Tohoku University. Research Profiles

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"A" Researcher - 17 Result(s)

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Monomer-Recycle System of Biodegradable Plastics by Industrial Fungal Fermentation and Application of Fungal Biosurfactant Proteins to Nanoparticles for Medical Use

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In Japan, solid-phase fungal fermentation systems using the industrial fungus Aspergillus oryzae have been extensively used for producing fermented foods such as soy sauce and sake; the annual production volume of the products is over one million tons. The efficient enzymatic hydrolyzing systems are expected to be applicable to biological recycling of biodegradable plastics. We found that A. oryzae can effectively degrade polybutylene succinate-coadipate (PBSA) by the combination with an esterase (cutinase) CutL1 and novel surfactant proteins, RolA and HsbA that are attached to the surface of PBSA and then recruit CutL1. The recruitment of Cutl1 by the surfactants stimulated PBSA degradation.

Targeted Application(s)/Industry

The fungal biosurfactant protein is applicable to industrial recycling of biodegradable plastics and to production of immune-response free nano-particles for medical use.

Graduate School of Agricultural Science
ABE Keietsu, Professor Doctor of Agriculture

Drug Delivery System for Retinal Protection

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Intravitreal injection of some drugs to treat retinal diseases has been successfully reported. However, there is a possibility of severe side effects, such as infection. So we have developed a transscleral drug delivery system by using non-biodegradable device, which enabled sustained drug delivery to the retina. Because of the nature of the device, we can deliver the multi-drug independently. We have performed our work in collaboration with Department of Bioengineering and Robotics.

Targeted Application(s)/Industry

Using this drug delivery device, we may be able to apply our system not only to the retinal diseases but also to other diseases.
For clinical application, we hope the collaboration with companies and organizations from the points of materials and original drug delivery to the focal regions.

Division of Clinical Cell Therapy, Graduate School of Medicine
ABE Toshiaki, Professor MD

Supercritical Hydrothermal Synthesis of Organic-Inorganic Hybrid Nanoparticles

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We invented supercritical hydrothermal synthesis method for the synthesis of organic modified nanoparticles (NPs). Under the supercritical state, the organic molecules and metal salt aqueous solutions are miscible and water molecule works as an acid/base catalyst for the reactions. Organic-inorganic conjugate NPs can be synthesized under this condition. This hybrid NPs show high affinity with the organic solvent or the polymer matrix, which leads to fabricate the organic inorganic hybrid nanomaterials with the trade-off function (super hybird nanomaterials). These hybrid materials of polymer and ceramics fabricated with NPs achieve both high thermal conductivity and easy thin film flexible fabrication, namely trade-off function.

Targeted Application(s)/Industry

For example, by the surface modification of BN particles by supercritical method, affinity of BN and polymers could be improved, so that high BN content of hybrid materials, thus high thermal conductivity materials, could be synthesized. Also by dispersing high refractive index NPs like TiO2 or ZrO2 into polymers transparently, we can tune the refractive index of the polymers. CeO2 nanoparticles are expected to be used for high performance catalysts. To transfer those supercritical fluid nano technologies, a consortium was launched with more than 70 companies.

Advanced Institute for Materials Research
ADSCHIRI Tadafumi, Professor Doctor of Engineering

Development of a reaction process in supercritical water

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We are developing a new continuous flow type process for supercritical reactions. Under the supercritical state, the organic molecules and metal salt aqueous solutions are miscible and water molecule works as an acid/base catalyst which leads to rapid reactions. In order to apply such new reaction fields to an industrial process, it is necessary to establish the process design basis by understanding phenomena in the reaction fields, on the basis of phase equilibrium, flux and reaction kinetics theory. So while developing a process, we are doing research for the establishment of the process design basis.

Targeted Application(s)/Industry

Examples are a process for the synthesis of organic modified nanoparticles (MPs), a process for the pretreatment and solubilization of biomass in the supercritical/subcritical water and a process for the refinery of heavy oil in the supercritical water.

Advanced Institute for Materials Research
ADSCHIRI Tadafumi, Professor Doctor of Engineering

Polymer-nanoparticle hybrid materials

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Hybrid materials that show multi-functions of polymer and nanoparticles are expected to be used in future industries, and thus many research and development have been actively conducted. However, since the affinity of polymer and inorganic nanoparticles is very low, in most of the cases, properties of different materials are incompatible in the hybrid materials. To create the hybrid materials with incompatible multi-functions has been considered a difficult task.
However, by using supercritical fluid technology, we have succeeded in making hybrid materials with incompatible multi-functions.

