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Stem Cell-Based Tissue Regeneration Research and Education Unit

Project Leader
Institute of Molecular Embryology and Genetics

This group was established by Kumamoto University in 2013 for the purpose of consistently promoting the scientific activities of the Global COE Program, funded by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology from 2007 to 2011. We aim to establish an education and research unit that will foster creative researchers who focus on stem cell-based developmental medicine.

Stem cell research is one of the most attractive fields in biomedical science, and the expectations for regenerative medicine are rising, as the derivation of human iPS cells has opened the door to the regeneration of organs and tissues. To achieve this goal, however, a deeper understanding of broad areas of science including developmental biology is crucial. We have recruited leading researchers with various backgrounds, including those from the fields of medicine, pharmacology, and developmental biology. Our research topics include the molecular mechanisms of stem cell maintenance, lineage specification of early-stage embryos, the establishment of iPS cells from patients, the development and regeneration of the pancreas, kidneys, eyes, and neurons, as well as epigenetics and metabolisms in diseased states. We expect that these research activities will synergistically contribute to a better understanding of organogenesis and to strategies to treat diseases. We have seen seminal achievements during the recent several years. They include the induction of three-dimensional kidney tissue from human iPS cells, the derivation of insulin producing pancreatic cells from ES/iPS cells, a method of eliminating the undifferentiated cells during tissue differentiation, a drug development using the patient-derived iPS cells, and epigenetic control of energy expenditures and cancers.

This group also seeks to encourage young scientists in research fields related to stem cells and organogenesis. We support these young scientists by providing in-house grants, travel expenses, and many other benefits. We hope that young researchers training in this program will interact and motivate each other to build a global next-generation network in developmental medicine. We are confident that this environment will help young postdocs and students become globally oriented independent scientists.
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