Tohoku University. Research Profiles

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A Comparative Semantic Analysis of English and Japanese

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When people communicate with each other through language, what mechanisms are there to convey meanings? Do the mechanisms vary from language to language, or are they the same across languages? These are the questions to which I am seeking answers through my research on English and Japanese. Sometimes one word can express several different meanings. For example, if you say "There is a newspaper on the table", "newspaper" denotes a printed matter, whereas if you say "The newspaper denounced the injustice", the same word denotes the media. The coexistence of multiple possible meanings for a single word or phrase is called polysemy. I am interested in how people produce and understand words with many different meanings in actual communication.

Targeted Application(s)/Industry

The outcome of my research will bring better understanding of polysemy and contribute to the foundation of language processing and automatic translation, and to construction of lexicons (dictionaries) that are used for those purposes. It will also make contribution to the development of materials and methods in foreign language teaching/learning.

Graduate School of International Cultural Studies
ONO, Naoyuki, Professor Doctor of Letters

A novel crystal growth via controlling an energy relationship between crystal and melt with applying an electric field

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This lab is concerned with the novel approach mainly for the growth from melt by studying the relationship between the interface dynamics during growth and properties of grown crystals. Special interests lie in the growth of new crystals via the imposition of an interface-electric field. Nano-scaled control of crystal growth is executed in an electric double layer of ~nm thickness that is induced by applying an external electric field on the growth interface. Some of our growth results brought by applying an electric field are;
1. Growth of Langasite-type crystals for the pressure sensor at high temperature by manipulating the energy relationship between crystal and melt.
2. Easy nucleation of protein crystals that are normally hard to crystallize.
3. Formation of Si crystals with desired structure by manipulating the interface instability of Si.
Crystals developed this way will widen an opportunity to collaborate with industries in the field of the piezoelectric, magnetic, optic and other fields related to the highly-networked information society.

Institute for Materials Research
UDA, Satoshi, Professor Ph.D.

A Novel Process for Continuous Production of High Quality Biodiesel with Ion-Exchange Resin Catalysts

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We successfully developed a continuous production process for high-quality biodiesel. This production technology is very simple, just passing through the reactors packed with ion-exchange resins without complicated upstream and downstream processes, which provide additional production cost and environmental stress and the entire process is fully automatic. With this technology, you can easily produce high-quality biodiesel from various cheaper oils with fatty acid content up to 100%.

Targeted Application(s)/Industry

This innovative technology succeeds in solving the serious problems in the current biodiesel production, restriction by shortage of feedstock supply and the unstable quality of biodiesel due to the soap formation. This technology also applies to the production of fatty acid methyl ester, a starting material for surfactant production, which is an important intermediate step in oleochemistry.

Graduate School of Engineering
SHIBASAKI-KITAKAWA, Naomi, Professor Doctor of Engineering

A Study on the Proper Waste Management and Urban Mining Project in Asian Countries; International Resources Recycling and Cross-Border Pollution

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The objective of this research is to maximize international resource recycling efficiency through a feasibility assessment of urban mining project in East Asia. It is not only focused on valuable materials but also on less valuable materials like waste plastics. The merit of this approach is its consideration of social, economic and environmental systems in each country.

Targeted Application(s)/Industry

This research is envisioned to support the establishment of resource recycling systems, developing new business models, people-to-people exchange and information sharing.

Graduate School of International Cultural Studies
YU, Jeongsoo, Professor PhD(Urban and Regional Planning)

A tomato with a high serotonin content a day keeps the doctor away

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Serotonin (5-hydroxytryptamine: 5-HT) has two independent systems, one in the brain and the other in the periphery. As the highest serotonin levels were found in cherry tomato in 38 fruits and vegetables in Japan. Peripheral serotonin plays important roles in regulating glucose and lipid metabolism through the increasing of bile acids concentration in circulation. The intraperitoneal injection of serotonin to mice inhibits weight gain, hyperglycemia and insulin resistance, and completely prevented the enlargement of intra-abdominal adipocytes when on a high fat diet, but not on a chow diet. This novel metabolic effect of peripheral serotonin is critically related to a shift in the profile of muscle fiber type from fast/glycolytic to slow/oxidative in soleus muscle.

Targeted Application(s)/Industry

The foods with a high serotonin content may represent excellent dietary sources of serotonin, and serotonin action may well offer new drug strategies for developing therapeutic drugs for the treatment of metabolic diseases such as hyperlipidemia, hypercholesterolemia, diabetes and obesity.

