Significance of Our Research and Expected Outcomes
Cells and tissues, fundamental units of living systems, are comprised of diverse kinds of biomolecules. Conventional biochemical research has been mainly conducted with purified biomolecules in a dilute solution, which ignores the effect of the crowded multimolecular environment on the functions of biomolecules. Therefore, the research outcome obtained under these artificial conditions is often inadequate for explaining the functions of biomolecules within living systems. Furthermore, current artificial probes and modulators cannot effectively work in biological systems. To address these issues, we have established the front-line research area “Chemistry for Crowding Multimolecular Biosystems”. This area of research mainly comprises researchers from various research fields including chemical biology, biophysical chemistry, and nano-biodevice chemistry. It also involves researchers from a wider range of fields such as pharmaceutical science, protein science, computational chemistry, and medicine.
Artificial probes and modulators devised from our research will enable precise analysis and regulation of biological systems, which will lead to discovery of new functions and interactive networks of bio-molecules in live systems (chemical biology research). The artificial sensing systems we develop will also provide quantitative physical data for biological systems. This will help establish a new approach of biophysical chemistry for discovering how the crowded molecular environment affects functions of biomolecules. Comprehensive understanding of cells and living organisms from the perspective of the molecular biosystem is a critically important issue of current biological science. We believe that significant research progress in our area will greatly contribute not only to a deeper understanding of the “crowding molecular biosystems” of life, but also to the creation of a new direction of biorelevant chemistry. Our research will extend beyond basic research, bringing technical innovation to applied and industry-oriented research such as drug discovery and medical diagnosis.
Our Research Area
Our research area comprises three main research teams (A01 – A03) to promote individual research projects within the different research fields. We also enthusiastically encourage collaborative and interdisciplinary research between these teams.
A01: This team focuses on the design and synthesis of artificial probes and modulators, which enable functional analysis and regulation of biomolecules in live cells and tissues.
A02: This team focuses on quantitative analysis and precise understanding of crowded live cell systems based on physical and computational chemistry.
A03: This team focuses on creation of new nano-biodevices and quantitative analytical tools useful for detection of specific biological molecules (biomarkers) in live cells and living organisms.
We are also launching the Center for Integrated Biomolecular Chemistry (CIBIC) within our research area. CIBIC serves as a research hub center that underpins and promotes collaborative research among members of the three research teams.