Tomonori Nakamura

Graduate School of Medicine, Kyoto UniversityAssistant Professor*Profile is at the time of the award.

2018Inamori Research GrantsBiology & Life sciences

Research topics
Generation of the chimeric monkey for functional evaluation of primate pluripotent stem cells and differentiating cells
ESCs (embryonic stem cells) and iPSCs (induced pluripotent stem cells) are considered to be capable of contributing to all the cells of an organism. In the case of mice, it has been proven that both types of stem cells are capable of contributing to any cell of an individual mouse. For ethical reasons, however, related demonstrative experiments cannot be conducted for human iPSCs. iPSCs have already been applied to regenerative medicine and drug discovery research, but it is not known if we are really dealing with multipotent cells for an organism, as human iPSCs and mouse iPSCs are clearly different. The way things stand now, research into iPSCs has started without a solid understanding of their true potential. Accordingly, we have recently used a cynomolgus monkey to determine the real potential of human iPSCs. We found that primate iPSCs have traits very similar to those of in vivo multipotent cells of a certain period. However, to prove that they are real pluripotent stem cells in terms of functionality, it is necessary to show that they are capable of developing into any cell in an individual. For this proposed research, I use a cynomolgus monkey as a primate model to verify that their ESCs and iPSCs really have potential as pluripotent stem cells in terms of functionality.

Message from recipient

I feel truly grateful for having been selected as a recipient of the time-honored and prestigious Inamori Research Grants Program and highly honored by the recognition of my research proposal. Doing research using a crab-eating macaque, I was able to see an image that no one in the world has ever seen (Photo 1), the experience of which gave me tremendous stimulation, excitement, and the real thrill of being a researcher. I will make efforts to follow the footsteps of so many prominent basic researchers who have received this grant, in the hope of gaining an experience that again allows me to feel the joy and satisfaction of being a researcher.

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Biology & Life sciences