Department of Applied Life Sciences

To the Department of Applied Life Sciences website

The 21st century is said to be the era of “bioindustry,” and it is thought to be a time of progress for the environment, food, energy, health, and welfare. At the core of this fast-growing sector is biotechnology, a means of utilizing biological functions in advanced applications.

At the Department of Applied Life Sciences, students learn basic and advanced knowledge across a broad range of academic disciplines, giving them the ability to follow the principles of life phenomena. This in turn allows them to analyze various issues that may arise on the frontlines of agricultural production, the fermentation, food processing, and chemical industries, and environmental conservation, and then to apply their research findings to the burgeoning realm of biotechnology.

Our Department encompasses the 13 fields of education and research below, which cover a wide range of organisms—from humans to microbes. The underlying academic purpose here is to elucidate life phenomena on the molecular level. Targeting inorganic compounds, low-molecular organic compounds, and other biomolecules such as nucleic acids, proteins, lipids, and polysaccharides, we set for ourselves the task of bringing to light biofunctions that may be caused by properties of individual molecules as well as interactions among molecules. Another fundamental research topic is the elucidation of how biomolecules work in relation to their cell structures.

To serve these purposes, we offer a four-year integrated curriculum. In the first two years, students take common basic subjects of physical chemistry, organic chemistry, and biochemistry, as well as introductory subjects that cover the entire range of academic disciplines that our Department has to offer, so that they can set their own learning goals. In the last two years, students systematically learn a broad range of disciplines—from basic to applied research—that concern animals, plants, and microorganisms, while performing lab work and practical training carefully prepared for them to understand related theories empirically. In the fourth year, students are assigned to laboratories, where they learn about approaches and attitudes toward creative research as they work on new challenges as budding researchers. Through this curriculum, we develop self-driven biotechnology researchers and engineers who can respond to societal demands. Successful students must be motivated with a sharp and clear vision and be fully prepared to challenge themselves to attain their educational objectives.

Through its research and education, the Department of Applied Life Sciences aims to develop students who:

1.   Study organisms and life phenomena deeply at the cellular and molecular levels and understand them in a chemical context;
2.   Understand the commonality and diversity of biofunctions of microorganisms, plants, and animals;
3.   Spearhead new discoveries and inventions to applied research; and
4.   Gain skill with research approaches and logical thinking through the aforementioned research experience and make the most of applied education through lectures by guest speakers from private enterprises and visits to plants.

Keywords for Each Field of Affiliation

Field Keywords
Cellular Biochemistry Extracellular matrix, collagen, cell adhesion, cholesterol homeostasis, signal transduction, structure and functions of membrane proteins, migration and metastasis of cancer cells
Biomacromolecular Chemistry Correlation between dynamic structure and functional expression of biological macromolecules based on atomic-level measurements, elucidation of mechanisms of gene expression, and basic and applied research on life, health, and food
Bioregulation Chemistry Organic chemistry, mass spectrometry, bioactive molecules, animal toxins, crop protection
Chemical Ecology Chemical interpretation of survival strategies of living organisms, specifically plant stress toreleance, insect adaptations, host-discrimination substances, defence compounds and insect hormones, based on organic chemistry of physiologically active substances
Plant Nutrition Molecular mechanism of photosynthesis, plant nutrition and growth, plant metabolism and functions, environmental, stress and plants, algal biotechnology
Fermentation Physiology and Applied Microbiology Applied microbiology, including fermentation, stemmed from screening and breeding of useful microorganisms with unique functions for useful substance production, health promotion, crop and food production, environmental control, and ecosystem management
Microbial Biotechnology Metabolism and physiology of C1-microorganisms, heterologous gene expression, organelle dynamics, autophagy, plant-microbe interaction, redox dynamics, bioconversion of natural gas
Bioanalytical and Biophysical Chemistry Bioelectrochemistry, enzymatic catalysis chemistry , photosynthesis and respiratory energy conversion, biosensors, microbial fuel cells, analysis of nitrogen metabolism
Biofunctional Chemistry Chemical biology, organic chemistry, bioenergetics, mechanisms of mitochondrial respiratory enzymes
Applied Structural Biology Appearance and workings of proteins, X-ray crystallography, folding of polypeptides, functional improvement of proteins
Molecular Microbiology Metabolic stress and signaling, microbial biotechnology, microbial genome science, mechanism of gene expression, mechanism of response to environmental stress, reactive oxygen species and biological defense system, proteomics and metabolome.
Molecular and Cellular Biology Totipotency of plant cells, functional differentiation of chloroplasts, photosynthetic function and stress tolerance, functional expression of secondary metabolism and production of useful substances, molecular breeding of plant cell functions
Plant Molecular Biology Environmental response of photosynthetic organisms, reproduction of plants, genome science of plants, gene expression control, molecular genetics