Department of Biological Sciences

List of Faculty Members,Department of Biological Sciences

Susumu Izumi

Position Professor
Research
Description
Insects can be regarded as the most adaptive and flourishing group of organisms in the current global environment.
In my laboratory, I use lepidopteran insects like silkworms as the subjects of an experimental animal, and I analyze a variety of physiological functions in insects by use of molecular and biochemical approaches. In addition, I am planning to analyze the molecular mechanisms to form cilia using transparent nematode, Caenorhabditis elegans.

Kazuhito Inoue

Position Professor
Research
Description
The system of photosynthesis originated in about 2.7 billion years ago. My research interest is focused on evolution of photosynthesis using plants as well as photosynthetic bacteria which leave original features of photosynthesis as a research material. I also pay attention to a biotechnological application of photosynthesis. In addition, with regard to applications, I have an extremely elaborate photosynthesis system, where I am genetically engineering the cyanobacteria, which uses light efficiently. I was able to make improvements and successfully increase the hydrogen production efficiency by ten times or more. Using these research results as a foundation, I am aiming to develop renewable energy sources.

Tsuyoshi Ogasawara

Position Professor
Research
Description
My research topic covers the behavioral physiology of fishes in their osmoregulation. This is a field that investigates how animals behave and deal with the environmental salinity changes.
My research considers behavior, ecology and the lifestyle of animals in their original habitats. In my research of fish, the lower vertebrates, I study with a "simplified approach similar to a child" and consider how animals as an integrated unit adapt and become familiar to their own environment. Of course, this is just one of my scientific interests. Science should be simple.

Ken'ichi Kanazawa

Position Professor
Research
Description
The diversity found in organisms is the result of them adapting to various environments over a long period of time. In our research laboratory, we consider the lineage of the organisms while focusing on the history of their adaptive evolution, and we are hoping to shed light on the significance behind their morphology and lifestyle.
Our current research targets sea urchins, sea stars, brittle stars, molluscs, crustaceans and aquatic insects. Through ecological observations and various experiments involved in raising these animal species, we are investigating the evolutionary biology on a population level and an individual level.

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Susumu Kotani

Position Professor
Research
Description
A standard high school textbook sometimes says, "the cytoplasmic matrix is the empty part of the cell." It is true that the majority of the cytoplasm looks empty in conventional micrographs, but the latest techniques have revealed that the cytoplasm is filled with "cytoskeleton", the fibrous "scaffolding" or "skeleton" that is held tightly together and is essential for cellular functions.
I am mainly investigating the function of the cytoskeleton within a living cell. I also take the protein molecules that compose the cytoskeleton out of the cell, and study their functions in vitro as well as their molecular structures.
Homepage Kotani Laboratory

Akiya Hino

Position Professor
Research
Description
For example, at the point of fertilization to a certain stage of early development, we can not realize the difference between sea urchin and human being. However, during the course of development, their forms change respectively; sea urchins embryo become sea urchins, and human embryos become humans. I am investigating how these changes are regulated in the cell, with cell biological and molecular biological sciences. As a material, I am using sea squirts, sea urchins and starfish for specimens in this research. My investigation includes the analysis of morphological changes in the sperm when it fertilizes the egg, and the systematic analysis by mitochondrial DNA etc. In addition, I am also developing academic materials for conducting experiments that make the natural sciences more appealing and attractive for students.
Homepage Hino Laboratory

Haruki Hashimoto

Position Professor
Research
Description
The origin of green plants has been traced to endosymbiosis of cyanobacteria, from which plastids evolved. A basic research theme of this laboratory is the evolution of plant life through endosymbiosis. In order for plastids obtained by endosymbiosis to have passed on their genes to the next generation, it must have been necessary in the evolutionary process to establish mechanisms for plastid division and for cooperation between plastid division and cell division. Research on plastid division is therefore important to the study of both cell biology and evolution theory. This laboratory conducts research, mainly using electron microscopes, on the division of plastids and other plant cell organelles. In the study of biology, there are many structures and phenomena waiting to be seen for the first time in tangible form. The discovery of unknown structures and phenomena within the field of view of an electron microscope brings joy and excitement that can never be forgotten.

Emiko Maruta

Position Professor
Research
Description
My research focuses on tree survival in the environmental relationship contexts of treelines, which define the boundaries of where forests can grow, primarily in the subalpine areas and alpine belts of central Japan. During winter when soil is frozen, evergreen needleleaf trees are deprived of moisture by strong winds resulting in drying, withering trees—a condition that has the greatest impact on tree survival. Concentrating mainly on this mechanism, I am currently working on ways to predict how future climate change could alter this phenomenon and shift treeline positions.

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Yoshitaka Azumi

Position Associate Professor
Research
Description
The process of cell division is required in order for plants to grow and to produce offspring. During this process, chromosomes that carry genes must be passed on successfully to their daughter cells.
In my laboratory, I am investigating how chromosomes behave and by what mechanism they are successfully segregated during cell division. Especially, I am focusing on meiosis which only occurs once in the life of plants, and is a special type of cell division with no room for error.
Homepage Azumi Laboratory

Tsuyoshi Ohira

Position Associate Professor
Research
Description
Crustaceans, such as shrimp and crab are the most diverse animal group in aquatic environment. Crustaceans, similar to vertebrates like humans, have hormones in the body with various physiological functions. Crustaceans display a fascinating feature, a certain hormone change their sex.
In my research laboratory, I am investigating a remarkable "androgenic gland hormone" which causes this sex reversal, and sinus gland hormones which control growth and reproduction.

Yoshihiro Suzuki

Position Associate Professor
Research
Description
Almost all the organisms living on the earth depend on the primary production via photosynthesis of plants and algae occurring in their habitats from the equator to the polar regions. Most of the ecosystems are supported by the photosynthesis and we are very interested in the photosynthetic responses to the various conditions in nature.
We are studying not only "How photosynthesis respond?" but also "Why photosynthesis have to respond?" from the stand point of ecology.

Ryuji Toyoizumi

Position Associate Professor
Research
Description
In my research laboratory, our goal is to reveal the genetic cascades leading to the morphogenesis of the vertebrate embryos, especially focusing on revealing the early axial specification of the vertebrate embryos using various techniques, molecular biology, histochemistry, cell culture methods etc.
In addition, our research interests are focused on the evolutionally developmental biology and cellular behaviors during embryogenesis. I am currently investigating the molecular mechanisms leading to early axial specification, in particular left-right axis determination and subsequent differentiation and brain lateralization, of lower vertebrates using both model organisms, such as zebrafish and Xenopus, and non-model organisms, for example, catfish and cavefish, etc.
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