Department of Food Science and Biotechnology
The Department of Food Science and Biotechnology was established in 2001 as a unique department specializing in physiochemistry and life science of food and health, with the time-honored Department of Food Science and Technology and The Research Institute for Food Science as its parent organizations.
Today, the body of academic disciplines related to food is recognized as providing one of the most important foundations for maintaining the sustainable development of humankind. On the molecular, cellular, and individual levels, studies on the mechanism of biological responses that involve humans are being conducted based on experimental science with a focus on chemistry, biology, and physics. Topics of such research projects include taste and oral sensation, control of food preference, digestion and absorption of nutrients, decomposition and metabolism by enzymes, structural determination/synthesis of natural organic compounds including functional food ingredients and physiology, and dynamics of indigenous microorganisms including intestinal bacteria. These research projects provide input to applied studies of food and pharmaceutical products that contribute to health enhancement and disease prevention. With the aim of developing world-leading researchers, all the faculty and staff members of the Department fully dedicate themselves to responsible research and education, providing students with carefully crafted opportunities to gain a broad range of learning and knowledge related to food, from the basics to applied studies. The network of alumni has grown to include people from all walks of life, including those at universities and other educational institutions, as well as those involved in food-related industries, and it enjoys prestigious international recognition.
The Department of Food Science and Biotechnology is comprised of the three groups of Food Life Science, Food and Health Science, and Food Production Technology, which conduct education and research with the following objectives in mind:
(1) To understand basic science, including physical chemistry, organic chemistry, biochemistry, and molecular biology
(2) To study eating behavior and physiological responses of humans and other organisms at the molecular, cellular, and individual levels
(3) To promulgate eating habits, functional food, and pharmaceutical products that lead to health enhancement and disease prevention
In line with these education/research objectives, students are expected to take Liberal Arts and General Education Courses, including calculus, linear algebra, basic physical chemistry (thermal dynamics and quantum theory), and basic organic chemistry, as well as conduct basic chemical experiments, from their first and second years to prepare themselves for upper-level training coursework.
In the program for upper-level training, all the major subjects are categorized into physical chemistry, organic chemistry, biochemistry, molecular biology, major/practical training, and major practice sections, so that students will learn the “science” of food in a systematic manner. We emphasize practical training subjects, and third-year students conduct experiments related to their major subjects every afternoon while solidifying their knowledge on each section by taking seminars. Fourth-year students will be affiliated with one of the eight fields of this Department or one field of the Graduate School of Biostudies to pursue their research (write a graduation thesis).
After determining which field they wish to be affiliated with, students embark on cutting-edge research related to any of the keywords for each field shown below, to lay the groundwork for becoming a world-leading researcher.
Keywords for Each Field of Affiliation
|Enzyme Chemistry||Functional modification of enzymes, functional analysis of enzymes, search for activators/inhibitors of enzymes, expanded use of enzymes|
(currently no members)
|Organic Chemistry in Life Science||Natural products chemistry, molecular design of pharmaceutical seeds, analysis of instruments, development of diagnostic antibodies, peptide chemistry, mechanisms of action of functional food molecules, prevention of lifestyle-related diseases|
|Nutrition Chemistry||Elucidation of mechanism controlling eating behavior|
|Molecular Function of Food||Molecular mechanism of obesity, cholesterol metabolic control mechanism, prevention/reduction of obesity through functional food molecules, elucidation of functional regulation mechanism of fat tissues, lifestyle-related diseases and lipid metabolism, comprehensive metabolomic analysis of metabolites|
|Physiological Function of Food||Food physiology, exercise, fatigue/motivation, tastiness, prevention of lifestyle-related diseases, obesity, physiologically active peptides derived from food, design and production of highly functional proteins|
|Bioengineering||Nanostructured soft matter of food and attaching functionality, prediction, imaging, and creation of oral sensation using artificial intelligence, visualization and control for healthcare of digestive tract functions, establishment of rare useful substance production methods utilizing subcritical water|
|Basic and Applied Molecular Biotechnology||Microorganisms, intestinal bacteria, fermented food, biofuel production, mechanisms of infection, symbiosis, and saprophagy, synthetic biology, X-ray crystallography|
|Biosignals and Response||Isolation and identification of useful physiologically active substances from natural products, elucidation of response phenomena of animal cells/individual animals to external stimulus|