is to integrate all such developments to investigate interactions between organisms and their environments, and to deepen our understanding of the mechanisms underlying various biological attributes found between individuals and populations.

With this in mind, our study areas include 1) perceptions of, and responses to, environmental stimuli in animals, 2) reception of, and responses to, light in plants, 3) adaptive strategies in reproduction and social structures in organisms, 4) establishment and maintenance of community structures in marine organisms, 5) molecular evolution and the maintenance of genetic diversity, and 6) mathematical aspects of complex biological phenomena.

With this focus we aim to integrate biological knowledge from the molecular, cellular, individual and population levels. By participating in research in our division, students can learn how to conduct cutting-edge research on mechanisms of animal and plant responses to environmental stimuli, ecological interactions between organisms and environments, and the generation and maintenance of biodiversity.

■Ecology

Associate Professor Eiichi Kasuya

Department of Biology, Faculty of Science (Ito campus

E-mail:
URL: http://kasuya.ecology1.org/

I am studying animal behavior from the ecological point of
view, particularly mating and reproductive behavior and behavioral
avoidance of predation and parasitism. An example of our study
is mating and oviposition behavior of females of a waterstrider
(Aquarius paludum). The females often dive into the water and
oviposit eggs on substrates (including plants in the water). When
they oviposit eggs at places deep in the water, they are able to
avoid the parasitism on their eggs (by parasitoid wasps on the
eggs). The females make oviposition at deeper places in the
water when they have males on their back, compared with the
cases without the males. Another example is the study on the
kicking behavior in a grasshopper, Atractomorpha lata, which
kicks the frass with the hind leg. The average flying distance
of the kicked frass is 10 times longer than the body size of the
grasshopper itself, and 100 times longer than the length of the
frass. Both females and males and both juveniles and adults make
this kicking behavior. I am also studying the methods of statistical
data analysis of ecological data, particularly effects of combined
use of model selection and test and/or estimation, and effects of
measurement errors (measurement error in a narrow sense and
misclassification) and unequal variances.

Associate Professor Natsuko Hamamura

Department of Biology, Faculty of Science (Ito campus

E-mail:
URL: http://hamamuralab.com

Microorganisms inhabit almost every environment on the Earth’s surface and play important roles in the biogeochemical processes and contaminant bioremediation. Our research interests include: 1) understanding the microbially-mediated arsenic and other related metal(loid)s transformation processes in the polluted environments, 2) identification of geomicrobiological processes associated with nanosized crystal formation, and 3) development of ecotoxicological assessment tools to evaluate microbial ecosystem response to perturbations. Interdisciplinary knowledge and research efforts are necessary to link genomics, ecology and geochemistry associated with microbial functions in the environments.

■Behavioral Neuroscience

Professor Naoki Matsuo

Department of Biology, Faculty of Science (Ito campus

E-mail:
URL:

In our laboratory, we aim to understand higher-order brain functions that govern animal cognitive behaviors such as learning & memory and emotions. We are carrying out a multidisciplinary research by taking advantage of mouse genetics, behavioral analyses, molecular biology, optogenetics, and neuronal activity recordings.

■Theoretical Biology

Professor Akiko Satake

Department of Biology, Faculty of Science (Ito campus

E-mail:
URL: http://seibutsu.biology.kyushu-u.ac.jp/~satake/en/index.html

We study about diverse aspects of biological systems using
field experiments, molecular experiments, and mathematical and
computational approaches. We explore mechanisms of
reproductive synchrony in plant populations, forest dynamics,
human and animal decision-making using non-linear dynamics,
lattice models, game theory, and learning theory. While the
foundation of our research is theoretical models, we emphasize
linkages between data and models, and interdisciplinary and
collaborative approaches that draw on concepts from a broad
range of natural and social sciences, including economics,
sociology, psychology, and ecology.

iwami2

Associate Professor Shingo Iwami

Department of Biology, Faculty of Science (Ito campus

E-mail:
URL: http://bio-math10.biology.kyushu-u.ac.jp/http://bio-math10.biology.kyushu-u.ac.jp/

