Kobe University Graduate School of Medicine
List of Departments, Divisions and Professors

B. Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

Division of Molecular Biology (Prof. Tohru Kataoka)@
The goal of our research is to develop new anti-cancer drugs targeting the oncogene products (in particular Ras) through clarification of cellular signaling mechanisms mediated by them. We have three main research projects; (1) analysis of the role of Ras/Rap effectors PLCepsilon and RA-GEFs in carcinogenesis using gene-targeted mice, (2) determination of the three dimensional structures of Ras/Rap and their effectors, and structure-based in silico drug design for their inhibitors, and (3) analysis of the
regulatory mechanisms and cellular functions of Rho family small G proteins.
Mail address: kataoka@peaple.kobe-u.ac.jp
Original Home Page: http://www.med.kobe-u.ac.jp/molbiol/index.html

Division of Biochemistry (Prof. Shun-ichi Nakamura)
Many kinds of hormones, growth factors and neurotransmitters bind to their receptors on the target cells and transduce signals into the cells to regulate a variety of cell functions, although many of the signaling pathways are not fully understood yet. Our laboratory is focused on the lipid signaling that regulates cellular functions such as cell proliferation, differentiation and neuronal functions.
Mail Address: snakamur@kobe-u.ac.jp
Original Home Page: http://www.med.kobe-u.ac.jp/biochemistry/Home.html

Division of Moleculoar and Cellular Biology (Prof. Yoshimi Takai)
The main theme of our lab is to achieve a new concept on the molecular mechanisms of cell adhesion, movement, proliferation, and polarization. We have indentified a new cell adhesion system, the nectin-afadin system. This cell adhesion system exclusively localizes at adherens junctions, one of the major junctional apparatuses of adjacent cells, and plays a key role in the formation of cell-cell junctions in corporation with another cell adhesion system, the cadherin-catenin system. Nectins are a single membrane-spanning immunoglobulin-like molecule and directly bind afadin through the C-terminal motif. Our recent investigations successfully revealed the involvement of the nectin-afadin system and nectin-like molecules (Necls) in not only cell adhesion but also cell movement, proliferation, polarization, and survival through the regulation of intracellular signaling molecules. Based on these observations, we will further clarify novel signaling pathways implicated in these cellular functions, focusing on nectins, Necls, and afadin. Since the abnormality of signaling pathways is strongly associated with pathogenesis of many diseases including cancer, atherosclerosis, and neurological disorders, our research achievement would provide a new insight into the understanding of pathology and the development of treatment of such diseases as well as the progress in biomedical science.
E-mail: ytakai@med.kobe-u.ac.jp
Original Home Page: http://www.med.kobe-u.ac.jp/mcb/

Division of Lipid Biochemistry (Prof. Tadaomi Takenawa)
Our major projects are to clarify (1) how cancer cells migrate and invade in@extracellular matrix leading to metastasis. (2) role of inositolphospholipids as biomodulators. Currently we are focusing on the clarification of signaling mechanism in epithelilal-mesenchymal transition(EMT) and mesenchymal-ameboid transition(MAT) of cancer cells.
E-mail: takenawa@med.kobe-u.ac.jp
Original Home Page: http://www.med.kobe-u.ac.jp/lipid/

Division of Structural Biology (G-COE) (Assistant Prof. Daizo Hamada)@
Various diseases require transformations of particular proteins into malfunctional states which modify the properties of biological membranes. Aims of our group are to clarify the structural and functional propreties of toxic oligomers formed by amyloidogenic proteins or bacterial virulence factors and to solve the mechanism of such structural transformation on the basis of biophysics. Development of methodologies to tackle these diseases using biophysical background is another goal of our research.
E-mail: daizo@med.kobe-u.ac.jp
Original Home Page: http://www.med.kobe-u.ac.jp/strbio/DH/

Division of Membrane Biology (Associate Prof. Toshiki Ito)@
Goal of our research is to understand how the shape of cellular membrane is controlled in wider range of physiological events such as membrane trafficking, cell migration and cell division. We focus on a group of proteins that contains the F-BAR domain, a membrane-bending module conserved among actin regulatory proteins. Our current interest is to clarify their interplay with signal transduction pathways involving Rho GTPases and tyrosine kinases. As more challenging project, we are also attempting to obtain a comprehensive list of membrane-interacting proteins using mass spectrometry. E-mail: titoh@med.kobe-u.ac.jp
Original Home Page: http://www.med.kobe-u.ac.jp/membrane/Top.html

Division of Ultrastructural Biology (Affiliated Graduate Programs) (Visiting Prof. Naoto Yagi, Visiting Prof. Takashi Kumasaka)
SPring-8, the world's largest third-generation synchrotron radiation facility, provides the most powerful synchrotron radiation currently available. SPring-8's ultra-brilliant synchrotron radiation gives researchers exciting opportunities for advanced research in materials science, spectroscopic analysis, earth science, life science, environmental science, industrial applications and so forth. Spring-8 has established affiliated graduate program relationship with Kobe University Graduate School of Medicine since April in 2000. The current graduate programs are directed by 2 principal investigators at Spring-8 (Drs. Naoto Yagi and Takashi Kumasaka).
E-mail: yagi@spring8.or.jp (Dr. Yagi); kumasaka@spring8.or.jp (Dr. Kumasaka)
Original Home Page:

Division of Genomic Physiology (Prof. Kaoru Sugasawa)
Genomic DNA is constantly damaged by various endogenous as well as environmental agents. Such DNA damage, if unrepaired, may induce not only mutations, which promote carcinogenesis, but also apoptosis of cells, which may be associated with different types of pathological states, including ageing and neurological degeneration. Our research is aimed to understand the molecular mechanisms underlying efficient recognition and repair of DNA damage to mitigate such deleterious effects. We are particularly interested in functions and in vivo regulation (via various post-translational modifications and degradation) of the responsible gene products for a human DNA repair-deficient disorder, xeroderma pigmentosum (XP). Another subject is intracellular signaling pathways in response to DNA damage, which determine the fate of cells, either repairing the lesions to stay alive or triggering apoptosis to maintain 'order' within an individual of multicellular organisms.
E-mail: ksugasawa@garnet.kobe-u.ac.jp
Original Home Page: http://www.research.kobe-u.ac.jp/brce-sugasawa/index.html

Division of Molecular Pharmacology and Pharmacogenomics (Prof. Takayoshi Kuno)
(1) Study on molecular mechanisms of drug action and pharmacogenomics using fission yeast model system
(2) Molecular genetic study on cell signaling
(3) Molecular biological and genetic study on immunosuppressants
(4) Protein phosphorylation and dephosphorylation
(5) Stress response mechanisms of the cell
E-mail: tkuno@med.kobe-u.ac.jp
Original Home Page: http://www.med.kobe-u.ac.jp/pharma/welcome.html

Division of Pharmacokinetics (Prof. Midori Hirai)
The goal of our research is to elucidate clinical applications for the optimal pharmacotherapy.
The current research projects are as follows;
(1) Pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics of drugs
(2) Tailor-made pharmacotherapy based on genotyping
(3) Drug metabolizing enzyme and transporter systems in the drug disposition
(4) Development of drug delivery systems and optimization of gene therapy
E-mail: midorih@med.kobe-u.ac.jp

Original Home Page: http://www.med.kobe-u.ac.jp/yakudo/
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