Microbiome Area Leader

Leading research on the microbiome that can be used in a clinical setting in the best research environment

Our research is on the microbiome field. Recent studies revealed that microorganisms live in our body influence a lot to our health and there are bacteria that can be used for cancer therapy, therapy for autoimmune diseases and even weight control.

Research in this field has progressed rapidly since 2007 when next generation sequencers (NGS) became available. Before that, there are no methods to analyze complete composition and abundance of microbiomes because all microbiome researches were done manually. However, with the advent of NGS, process speed of decoding has dramatically improved. We are now able to analyze, what kind of bacteria, how many bacteria, and what kind of genes there are in our body. We could accordingly understand the differences among individuals, the differences in children, young adults and elderly adults. Human Microbiome Project (HMP) initiated by the US government contributed scientific progress in the filed significantly. Even in Japan, our researches advance is sustained by a database from HMP.

Traditionally, Japan has superior technologies for microbiome research including anaerobic cultivation and gnotobiote (experimental technique to use germ free animals to examine impact of a bacterium).
With combination of power of NGS and these experimental techniques, we now could carry out a high quality research in the field.

We are provided wonderful research environment. For examples, latest NGS, an analytical server, a germ free animal facility which may be largest in Japan, an anaerobic chamber for cultivating bacteria, and even a humanoid robot to support routine experiments.

In overseas, there are a lot of theoretical researches using NGS whereas we conduct our research with anaerobic cultivation and germ animal experiments in addition to the NGS analysis in order to identify responsible bacteria from clinical samples. We are able to perform comprehensive researches by full utilization of the technologies Japan specializes in.

Robots open new possibilities for research in this field. In near future, we expect robots to conduct everything up to cultivation, which might make cultivation of uncultivable bacteria possible that is currently something humans cannot do.

Supports from JSR Corporation is not only in providing of excellent research facility but also construction of intellectual properties as well as conveying market needs quickly at which in general academia is not good.