(1)Development of photoswitch of signalling molecules

One of the goals of biological study is to explain biological phenomenon in terms of physics and chemistry. However, at present, most of biological studies are descriptive, partly because we are lacking in the methods of tuneable activation of signalling molecules and quantitative measurement of the cellular responses. To achieve tuneable spatiotemporal activation of signalling molecules in cells, we will develop various photo switchable signalling molecules, characterize them, and apply them to in vitro and in vivo studies. Although we will make new switches, our final goals are to answer fundamental biological questions.

(2)Olfactory system as a model system for neuronal cell biology

Olfactory system is one of the best-studied neural systems in the brain. A number of unique features of the olfactory system were elucidated by distinguished scientists in Japan and other countries. However, there were little studies using the system as a model for studying the general properties of neural systems. We noticed that the olfactory system is an excellent showpiece of neuronal cell biology, including axonal projection, synapse formation, neuronal migration and regenerations. We are trying to use the system to elucidate fundamental mechanisms of signal transduction in vivo.