Targeted Application(s)/Industry

Now, variety of hybrid materials are being developed, including
・Transparent, flexible, high reflective index, and high fabricability,
・Flexible, high heat conductivity, low electric resistivity, and high fabricability.

Advanced Institute for Materials Research
ADSCHIRI Tadafumi, Professor Doctor of Engineering

Low temperature reforming of hydrocarbons using metal oxide nanoparticles synthesized by supercritical method

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Our research group has succeeded in synthesizing various metal oxide nanoparticles with controlled size and exposure crystal planes by using organic modifiers under supercritical water conditions. The oxygen storage/release capacity of those materials in the low-temperature region is very high, and the reforming reaction of oxidative hydrocarbon proceeds at a significant rate. Besides, by combining the supercritical CO2 drying method, we have succeeded in forming a complex in which oxide nanoparticles are dispersed at a high concentration on the surface of the porous material, realizing both high oxygen storage/release capability and stability.

Targeted Application(s)/Industry

Low-temperature reforming reaction of biomass wastes, heavy oils, and methane. In the future, it is expected to be a technology that will lead to the construction of a low-carbon society, including CO2-free complete recycling of waste plastics.

Advanced Institute for Materials Research
ADSCHIRI Tadafumi, Professor Doctor of Engineering

Hydrogen embrittlement of high strength steels

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We are studying hydrogen embrittlement property of high strength steels from the aspects of both the effect of hydrogen on mechanical properties of high strength steels and hydrogen uptake behavior in corrosive environments. The topics of our study includes clarification of mechanism of hydrogen embrittlement of various steels, investigation of hydrogen entry caused by corrosion using electrochemical techniques, hydrogen visualization, proposing evaluation methods for hydrogen embrittlement property and so forth.

Targeted Application(s)/Industry

Collaborative research in the field of hydrogen embrittlement, for example, hydrogen embrittlement properties of high strength steels and the effects of metallographic structure and hydrogen traps, proposal of evaluation methods for hydrogen embrittlement property for some specific steel and for parts with specific shape, development of novel hydrogen visualization techniques.

Institute for Materials Research
AKIYAMA Eiji, Professor Doctor of Science

Synthesis and material characterization of new organic ferroelectric materials, molecular semiconductors, molecular magnets.

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Multifunctional molecular-assemblies and hybrid organic - inorganic materials are examined from the viewpoint of structural freedom of organic molecules. The spin and electronic states of molecular-assemblies are designed in terms of electrical conductivity, magnetism, and ferroelectricity. Diverse molecular assemblies from single crystal, plastic crystal, liquid crystal, gel, to Langmuir-Blodgett film are our research targets, which were hybridized with inorganic gigantic clusters and metal nanoparticles. We are prepared to provide academic consultations to companies interested in our research.

Institute of Multidisciplinary Research for Advanced Materials
AKUTAGAWA Tomoyuki, Professor Doctor of Science

Development of High Sensitive Magnetic Sensor Operating at Room Temperature with Tunnel Magnetoresistance Devices

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Recently, many tunnel magnetoresistance devices with high magnetoresistance effect are reported. These are expected to be applied to high sensitive magnetic sensors. There are many magnetic sensors with variety of the mechanism, in order to meet the demand of the very wide range of sensing magnetic field. However, there is no magnetic sensor which has high sensitivity, easy to use, operation at room temperature and low cost. Only a magnetic sensor with tunnel magnetoresistance devices can satisfy all the demand in principle. As the device has very wide range of the sensing magnetic field, it can be designed for any demand to the sensors.

Targeted Application(s)/Industry

For example, this device can sense a bio-magnetic field easily at room temperature, so that it could be replaced SQUID device, which is popular now but is very expensive and not easy to use personally. Therefore, by using this device, we expect we can conduct effective collaborative research in medical field.

Department of Applied Physics, Graduate School of Engineering
ANDO Yasuo, Professor Doctor of Engineering

Development of a Novel Therapy for Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) Using Hepatocyte Growth Factor (HGF)

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Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is an adult-onset neurodegenerative disease characterized by systematic motor neuron degeneration. Approximately 20% cases of familial ALS are caused by mutations in the superoxide dismutase 1 (SOD1) gene. We developed transgenic rats that express a human SOD1 gene with two different ALS-linked mutations (G93A or H46R) showing progressive motor neuron degeneration and paralysis. The larger size of the rat ALS models as compared with existing mouse models will facilitate studies on neuroprotective and neuro-regenerative strategy involving manipulations of cerebrospinal fluid and spinal cord.

