Associate Professor, Department of Comparative Biosciences
Ph.D. University of Tokyo
D.V.M. The Ministry of Agriculture and Fishery, Japan
Application of stem cell technology to disease modeling and therapeutic applications for neuromuscular diseases
Our long-term objective is to apply stem cell technology to expand integrative sciences in both basic and translational research. The current research focuses on elucidating mechanisms of brain development in mammals using stem cells and finding possible applications of these cells for neuromuscular disorders such as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and muscular dystrophy.
On the translational front, we are using human neural progenitor cells and mesenchymal stem cells as therapeutic applications for ALS. The overall aim of our current idea is to provide neurotrophic growth factor delivery using stem cells to spinal cord (i.e. cell body) and and/or the skeletal muscle (i.e. nerve terminals of motor neurons) to establish whether this can protect motor neurons from degeneration in a rat model of ALS.
Furthermore, we start a new research project to establish skeletal muscle stem cells (or called myogenic progenitors) using human embryonic stem (ES) cells and induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells. This project is a part of the first project finding the best cells to transplant into the muscle for ALS and also will bring new therapeutic applications to other muscle diseases such as muscular dystrophy.
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