Kyoto University
Institute for the Advanced Study of Human Biology
Kyoto University
Institute for
the Advanced Study
of Human Biology

Information

What key biological traits make us ‘human’, and how can knowing these lead us to better cures for disease?

Institute for the Advanced Study of Human Biology (ASHBi) was launched in October 2018 with funding from the World Premier International Research Center Initiative (WPI) Program of the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT). The Institute inaugurates with 13 principal investigators (PIs) to create and promote human biology to elucidate key principles of human traits, including disease states. The Institute will perform interdisciplinary research between biology and mathematics (machine learning and topological data analysis) and between biology and humanities/social sciences (bioethics and philosophy on life), respectively. The Institute will implement two research development cores for cutting-edge single-cell genome information analysis and primate genome editing, respectively. The Institute will establish a link with international institutions such as the EMBL, University of Cambridge, and Karolinska Institute, creating a stratified organization for research promotion and strengthening its international profile.

Key Features of the Institute

  • Research collaboration between biology and mathematics, and between biology and the humanities
  • Core facilities with leading-edge technologies, such as single-cell genome information analysis and primate genome engineering
  • Prioritized support for overseas PIs and links with key international institutions (including EMBL, University of Cambridge, Karolinska Institutet)
  • Strong links with the Kyoto University Hospital
  • Prioritized support for early-career PIs linking with the University’s researcher fostering projects (Hakubi project and K-CONNEX).

Contents of Research

The Institute will target humans and non-human primates as major research subjects in an effort to uncover the design principles of human beings and disease states, through a multi-disciplinary science approach.

The major goals are:

  1. to achieve outstanding research in individual themes in human biology in the area of reproduction, development, growth and aging as well as heredity and evolution;
  2. to elucidate the principles for the emergence of species differences among humans, non-human primates, and rodents for proper extrapolation of the findings in model organisms to humans;
  3. to generate primate models for key gene functions and intractable diseases, particularly those affecting the central nervous system and kidney;
  4. to reconstitute key human cell lineages and tissues in vitro and validate their properties based on integrative information; and
  5. to formalize an ethics for the use of human/non-human primate materials and create a philosophy to direct the values of the Institute’s research outcomes.

Director’s Message

Understanding the basic biology of human beings is a fundamental challenge in life sciences. It has so far been demonstrated that basic processes for life have largely been conserved during evolution. On the other hand, there are clear species differences, and consequently, the knowledge gleaned from model organisms has often been difficult to translate to human biology. For example, compared to mice, humans have secured a much longer time span for individual development and growth, acquired unique metabolic regulations, and achieved a remarkable development of brain functions.

ASHBi performs systematic investigations into humans and non-human primates, and also elucidates the mechanistic basis of species differences — i.e., the diversity of life forms driven by evolution —, with an aim to clarify key biological traits that make us “human” and their disease states. ASHBi creates open and flexible international research environment, and fully support motivated, early-career investigators.

Mitinori Saitou

Specialty

Cell Biology/

Developmental Biology

Research History
2018-
Director, Institute for the Advanced Study of Human Biology; Professor, Kyoto University Institute for Advanced Study (KUIAS)
2011-2018
ERATO Research Director, Japan Science and Technology Agency
2009-2018
Professor, Graduate School of Medicine, Kyoto University
2003-2008
Team Leader, RIKEN Center for Developmental Biology
2003
Senior Research Associate, Wellcome Trust/Cancer Research UK Gurdon Centre for Developmental Biology and Cancer
2000-2003
Travelling Research Fellow, Wellcome Trust/Cancer Research UK Gurdon Centre for Developmental Biology and Cancer
1999-2000
Young Research Fellow (PD), Japan Society for the Promotion of Science
1996-1999
Young Research Fellow (DC1), Japan Society for the Promotion of Science

Education
1995-1999
Ph.D., Graduate School of Medicine, Kyoto University
1989-1995
M.D., Faculty of Medicine, Kyoto University

Recent Selected Publications

Yamashiro, C., Sasaki, K., Yabuta, Y., Kojima, Y., Nakamura, T., Okamoto, I., Yokobayashi, S., Murase, Y., Ishikura, Y., Shirane, K., Sasaki, H., Yamamoto, T., and Saitou, M. (2018). Generation of human oogonia from induced pluripotent stem cells in vitro, Science, 362, 356-360.

