Dept. of Life Science Frontiers
Yoshiya Kawaguchi (Professor)
Yoshiya Kawaguchi M.D., Ph.D.
To create functioning cells from ES or iPS cells for use as transplant material or in drug development, an understanding of the organogenesis mechanism is essential. The digestive tract, pancreas, liver and other endodermal organs develop out of the primitive gut tube. The mechanism involved has so far been investigated largely using genetically modified mice, but has not yet been fully understood.
In the process of organogenesis, cell differentiation proceeds in parallel with the alteration of the three-dimensional tissue structure. During this dynamic structural realignment, cells are thought to communicate with each other as they undergo qualitative change. In other words, it is theorized that individual cell behavior is regulated by "local rules" within the cell community, but one hurdle to understanding the organogenesis mechanism is that genetic modification of specific cells at a specific location is not yet possible.
Using ES cells and iPS cells as a powerful tool, we seek to identify the "local rules" of the cell community and thereby reach a full understanding of the organogenesis mechanism, which has eluded analysis with existing experimental technology.