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.

>>> Animal Physiology
>>> Ecology
>>> Theoretical Biology
>>> Cell Function
>>> Evolutionary Genetics
>>> Marine and Freshwater Biology

■Animal Physiology

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Professor Teiichi Tanimura

Department of Biology, Faculty of Sciences (Ito campus
E-mail:
URL: http://cellbio.biology.kyushu-u.ac.jp/tanimura/

We are using Drosophila melanogaster to study the neural basis of insect behavior, including feeding-associated behavior and circadian behavior like sleep. We are taking advantage of genetic tools available in Drosophila and applying multidisciplinary approaches using behavioral, electrophysiological, histological and molecular analyses. Our current challenge is to study decision making processes in feeding choice behavior.

■Ecology

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Professor Tetsukazu Yahara

Department of Biology, Faculty of Sciences
Ito campus

E-mail:
URL: http://seibutsu.biology.kyushu-u.ac.jp/~yahara/

I am interested in understanding the evolution of various reproductive strategies of vascular plants (asexual reproduction, sexual reproduction, selfing, pollination etc) by combining techniques of molecular and genome biology with empirical studies in the field. I am also working in some conservation projects in local and regional scales (Ito campus, Yaku Island, Cambodia, whole tropical Asia).

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Associate Professor Eiichi Kasuya

Department of Biology, Faculty of Sciences
Ito campus

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

In our laboratory we are currently carrying out evolutionary ecological research on animal behavior and plant reproduction. Field observations, experiments in a common garden and laboratory and DNA-based analyses of relatedness and phylogeny are employed to test hypotheses on adaptive significance of animal and plant behavior. Feral cats, water striders, social bees and wasps, grey-crowned Babbler, daylilies, and stevias are among the various organisms we are studying. We are also active in ecological conservation research. Projects on biodiversity conservation and ecosystem managements are being conducted in the biodiversity reserve of Kyushu University Ito Campus, World Natural Heritage area on Yaku Island, freshwater ecosystems in Lake Tai in China, and tropical forests in Cambodia.

Associate Professor Natsuko Hamamura

Department of Biology, Faculty of Sciences
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.
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Associate Professor Akiko Satake

Faculty of Arts and Science
Ito campus

 
 

■Theoretical Biology

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Professor Yoh Iwasa

Department of Biology, Faculty of Sciences
Ito campus

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

We analyze biological phenomena by developing mathematical and computational models. The targets of study in our group cover the whole gamut of biology and life sciences. Examples of our study areas include: pattern formation in the cone mosaic of fish retina; leaf vein formation; circadian rhythm; somatic evolution of cancer; genomic imprinting; mate preference evolution; forest dynamics both in temperate and tropical climates; species coexistence and diversity in coral reef environments, and population extinction risk of animals and plants.
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Associate Professor Shingo Iwami

Department of Biology,
Faculty of Sciences
Ito campus

E-mail:

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.

■Cell Function

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Associate Professor Yoshitaka Kobayakawa

Faculty of Arts and Science
Ito campus

E-mail:
URL:http://cellbio.biology.kyushu-u.ac.jp/kobayakawa/

In our laboratory, we study Hydra, class Hydrozoa phylum Cnidaria, in the many fields of biology. In the fields of developmental biology, we study pattern formation, cell differentiation, and gametogenesis of Hydra. We are also studying symbiosis between hydra and green algae. Molecular phylogeny in genus Hydra is also a subject of our research.

■Evolutionary Genetics

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Professor Hidenori Tachida

Department of Biology,
Faculty of Sciences
Ito campus

E-mail:
URL:http://cellbio.biology.kyushu-u.ac.jp/evolution/

We study biological evolution using empirical and theoretical approaches of population genetics. Evolutionary changes of organisms occur through the processes of mutation, selection, genetic drift and migration. Population genetics provides us with tools to infer the roles and nature of those processes from the data of genetic diversity. We are currently using trees in temperate and tropical forests, cichlid fishes and Drosophila as research materials to understand how genetic diversity in those organisms is shaped through the evolutionary processes mentioned above.
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Associate Professor Alfred Edward Szmidt

Department of Biology,
Faculty of Sciences
Ito campus

E-mail:
URL:http://cellbio.biology.kyushu-u.ac.jp/evolution/

Our main interest is to understand the maintenance mechanisms of naturally occurring genetic variation within and between species.
Analysis of the levels of polymorphism and patterns of nucleotide substitutions enable us to infer what evolutionary forces have acted on nucleotide sequences. Population genetic surveys provide information about fitness-related genes upon which natural selection acts.

Current studies focus on:
1) the molecular evolution of duplicated genes.
2) the molecular genetic basis of adaptation by gene duplication following functional diversification.
and 3) the detection of epistatic selection and characterization of responsible genetic factors.

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Associate Professor Toshiyuki Hayakawa

Faculty of Arts and Science
Ito campus

E-mail:

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.

■Marine and Freshwater Biology

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Professor Mutsunori Tokeshi

Amakusa Marine Biological Laboratory, 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

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