Kobe University Graduate School of Medicine
List of Departments, Divisions and Professors
A. Department of Physiology and Cell Biology
Division of Cell Biology (Prof. Mikio Furuse)
Our laboratory works to understand how epithelial cellular sheets partition
the body in different compartments and maintain the homeostasis in multicellular
organisms. We focus on intercellular junctions, especially vertebrate tight
junctions, which seal the intercellular space to restrict the free diffusion
of solutes via intercellular space. Utilizing molecular cell biological approach,
we are analyzing the function of tight junction-associated integral membrane
proteins including occludin, claudins, and others in cultured epithelial
cells as well as in mice. We are also interested in the molecular organization
of invertebrate counterparts of tight junctions to gain an integrative understanding
for the role of intercellular junctions in epithelial barrier function.
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Division of Cell Biology (G-COE) (Assistant Prof. Tatsushi Igaki)
Our laboratory is studying the mechanism of how epithelial cells communicate
each other to understand the molecular basis of epithelial dynamic homeostasis
and cancer development. Epithelium has an intrinsic mechanism that eliminates
oncogenic cells from the tissue. This ‘intrinsic tumor suppression’ is
driven by cell-cell communication-based machinery called ‘cell competition’.
Using Drosophila genetics, we are trying to understand the basic principle
of this epithelial intrinsic tumor suppression. We are also genetically
dissecting tumor growth and metastasis using a Drosophila model of tumor
Original Home Page: http://www.med.kobe-u.ac.jp/igalab/index.html
Division of Cell Physiology (Prof. Yasuhiro Minami)
We are interested in understanding the molecular mechanisms that regulate "cell
polarity and cell migration during developmental morphogenesis" and "genomic
stability via cell-cycle checkpoint, in particular spindle checkpoint" by
analyzing at different levels, i.e. molecular, cellular, and tissue/organ
levels. We are also examining the relationships between abnormalities of
these regulatory mechanisms and human diseases, including cancers and neurological
disorders. Outlined below are our research projects are as follows:
1. Molecular analyses of signal transduction regulating cell polarity and
cell migration during developmental morphogenesis and tissue repair.
2. Molecular analyses of the relationships between abnormalities in cell
polarity/ cell migration and tumor invasion/ metastasis.
3. Molecular analyses of neurogenesis and network formation in the central
4. Molecular analyses of the relationships between abnormalities in spindle
checkpoint and tumorigenesis.
5. Molecular analyses of epigenetic gene expression in the regulation of
cell polarity and cell migration.
6. Analyses of tumor invasion/ metastasis and morphogenetic anomalies using
Original Home Page: http://www.med.kobe-u.ac.jp/medzoo/
Division of Cellular and Ｍolecular Ｍedicine (Prof. Susumu
Pancreatic beta-cell plays a central role in the maintenance of glucose homeostasis
and failures of beta-cell function cause diabetes. Our laboratory focuses
(1) Functional development and regenerative medicine of endocrine pancreas
(2) Molecular mechanisms of stimulus-secretion coupling (focusing on insulin
secretion) and its failure
(3) Molecular regulation of nutritional metabolism by the central nervous
(4) Generation of animal models for diseases by genetic manipulation and
(5) Mechanisms of the development of diabetes mellitus.
Original Home Page: http://www.med.kobe-u.ac.jp/phys1/index.html
Division of Molecular Brain Science (Prof.Tatsushi Toda)
Our laboratory's research projects are, using various analytical methods
in genomics, proteomics, glycomics, molecular cell biology, genetic engineering,
and others, (1) identification and functional analysis of the genes associated
with monogenic or polygenic diseases such as muscular dystrophies, Parkinson's
disease, and mental retardation, (2) elucidation of molecular pathogenesis
of these diseases, (3) development of diagnostics and therapeutics for
these diseases towards personalized medicine, and (4) identification of
the genes related to intelligence and memory, and understanding the complicated
higher brain function.
Original Home Page: http://www.med.kobe-u.ac.jp/clgene/
Division of Molecular Genetics (Prof. Atsu Aiba)
Our division focuses on understanding the molecular mechanisms which underlie
the synaptic plasticity, activity dependent formation of neuronal circuitry,
and learning and memory. We generate knockout mice and inducible knockout
mice of signal transduction molecules including the glutamate receptors.
We have recently applied proteomics analysis to these mice.
