Research Groups

Department of Stem Cell Biology and Medicine / Stem Cell Biology and Medicine

Basic Stem Cell Biology

Professor : Kinichi Nakashima      /  

Research Interests

Neurons and glial cells are major cells constituting the central nervous system and are generated from a common precursor cells called “neural stem cell”. Neural stem cells are found even in the adult brain; they continue producing neurons and glial cells every day, suggesting that the new neurons produced by them are implicated in higher-order function of the brain such as learning and memory. The differentiation of neural stem cells is regulated in a sophisticated manner both temporally and spatially, involving not only cross-talks between extracellular cues but also the intracellular epigenetic programs (DNA methylation, histone modifications, non-coding RNA, etc).

Contents of Teaching/Research Themes

Our laboratory is attempting to elucidate mechanisms for fate specification of neural stem cells and to apply the findings from such studies to facilitate the repair and regeneration of injured nerve functions.

Stem Cell Regulation

Professor: Fumio Arai   / 

Research Interests

Stem cells are characterized by their unique ability to self-renew and differentiate along multiple cell lineages, contributing to tissue homeostasis. One of the most critical challenges in stem cell biology is understanding the regulatory mechanisms of self-renewal. The self-renewal and differentiation potential of stem cells is maintained by their interaction with a specialized microenvironment called the stem cell niche.

We are investigating the functional role of microenvironmental “niche” factors and intracellular signaling networks induced by niche signaling in the regulation of cell fate decisions in normal and leukemic stem cells. Furthermore, we will try to elucidate the function of niche factors in regulating asymmetric and symmetric divisions of normal and leukemic stem cells.

We also analyze the role of the shelterin molecules in the maintenance of stem cell function during aging.

Contents of Teaching/Research Themes

  1. Identifying niche cells in hematopoietic and leukemia stem cells using single-cell analysis and 3D bone marrow imaging.
  2. Functional analysis of novel mesenchymal stem cell fraction in the bone marrow.
  3. Inhibition of stem cell aging by the shelterin molecules.
  4. Analysis of the regulation mechanism of symmetric and asymmetric division of stem cells by machine learning models.
  5. Develop the optimized culture method for in vitro amplification of hematopoietic stem cells.