Graduate School of Agricultural Science
ASO, Hisashi, Professor Doctor of Medicine

Additive Manufacturing of Metallic Parts with Electron Beam Melting (EBM)

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Electron beam melting (EBM) is a type of additive manufacturing technologies. EBM uses electron beam as an energy source to melt metal powder and produce metal thin layers. This sequence is repeated in a layer-by-layer manner to fabricate three-dimensional (3D) components.
This technology can produce any kinds of structures based on 3D CAD models and is suitable for custom-made manufacturing.
In addition, our recent studies revealed that the unique microstructure, such as directional solidification and uniform dispersions of fine precipitates, are obtained by EBM; this technology is useful to realize advanced materials that cannot be obtained conventional manufacturing.

Targeted Application(s)/Industry

The EBM technology has received much attention for producing metal parts used in biomedical, aerospace and automotive industries.
Rapid prototyping / rapid tooling is one of the applications of this technology.

Institute for Materials Reserach
CHIBA, Akihiko, Professor PhD

Advanced Control of Microstructure and Property of Structural Metallic Materials

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Microstructure represents various kinds of heterogeneities in the metallic materials, i.e., grains, component phase, lattice defects and chemical inhomogeneity such as impurity/alloying elements. It can be modified through control of phase transformation/precipitation and deformation/recrystallization by adjusting compositions of materials and/or through processing routes (heat treatment, deformation). Such expertise in micro/nanostructure control is very important in production of current materials from viewpoints of energy saving and recycling in structural materials such as steels and titanium alloys.
We attempt to apply more advanced control of micro/nanostructures, such as atomic structures of crystalline interfaces, chemistory in an atomic scale (e.g., segregation) and so on. Fundamentals of microstructure formation (thermodynamics, kinetics, crystallography) are examined both theoretically and experimentally to clarify key factors for microstructure control. Another important aspect in our research is the improvement of mechanical property by microstructure manipulation.

Targeted Application(s)/Industry

Possibilities to establish new functions (e.g., superplasticity, shape memory/superelasticity) as well as superior mechanical properties (e.g., ultrahigh strength with high toughness/ductility) is also explored.

Institute for Materials Research
FURUHARA, Tadashi, Professor PhD

Advanced Educational Environment with Interactive Instruction System IMPRESSION

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IMPRESSION is an interactive instruction system for both face-to-face lesson and distance education.
It was designed to facilitate teachers to plan and perform effective and attractive lessons with various multimedia materials, and help to evaluate performed lessons and improve them based on the double loop instructional design process, which is focusing on interaction between a teacher and students.

Targeted Application(s)/Industry

It could be used to perform advanced education with multimedia materials in schools, and also to design and implement training for employees at branch offices.

Center for Information Technology in Education
MITSUISHI, Takashi, Associate Professor PhD

Advanced Functional Materials and Nanotechnology for Post-Lithium ion Battery

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Monoatomic layered materials of Graphene, Transition metal sulfide nanosheet, nanocrystalline active materials, nanoparticles and nanoporous materials are investigated for realizing high capacity, high power, high safety and low cost energy storage devices as a post- Lithium ion battery. Advanced chemistry of functional materials and device processes for All solid state battery, Magnesium battery, fuel cells, supercapacitor and wearable batteries are investigated.

Targeted Application(s)/Industry

Academia – Industry collaboration with manufacturing companies of functional materials, batteries, and also smart grid, renewable energy, electrical power companies are encouraged for developments of advanced energy materials and post-Lithium ion battery.


Institute of Multidisciplinary Research for Advanced Materials
HONMA, Itaru, Professor Doctor of Engineering

Advanced Molecular Transformations by Organocatalysts

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The development of organic molecules which function as a catalyst has been extensively investigated to achieve selective and efficient transformation of organic molecules. Brønsted acids and bases are commonly employed as the catalyst in synthetic organic chemistry. To aim at their functionalization, axially chiral phosphoric acids and axially chiral guanidine bases have been developed as chiral Brønsted acid and base catalysts, respectively. A variety of optically active compounds has been synthesized through the development of highly stereoselective reactions using these catalysts.

Targeted Application(s)/Industry

The development of chiral Brønsted acid and base catalysts has been accomplished as recoverable and reusable organocatalysts and highly stereoselective molecular transformations have been established using these catalysts. The present methodology is applicable to process chemistry in preparing medicines and relevant compounds on the basis of the selective and efficient molecular transformations thus developed with reduction of the waste material.