Targeted Application(s)/Industry

Hepatocyte growth factor (HGF) is one of the most potent survival-promoting factors for motor neurons. Continuous intrathecal infusion of human recombinant HGF (hrHGF) attenuated loss of spinal motor neurons, astrocytosis, and microglial activation, leading to prolonged survival in the ALS rats. Safety and toxicology testing of the hrHGF protein in non-human primates should prompt further clinical trials in human ALS patients.

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

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

Visual Computing with Secure ICT in the Big Data Era

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Our study focuses on sensing, processing, recognition, understanding, and analysis of enormous visual data collected in real-world environments. We have invented a set of advanced techniques of sub-pixel image analysis using phase-based image matching. Potential applications include personal recognition using various biometric traits (e.g., face, fingerprint, palm print, finger knuckle print, iris, and medical radiographs), machine vision, multi-view 3D reconstruction, image database search, and medical image computing. We are also studying fundamental techniques for building secure ICT infrastructure for the big data era; our research interests include tamper-resistant cryptographic processing and biometrics-based secure remote authentication.

Targeted Application(s)/Industry

We can provide collaboration and information exchange services for industries and other research organizations in the fields of image processing, computer vision, information security, biometrics, LSI design, and embedded system technologies. Many researchers and engineers from various companies, universities, and research institutions have visited our laboratory regardless of their technology fields. Our staff at the Intelligent Information System (IIS) Research Center will welcome potential collaborators: info@iisrc.ecei.tohoku.ac.jp

Graduate School of Information Sciences
AOKI Takafumi, Professor Doctor of Engineering

Biomarker Development and Preemptive Therapy of Alzheimer's Disease

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Over the past 20 years, our understanding of molecular pathology of dementia and AD has dramatically deepened, and new biomarkers including amyloid PET and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) amyloid42/tau as well as therapeutic strategies have been developed. However, clinical trials of disease-modifying drugs in mild to moderate AD were unsuccessful or were halted due to serious adverse drug effects.

Targeted Application(s)/Industry

These results strongly suggest that disease-modifying therapies should be started much earlier before a widespread neuron death will occur. We hope that early detection and prevention with preemptive therapy may lead to a success of fighting AD.

Department of Geriatrics and Gerontology, Institute of Development, Aging and Cancer
ARAI Hiroyuki, Professor MD, PhD

New High-Throughput, High Resolution DNA Methylation Analysis Method, PCR-Luminex for the Diagnosis of Genomic Imprinting Disorders in ART Babies

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The parent-of–origin specific expression of the imprinted genes relies on DNA methylation acquired during gametogenesis. Recent studies indicate the possibility of excess imprinting disease occurrence in babies conceived by assisted reproductive technologies (ART). PCR-Luminex method is powerful tool for the methylation analyses, suitable for the use at the clinical diagnosis level because of taking much time and multistep procedures.

Targeted Application(s)/Industry

We have developed a new high-throughput, high resolution DNA methylation analysis method. PCT international patent was performed.

Environment and Genome Research Center, Graduate School of Medicine
ARIMA Takahiro, Professor Medical Doctor

Development of Grass-field Shorthorn Cattle and it's Innocative Green-Technology for Sustainable and Improving Beef Production

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Grass-field Shorthorn Cattle(trademark registration No. 5270386 Fig.1)that possess a loss of functional myostatin result in the double-muscled phenotype with generalized hyperplasia and hypertrophy of the muscle. The cattle were developed form Japanese Shorthorn Cattle, and have superior carcass characteristics including a larger proportion of muscle (about 50% more muscle mass than normal-muscled cattle), lower proportions of fat and more tender meat (Fig. 2). The increased lean beef production shows that Grass-field Shorthorn Cattle are estimated to be a hopeful breed as meat cattle in days to come. Therefore, we are studying the further development of Grass-field Shorthorn Cattle and it’s whole mechanisms of increased muscle muss (Fig.3) as a new breed to reduce the environmental loading on beef production. The goal of our research is to establish innovative Green-Technology for sustainable and improving beef production of GSC and to utilize them for practical use.

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

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

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
Atsushi Ohori, Professor PhD