Along with the rapid development of experimental techniques in molecular and cell biology, important results have been achieved in the field of virological and immunological disease. In many studies, however, these experimental techniques have focused on elucidating only one aspect of the disease. Mathematical modeling, in tandem with rigorous experimental work, offers an opportunity to analyze disease progression more comprehensively. At one time, modeling work was essentially ignored by the experimental immunology and virology communities, but in the last 15 years it has become an important tool to aid biology. In fact, almost all modern experimental biology groups are now collaborating with a theoretical scientist, although Japan has lagged behind in this type of cooperation. The strength of mathematical modeling comes from its ability to provide quantitative insights which cannot be obtained by experimental and clinical studies alone, particularly in the fields of human-specific infectious disease such as HIV, HCV and influenza infection. I am currently working to establish a new field in Japan called “Computational virology and immunology” which combines experimental analyses, mathematical modeling and analysis, and computational simulation to understand the dynamical systems of disease.

■Stem Cell Biology

Professor Kunimasa Ohta

Faculty of Arts and Science (Ito campus

E-mail: ohta9203@artsci.kyushu-u.ac.jp
URL: under construction

Our group has been studying the molecular regulation of cellular proliferation and differentiation using mouse brain stem cells. We cloned and designated Akhirin and Tsukushi, soluble molecules that express at the brain niche area. We are investigating their molecular functions using knockout and/or transgenic mice. In addition, we reported that lactic acid bacteria incorporation induces cellular reprogramming of the human fibroblasts (Ohta et al., 2012) and demonstrated that ribosome is the actual cellular transdifferentiation material (Ito et al., 2018). Now, we are trying to confirm the “endosymbiotic theory” experimentally to facilitate a better understanding of the origin of eukaryotic cells.

(Kumamoto University)
URL:http://srv02.medic.kumamoto-u.ac.jp/dept/devneuro/ 

■Evolutionary Genetics

Associate Professor Toshiyuki Hayakawa

Faculty of Arts and Science (Ito campus

E-mail:
URL:http://www.biology.kyushu-u.ac.jp/~kteshima/

Sialic acids are components of cell-surface glycans, and play important roles in cell-cell communication and host-pathogen interaction. Over 55 genes, encoding receptors, enzymes and transporters are known to be involved in sialic acid biology. Interestingly, several of these genes show human-specific changes in genome structure, expression, and/or function. What makes us human? This is a popular question for mankind. An unusually large number of human-specific changes have been found in genomic loci involved in sialic acid biology. Exploration of human uniqueness in sialic acid biology is one of scientific approaches to answer this question. Phenotypes expressed by human-specific changes in sialic acid biology can be guessed from relationships between these changes and diseases. Based on a viewpoint of evolutionary medicine, we are studying human-specific changes in sialic acid biology to know their roles in the human evolution.

Associate Professor Kosuke Teshima

Department of Biology, Faculty of Science (Ito campus

E-mail:
URL:http://www.biology.kyushu-u.ac.jp/~kteshima/

Recent development in NGS technologies provides a great
opportunity to study population genomics. We conduct on
population genetic inferences from model and non-model species
to identify their population history including signatures of adaptive
evolution. In addition to data analysis, we are also developing
basic population genetics theory and statistical methods to make
inferences from genomic variation data. We combine population
genetics, bioinformatics and computer sciences to proceed our
research.

■Marine and Freshwater Biology

m-tokeshi

Professor Mutsunori Tokeshi

Department of Biology, Faculty of Science (Amakusa)

E-mail:
URL: http://ambl-ku.jp

Located on the western coast of Kyushu facing the East China Sea, the AMBL specializes in studies of marine and coastal ecosystems including estuaries and streams. Our research involves field and laboratory work on the population and community ecology of various invertebrate, fish and plant/algal species, focusing in particular on various facets of intra- and inter-specific relationships. Our research includes comparative studies of coral reef ecosystems in Amakusa, Okinawa and South-East Asia, particularly Indonesia. We aim to gain a better understanding of the biodiversity and functioning of aquatic ecosystems which are seriously threatened by climate change and various anthropogenic factors.

Graduate School of SystemsLife Sciences Kyushu University

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

Kyushu University
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