Kojima, Y., Sasaki, K., Yokobayashi, S., Sakai, Y., Nakamura, T., Yabuta, Y., Nakaki, F., Nagaoka, S., Woltjen, K., Hotta, A., Yamamoto, T., and Saitou, M. (2017). Evolutionarily Distinctive Transcriptional and Signaling Programs Drive Human Germ Cell Lineage Specification from Pluripotent Stem Cells, Cell Stem Cell, 21, 517-532.

Miyauchi, H., Ohta, H., Nagaoka, S., Nakaki, F., Sasaki, K., Hayashi, K., Yabuta, Y., Nakamura, T., Yamamoto, T., and Saitou, M. (2017). Bone morphogenetic protein and retinoic acid synergistically specify female germ cell fate in mice, The EMBO Journal, 36, 3100-3119.

Hirota, T., Ohta, H., Powell, B. E., Mahadevaiah, S., K., Ojarikre, O. A., *Saitou, M., and *Turner, J. M. A. (2017). Fertile offspring from sterile sex chromosome trisomic mice, Science, 357, 932-935. * Co-correspondence

Ishikura, Y., Yabuta, Y., Ohta, H., Hayashi, K., Nakamura, T., Okamoto, I., Yamamoto, T., Kurimoto, K., Shirane, K., Sasaki, H., and Saitou, M. (2016). In Vitro Derivation and Propagation of Spermatogonial Stem Cell Activity from Mouse Pluripotent Stem Cells, Cell Reports, 17, 2789-2804.

Sasaki, K., Nakamura, T., Okamoto, I., Yabuta, Y., Iwatani, C., Tsuchiya, H., Seita, Y., Nakamura, S., Shiraki, N., Takakuwa, T., Yamamoto, T., and Saitou, M. (2016). The Germ Cell Fate of Cynomolgus Monkeys is Specified in the Nascent Amnion, Developmental Cell, 39, 169-185.

Nakamura, T., Okamoto, I., Sasaki, K., Yabuta, Y., Iwatani, C., Tsuchiya, H., Seita, Y., Nakamura, S., Yamamoto, T., and Saitou, M. (2016). A developmental coordinate of pluripotency among mice, monkeys, and humans, Nature, 537, 57-62.

Saitou, M. and Miyauchi, H. (2016). Gametogenesis from Pluripotent Stem Cells, Cell Stem Cell, 18, 721-735.

Sasaki, K., Yokobayashi, S., Nakamura, T., Okamoto, I., Yabuta, Y., Kurimoto, K., Ohta, H., Moritoki, Y., Iwatani, C., Tsuchiya, H., Nakamura, S., Sekiguchi, K., Sakuma, T., Yamamoto, T., Mori, T., Woltjen, K., Nakagawa, M., Yamamoto, T., Takahashi, K., Yamanaka, S., and Saitou, M. (2015). Robust In Vitro Induction of Human Germ Cell Fate from Pluripotent Stem Cells, Cell Stem Cell, 17, 178-194.