Graduate School of Science
TERADA, Masahiro, Professor PhD

Advanced Recycling Process and Development of Environmental Preservation Technologies

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A large amount of resources are utilized in the base metal production processes such as iron & steel, copper and zinc. Therefore, it is important to improve such process efficiencies for solving the energy and environmental issues. On the other hand, the increasing production in developing countries leads to the depletion of high-grade resources. In this laboratory, basic researches for integrated processes from pretreatment, metal manufacturing, refining and recycling are made for the development of new processes with high efficiency and low environmental load by utilizing "low-grade" resources.

Targeted Application(s)/Industry

Iron & steel making and nonferrous industries, development of efficient utilization processes of biomass and organic waste energies

Graduate School of Environmental Studies
KASAI, Eiki, Professor Doctor of Engineering

Advanced Software Development Environment Based on a New Functional Language SML#

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We have been developing a new functional programming language, SML#. This language combines the benefits of higher-order and typed programming language ML with the practically important features including: flexible treatment of record structures through record polymorphism, seamless interoperability with C language, and seamless integration of SQL, a standard database query language. These features make SML# a viable alternative to existing programming languages in developing large and complex software systems. In particular, its seamless integration of SQL would enhance the productivity and reliability in developing recently emerging cloud computing software, for which database access and high-level programming are essential.

Targeted Application(s)/Industry

We hope to conduct collaborative research with a willing company on developing advanced and reliable software development environment based on SML# and the underlying language technologies.

Research Institute of Electrical Communication
OHORI, Atsushi, Professor PhD

Advanced Technology on Flexible Liquid Crystal Displays

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Flexible liquid crystal displays using thin plastic film substrates instead of glass substrates contained in current liquid crystal displays, are bendable, thin, lightweight, and do not crack, and generate new usage styles and human interfaces due to their excellent storability and portability. We have been researching the basic technologies for large-screen and high-quality flexible displays using functional organic materials including liquid crystal and polymer, so that anyone can enjoy fertile information services.

Targeted Application(s)/Industry

We hope to conduct collaborative research with a willing company in industry, for development and practical application of the advanced flexible display technologies.

Department of Electronic Engineering, Graduate School of Engineering
FUJIKAKE, Hideo, Professor Ph. D.

Advanced Vision System with Less Calibration

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The difficulties of introducing robot systems in production line are maintenance of environment and teaching of robot motion. Environ recognition and motion teaching using vision system will greatly improve the difficulties. However, calibration of vision-robot system is tedious and troublesome. Feedback control using vision sensor information will allow robustness against environment and teach by showing. This technique is called visual servo.

Targeted Application(s)/Industry

Visual servo will allow flexible camera setting, calibration-less system setting, and easy teaching.

Graduate School of Information Sciences
HASHIMOTO, Koichi, Professor Doctor of Engineering

Advanced Wireless Information Technology

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Toward the realization of a ubiquitous and broad-band wireless network, we are actively engaged in the research work on dependable and low power consumption advanced wireless IT. We cover the whole technical fields from the lower to higher layers, i.e., signal processing, RF/Mixed signal device, antenna, MODEM and network technologies.As the studies on signal processing, RF/Mixed signal device and antenna technologies, we are developing RF/Millimeter-wave RF CMOS IC's, antenna integrated 3-dimensional system in package (SiP) transceiver modules, digital/RF mixed signal IC's.

Targeted Application(s)/Industry

If you are interested in a collaborative research work on above topics, please contact us via e-mail.

Research Institute of Electrical Communication
SUEMATSU, Noriharu, Professor

Aerodynamic noise reduction by flow control

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Graduate School of Engineering
FUKUNISHI, Yu, Professor Doctor of Engineering

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS),Muscular dystrophy,Distal myopathy with rimmed vacuoles (DMRV)/ hereditary inclusion body myopathy (hIBM)

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Distal myopathy with rimmed vaculoles (DMRV) / hereditary inclusion body myopathy (hIBM) is an autosomal recessive disorder characterized clinically by the preferential involvement of the tibialis anterior muscle. It is known that the disease gene underlying DMRV is GNE, encoding glucosamine (UDP-N-acetyl)-2- epimerase and N-acetylmannosamine kinase, two essential enzymes in sialic acid biosynthesis. Decreased sialic acid production causes muscle degeneration. Muscle atrophy and weakness are completely prevented in a mouse model of DMRV after treatment with sialic acid metabolites orally.
The aim of this study is to investigate pharmacokinetics and safety of N-acetylneuraminic acid (figure) in patients with DMRV. N-acetylneuraminic acid and N-glycolylneuraminic acid in serum and urine are measured before and after oral administration of N-acetylneuraminic acid. We are prepared to provide academic consultations to companies interested in our research.

Department of Neurology, Graduate School of Medicine
AOKI, Masashi, Professor Doctor of Medicine