We will comprehensively investigate dynamic mechanisms of innate immunity and acquired immunity employing imaging techniques and systems biology.

akira shizuoOne third of the Japanese people suffer from allergic diseases, such as pollenosis, and one in 200 Japanese people suffer from intractable autoimmune diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis and collagen disease. Annual medical expenses due to these immune abnormalities and failures are estimated to be more than 1 trillion yen, accounting for more than 3% of the total national medical expenditure. In the world, 15 million people die from infection annually. In addition, threats of new infectious diseases such as new-type influenza, HIV (virus that causes immunodeficiency), and SARS (virus that causes highly-fatal pneumonia prevalent in Hong Kong in the 21st century) remain. To prevent and overcome these diseases threatening the health and safety of society, it is important to understand immunity adequately and control it through immunological studies. Our research project "Comprehensive understanding of immune dynamism," is essential for realizing the healthy, safe, and secure society that Japan aims to achieve. Development of the world's first advanced immunological agents based on an adequate understanding of the immune system is expected to strengthen global competitiveness of Japanese industries and improve the nation's international status as a "healthy technology-oriented nation."



 

In our project, we will conduct applied research on immunological agents for autoimmune and allergic diseases and vaccines against infections and cancers by combining methods to control innate and acquired immunity. Furthermore, we aim to develop structural biological approaches for immune regulatory molecules and also innovative techniques for manipulating immune responses, clinical diagnosis, and screening procedures for drug discovery based on these approaches.

Profile of Shizuo AKIRA

Shizuo AKIRA was born on January 27, 1953 in Higashiosaka-City, Osaka. He graduated from Osaka Prefectural Kozu High School and then the Faculty of Medicine, Osaka University.

After receiving his Ph.D. in medicine from the Graduate School of Medicine, Osaka University in 1984, he worked as a researcher at the Institute for Molecular and Cellular Biology, Osaka University. He is currently a professor at Osaka University and Director of the Immunology Frontier Research Center, Osaka University.

He has achieved research results which overturn conventional views about the relationship between innate and acquired immunity, and has established a new foundation for advanced immunology.

He is a world-renowned researcher in immunology. His publications have been cited by many researchers. As a result, he consecutively ranked in the Thomson Scientific "Hottest" Researchers: eighth in 2004, first in 2005 and 2006, and fourth in 2007.