Dept. of Life Science Frontiers
Yasuhiro Takashima (Junior Associate Professor)
Yasuhiro Takashima M.D.,Ph.D.
Individual organisms such as humans sustain life through the process of metabolism, which depends on a constant supply of cells developing out of stem cells. Our research is concerned with the effect that stem cells have on the individual. Stem cells have a natural resistance to aging and stress, but are nevertheless subject to gradual deterioration, so that the individual itself also ages. Physical functions weaken, injury and wound repair slows down, and immune response to infection is also progressively reduced. Additionally, a link between advancing age and carcinogenesis has been indicated. By manipulating stem cells, our aim is to develop new, pre-emptive medical treatments, including treatments to prevent aging and disease.
We use ES and iPS cells as a model system since they are among the stem cells in which analysis is furthest advanced. Human ES/iPS cells are thought to be at a more advanced stage of development than mouse ES/iPS cells. In humans, we have recently succeeded in generating naïve iPS cells, which are stem cells close to pre-implantation epiblast similar as mouse ES/iPS cells. Using these reprogrammed naïve human iPS cells, we are seeking to establish an understanding of stem cells. At the same time, we are attempting to reproduce the early embryogenesis in the laboratory, without using human embryos, so that we can understand the process by which human life begins and develops.