Division of Biophotonics


Quantitative analysis and elucidation of underlying mechanism of physiological functions by innovative bioimaging utilizing cutting-edge technologies of photonics

We apply advanced, innovative imaging methods to quantitative research in life and medical sciences. By amalgamating our original, world-class, super resolution, and ultrahigh-speed imaging methods with a combination of genetic engineering and nanomaterials, we aim to achieve in vivo visualization of living organisms and tissues to establish a quantitative visual analysis method for physiological functions using nonlinear optical technologies, such as near-infrared ultrashort light pulse lasers, adaptive optics, and nanomaterials. In addition, we elucidate the emergence of neural functions by analyzing neural circuits and activities, including biological rhythms and their molecular basis.
For example, we recently developed multiphoton microscopy for deep cross-sectional fluorescence imaging at the deepest layer in the world. Using this method, super resolution microscopy was performed using new laser technologies to enable ultra-micromorphology of the molecular dynamics in living cells (Fig. A). Similarly, fast three-dimensional in vivo imaging of local neural circuits, endocrine or exocrine glands, and model animals and plants can help identify the underlying principles of various physiological functions. These methods have also been used to explore the molecular basis of the pathogenic mechanism of diseases such as cancer and diabetes (Fig. B). Conversely, we observed neurons in the dentate gyrus of the hippocampus at a depth of 1.6 mm from the brain surface under anesthesia, and hippocampal CA1 neural activity at a video rate. Currently, we improved in vivo deep imaging with adaptive optics (Fig. C) and ultra-wide area imaging with nanosheets (Fig. D). Furthermore, we used long-term imaging technology to study the generation and functions of ultradian and circadian rhythms in living cells.
This research department collaborates widely with various life sciences, applied physics, material sciences, medical, and pharmaceutical laboratories to weave a vivid tapestry of interdisciplinary research. Our innovative in vivo imaging methodology can elucidate the underlying mechanisms of neural cell physiology. We are looking for graduate students or young researchers who share our passion for pioneering new academic fields.

(A) Two-photon nanoscopy –breaking the limit of the spatial resolution < 100 nm. (B) 3D live imaging of cell division using a multi-beam-scanning two-photon confocal microscope (C)in vivo deep brain imaging using adaptive optics two-photon microscopy(D) Ultra-wide area imaging using nano-sheets


Selected publications

*H. Ishii et al., Biomed. Opt. Express, 10, 3104-3113 (2019).
*T. Kamada, K. Otomo, et al., Sci. Rep. (2022)
*K. Yamaguchi, et al., ACS Omegas (2021)
*T. Takahashi, et al., iScience, 23,101579 (2020)
*T. Takahashi, et al., STAR Protoc, 2, 100542 (2021)