Associate professor :  Fumiko Obata
Junior associate professor : Satoshi Shibata
Specially-appointed professor : Jun Fujii

Features of the Division

     Bacteria are essential to our lives as they live within us (microbiota) or we utilize them for our food fermentation. However, there are pathogenic bacteria which cause infectious disease in humans. In the Division of Bacteriology, we teach medical students about characteristics of bacteria, infectious diseases caused by pathogens, and how to combat those bacteria.
     We study various bacterial virulence factors in our research projects. We analyze how bacterial toxins damage tissues such as the central nervous system or kidney using in vivo (animal) and in vitro (cell culture) models. Also, we determine the mechanisms of bacterial pilli construction using cryo-electron microscope, and screen candidate reagents which inhibit bacterial adherent to host cells via pilli inhibition. We have a wide range of expertise from virulence molecules determination to animal model testing. Those who are interested in bacteriology and virulence factors are highly encouraged to join us.

Research projects

  1. Analyzing effects of Shiga toxins (Stx1 and Stx2) and Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli (STEC) a.k.a. Enterohemorrhagic E. coli (EHEC), to animals.
    ➤Determining effects of STEC or Stx2 to the intestine, kidney and brain by using mouse models and cell cultures.
    ➤Investigating the mechanisms of renal and the brain dysfunction through Stx2-induced differential circadian rhythm gene expression.
    →Though these studies, we aim to develop novel therapeutic agents that treat STEC/EHEC infectious disease which yet to have specific therapy.
  2. Studying motor function and adherent mechanism of bacteria as their important survival strategies.
    ➤Analyzing structures of supramolecular complex flagella and fimbriae that allow bacteria to move or attach, by electron microscope, to define structural and operational mechanisms.
    ➤Developing therapeutic agents which inhibit mobility and/or adherence of bacteria to mitigate infection.
    →Through these studies, we are keen to accumulate knowledge on the principle of bacterial living, to develop therapeutic strategies targeting the principle structures, and to utilize supramolecular complexes as macromolecular materials.