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.
E-mail: furuse@med.kobe-u.ac.jp
Original Home Page:

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 malignancy.
E-mail: igaki@med.kobe-u.ac.jp
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 nervous system.
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 animal models.
E-mail: minami@kobe-u.ac.jp
Original Home Page: http://www.med.kobe-u.ac.jp/medzoo/

Division of Cellular and Molecular Medicine (Prof. Susumu Seino)
Pancreatic beta-cell plays a central role in the maintenance of glucose homeostasis and failures of beta-cell function cause diabetes. Our laboratory focuses on:
(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 system
(4) Generation of animal models for diseases by genetic manipulation and their analyses
(5) Mechanisms of the development of diabetes mellitus.
E-mail: seino@med.kobe-u.ac.jp
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.
E-mail: toda@med.kobe-u.ac.jp
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.
E-mail: aiba@med.kobe-u.ac.jp
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.
E-Mail: ttera@med.kobe-u.ac.jp
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: Masatoshi Takeichi, Takashi Tsuji, Yasuhide Furuta, Ichiro Hiratani, SaKan Yoo)
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 5 principal investigators at RIKEN CDB (Drs. M. Takeichi, T. Tsuji, Y. Furuta, I. Hiratani, and S. Yoo).
Original Home Page:
http://www.cdb.riken.jp/en/research/laboratory/takeichi.html (Visiting Prof. Masatoshi Takeichi)
http://www.cdb.riken.jp/en/research/laboratory/tsuji.html (Visiting Prof. Takashi Tsuji)
http://www.clst.riken.jp/en/science/labs/bdi/biosys/gen/ (Visiting Prof. Yasuhide Furuta)
http://www.cdb.riken.jp/en/research/laboratory/hiratani.html (Visiting Assoc. Prof. Ichiro Hiratani)
http://www.riken.jp/en/research/labs/associate/physiol_gen/ (Visiting Assoc. Prof. SaKan Yoo)

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
Mail address: naosaito@kobe-u.ac.jp
Original Home Page: http://www.research.kobe-u.ac.jp/brce-saito/

Division of Neuronal Signal Transduction (G-COE) (Assistant Prof. Takuji Tanoue)
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 sheets.
Mail address: tanoue@med.kobe-u.ac.jp
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.
Mail address: sakisaka@med.kobe-u.ac.jp
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.
Mail address: mhirashi@med.kobe-u.ac.jp
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 vessels.
Mail address: auemura@med.kobe-u.ac.jp
Original Home Page:

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