Original Home Page: http://www.med.kobe-u.ac.jp/cell/index.html
Division of Developmental Neurobiology (Prof. Toshio Terashima)
We are studying morphological and molecular mechanisms of the reelin signaling
pathway with a use of neurological mutant mice, reelin-deficient mouse, reeler and
Dab1-deficient mouse, yotari. In addition, we are studying development
of the nervous system of the zebrafish and ascidia. We also study the basic
and clinical anatomy of human bodies, such as the innervation pattern of
foot muscles. Our current projects are as follows:
1. Development of laminar structures in the brain and spinal cord, especially
cerebral and cerebellar cortices, olfactory bulb, superior colliculus, and
dorsal horn of the spinal cord on tha basis of reelin signaling pathway.
2. Mechanisms of migration of neurons in cortical and non-cortical structures
in the central nervous system of the mouse.
3. Development of brain structures of the zebra fish and ascidia.
Original Home Page: http://www.med.kobe-u.ac.jp/anato1/Anat1_home.html
Division of Developmental Biology and Regenrative Medicine (Affiliated
Graduate Programs) (Visiting Professors: Shinichi Nishikawa, Hitoshi Niwa,
The Center for Developmental Biology (Riken CDB) was launched in April 2000
under the auspices of the Millennium Project research initiative that was
established to drive research in the fields of information technology, environmental
science and the study of aging, areas of vital importance to both Japan and
the world in the 21st century. The Riken CDB has established affiliated graduate
program relationship with Kobe University Graduate School of Medicine since
April in 2002. The current graduate programs are directed by 3 principal
investigators at RIKEN CDB (Drs. S. Nishikawa, H. Niwa, and M. Okano).
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(Visiting Prof. Shinichi Nishikawa)
(Visiting Prof. Hitoshi Niwa)
Prof. Masaki Okano)
Division of Neuronal Signal Transduction (Prof. Naoaki Saito)
(1) Signal transduction system in the nervous system
(2) Molecular mechanism of neuronal diseases and their treatment
(3) Mechanism of signal transduction by lipid messengers
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Original Home Page: http://www.research.kobe-u.ac.jp/brce-saito/
Division of Neuronal Signal Transduction (G-COE) (Assistant Prof. Takuji
We are studying molecular mechanisms regulating cell shape changes in mammalian
morphogenesis by focusing on several membrane proteins including cadherin
members and FERM molecules. During the animal morphogenesis, epithelial cell
sheets should actively change their shapes according to the developmental
programs. Investigating the nature of the cell shape changes is very fascinating
and exciting one. The followings are our main interests:(1) Cell shape changes
in the embryonic cerebral cortex, and (2) Apical domain determinants in epithelial
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Original Home Page: http://www.med.kobe-u.ac.jp/tanlab/
Division of Membrane Dynamics (Prof. Toshiaki Sakisaka)
We are studying membrane traffic and its dependent cellular functions. Our
current projects are as follows:
(1) Molecular mechanism of neurite outgrowth
(2) Molecular mechanism of neurotransmitter release
(3) Structure and function of synapse
(4) Structure and function of cell-cell junction.
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Original Home Page: http://www.med.kobe-u.ac.jp/membrd/
Division of Vascular Biology (Associate Prof. Masanori Hirashima)
Establishment of an organized hierarchical vascular network comprised of
blood vessels and lymphatic vessels is crucial for its function. We are
working on molecular mechanisms underlying embryonic vascular development
(from differentiation and diversification of endothelial cells to morphogenesis
of the vascular system) and fluid homeostasis in mice. VEGF receptors and
Aspp1 are genes of our particular interest.
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Original Home Page: http://www.med.kobe-u.ac.jp/vascul/
Division of Vascular Biology (G-COE) (Assistant Prof. Akiyoshi Uemura)
In retinas, organized vascular networks are established during developmental
stages, whereas dysfunctional blood vessels aberrantly grow in some
pathological settings, such as diabetic retinopathy. To promote formation of
functional vascular networks in retinal vascular disorders, we are studying
cellular and molecular mechanisms regulating retinal angiogenesis. The
subjects we are focusing on are:
(1) Roles of Semaphorin-Plexin signals in the control of sprouting
directions of retinal endothelial cells.
(2) Roles of orphan nuclear receptor Tlx (tailless) in the control of
pro-angiogenic activities in retinal astrocytes.
(3) Identification of endothelial-specific small GTPases in growing retinal
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