Laboratory of Vaccine Materials

This project focuses on the immune system in the intestine, where numerous numbers and kinds of immunocompetent cells exist for the immunosurveillance and maintenance of immunological homeostasis. In the vaccine development, we utilize unique characteristics of commensal bacteria and its components, or dietary metabolites as an adjuvant to enhance the vaccine effects by regulating host immune responses. We also employ protein engineering system to develop the adjuvant-free vaccines against food poisonings. These studies will lead to the development of prospective vaccines, immunotherapies and functional foods against infectious, allergic, and inflammatory diseases.

  • Project Leader : Jun Kunisawa
  • Senior Researcher : Koji Hosomi
  • Researcher : Azusa Saika
  • Specially Appointed Researcher : Soichiro Kawai, Saki Kondo
Research topics
  • Design of vaccine antigens against food-poisonings.
  • Adjuvants development for infectious diseases.
  • Immunotherapies and functional foods against allergic and inflammatory diseases.

Laboratory of Mockup Vaccine

Today we face newly-emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases such as pandemic influenza (novel influenza), Ebola hemorrhagic fever, MERS (middle East respiratory syndrome) and SFTS (severe fever with thrombocytopenia syndrome). They break out somewhere in the world, and easily spread over the world due to busy transportation and logistics. While such neglected infectious diseases (NID) are unfamiliar to us and we are relatively unprepared, they cause serious public health problems once emerges. Considering such worldwide health concerns, researchers in Japan and the world conduct research and development of mockup vaccines across academia and the pharmaceutical industry. Mockup vaccines have been developed for influenza virus: the concept is that development of a mockup vaccine for a certain influenza stem would be efficiently applied to another (newly-emerging) stem in a timely manner. In our project, we try to develop new mockup vaccines for newly-emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases and further to establish a platform for production.

  • Guest Project Leader:Ken Ishii
Research topics
  • Synthetic production of a target pathogenic antigen for a mockup vaccine
  • Formulation optimization of antigens and adjuvants for a mockup vaccine

Laboratory of Regulation for Intractable Infectious Diseases

We are trying to clarify the molecular pathology of severe virus infection from the aspect of the host systems, and to develop the new treatment for severe virus infection. With recent advances in the technologies of life science, including Next-Generation DNA Sequencing, Mass spectrometry, and Bioinformatics analysis, it has become possible to acquire huge quantitative life science data at multi-dimensional levels even in the research field of infection and immunity. In our laboratory, based on the comprehensive data of virus-host nuclear interactions, such as chromatin structures, epigenome, mRNA translation profiling, and single cell transcriptome, we are studying the disease pathogenesis of severe influenza virus infection and aiming to develop the novel drugs and diagnostic methods and the preemptive medicine.

  • Project Leader:Yumiko Imai
  • Researcher:Yu Ichida, Tsuyoshi Hayashi
  • Project Researcher:Masami Shiimori
  • Visiting researcher:Keiji Kuba, Akira Tsuda
Research topics
  • Epigenetic responses to virus infection and its contribution to the disease pathogenesis.
  • Host and virus mRNA translation mechanism in viral infection.
  • Neuro-immune cross-talk in virus infection.
  • Prediction of disease networks of severe virus infection to develop preemptive medicine.

Laboratory of Infectious Diseases and Immunity

Infectious diseases have been unacceptable and insuperable difficulty worldwide associated with inflammations which are induced by the invasion of pathogens and antigen-driven immune responses. We are focusing on the elucidation of molecular pathogenesis by which the pathogenic antigens induce inflammatory diseases and also on the development of the preventive and therapeutic drugs. Our goal is to provide the novel strategies for the definitive diagnosis and antibody therapy through the development of recombinant human antibodies derived from bioresources such as the neutralizing antibodies in the infectious disease patients. We will also try to find out vaccine targets of several infectious pathogens based on the understanding of "human immunogenicity". We believe that the long-standing accumulation of the immunological and pathological information promotes the development of more effective and safe biologics for human.

  • Project Leader : Teruhito Yasui
  • Project Researcher : Ryota Otsubo
  • Visiting Researcher : Masaki Hayakawa, Mitsunobu Tanaka, Toshihiro Ito
Research topics
  • Elucidation for molecular mechanism by which pathogenic antigens induce infectious diseases and autoimmune diseases
  • Development of recombinant antibody drugs including autoantibodies and neutralizing antibodies against infectious pathogens
  • Identification of vaccine targets against infectious pathogens and the construction of the related peptide database of human/ pathogens on human immunogenicity

Laboratory of Immunosenescence

In elderly individuals increases the risks of developing cancers or infectious diseases because of immunosenescence, an age-related systemic immune disfunction or alteration. Similarly, a variety of vaccines against SARS-CoV2 or influenza viruses have been shown to be less effective for elderly individuals. To tackle these problems, we are trying to discover immune factors which involve in protecting or treating infectious diseases or cancers and to develop new vaccines or therapies by using state-of-art immune-omics platform.

  • Project Leader : Takuya Yamamoto
  • Senior research fellow: Shokichi Takahama
  • Research fellow: Ayaka Washizaki
Research topics
  • Elucidating the mechanisms of immunosenescence
  • Establishment of a new high dimensional analysis for evaluating vaccine safety and efficacy
  • Development of a new immunotherapy against HIV-1/HBV/HTLV
  • Vaccine development for emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases
  • Discovery of immune correlates associated with tumor progression and regression

Laboratory of Cell Vaccine

Vaccines that make impacts on our immune system are becoming more widely used for preventing infectious diseases and for treating diseases such as cancer, lifestyle-related diseases, and allergies. In addition, vaccine materials are rapidly applied to practical use, using not only chemical substances such as viruses, their constituent proteins, and immunostimulatory peptides, but also cells that consist of the immune system, such as dendritic cells and CAR-T cells.
In this project, we explore how to create functional cell vaccines, which are important modalities in the future, and aim to apply them to the treatment of various diseases.

  • Project Leader : Masahiro Kawahara
  • Researcher:Kana Beppu
Research topics
  • Cell fate-controlling systems using chimeric receptors
  • Drug discovery platforms using cell fate signals
  • Custom designs of intracellular signal transduction