Kurimoto, K., Yabuta, Y., Hayashi, K., Ohta, H., Kiyonari, H., Mitani, T., Moritoki, Y., Kohri, K., Kimura, H., Yamamoto, T., Katou, Y., Shirahige, K., and Saitou, M. (2015). Quantitative Dynamics of Chromatin Remodeling during Germ Cell Specification from Mouse Embryonic Stem Cells, Cell Stem Cell, 16, 517-532

Key Investigators

  • Tadashi Isa

    Vice Director

    Division

    Professor, Department of Physiology and Neurobiology, Graduate School of Medicine, Kyoto University

    Specialty

    Neuroscience

    Research Overview

  • Yasuaki Hiraoka

    Vice Director

    Division

    Professor, Kyoto University Institute for Advanced Study, Kyoto University

    Specialty

    Applied Mathematics

    Research Overview

  • Takuya Yamamoto

    Head of the Research Development Core

    Division

    Associate Professor, Department of Life Science Frontiers and Application, Center for iPS Cell Research and Application, Kyoto University

    Specialty

    Molecular Biology, Bioinformatics

    Research Overview

  • Anne Ferguson-Smith

    Senior Academic Mentor

    Division

    Arthur Balfour Professor of Genetics and Head of the Department of Genetics, University of Cambridge

    Specialty

    Epigenetic Inheritance, Mammalian Developmental Genetics

  • Guillaume Bourque

    Division

    Associate Professor, Human Genetics, McGill University

    Specialty

    Bioinformatics, Genomics, Epigenomics

    Research Overview

  • Seishi Ogawa

    Division

    Professor, Department of Pathology and Tumor Biology, Graduate School of Medicine, Kyoto University

    Specialty

    Molecular Oncology

    Research Overview

  • Hideki Ueno

    Division

    Professor, Department of Microbiology Global Health and Emerging Pathogens Institute Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai

    Specialty

    Human Immunology

    Research Overview

  • Takashi Hiiragi

    Division

    Group Leader, Developmental Biology Unit, European Molecular Biology Laboratory

    Specialty

    Developmental Biology

    Research Overview

  • Mototsugu Eiraku

    Division

    Professor, Laboratory of Developmental System, Institite for Frontier Life and Medical Sciences, Kyoto University

    Specialty

    Developmental Biology

    Research Overview

  • Motoko Yanagita

    Division

    Professor, Department of Nephrology, Graduate School of Medicine, Kyoto University

    Specialty

    Nephrology

    Research Overview

  • Misao Fujita

    Division

    Professor, Uehiro Research Division for iPS Cell Ethics, Center for iPS Cell Research and Application, Kyoto University

    Specialty

    Bioethics

    Research Overview

  • Masatsugu Ema

    Division

    Professor, Department of Stem Cells and Human Disease Models, Research Center for Animal Life Science, Shiga University of Medical Science

    Specialty

    Developmental Biology, Developmental Engineering

    Research Overview

  • PI Cantas Alev

    Cantas Alev

    Division

    Associate Professor, ASHBi, Kyoto University Institute for Advanced Study, Kyoto University

    Specialty

    Developmental Biology

  • Tadashi Ogawa

    Administrative Director

    Division

    Professor, ASHBi, Kyoto University Institute for Advanced Study, Kyoto University

    Specialty

    Cognitive Neuroscience, Neurophysiology

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Career Opportunities

Japan’s Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) recently selected the Institute for the Advanced Study of Human Biology (ASHBi) for participation in the World Premier International Research Center (WPI) Program, establishing it within KUIAS Kyoto University on 30 October 2018 with Mitinori Saitou, a world-leading developmental biologist, at its head.
ASHBi is now calling for applications, as described below. (3. will be employed by Kyoto University Institute for Advanced Study)

1. ASHBi Program-Specific Associate Professor (Principal Investigator) 2. ASHBi University Research Staff of Core Lab 3. Professor or Associate Professor at Kyoto University Institute for Advanced Study

Access

Address
Yoshida-Konoe-cho, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto 606-8501, Japan
Faculty of Medicine Bldg.B, Kyoto University
Institute for the Advanced Study of Human Biology (ASHBi)

Access
Kyoto City Bus #31/65/201/206 “Konoedori” Bus Stop
Keihan Railway “Jingu-marutamachi” Station –> 10 min walk from No.5 exit

Detail
http://www.med.kyoto-u.ac.jp/en/access/access/