Mizuo Maeda Group
Functional Materials Science (RIKEN Institute) [NanoBio Science]
Life is made from materials.
The Maeda Laboratory located in RIKEN Institute
provides you with multidisciplinary research
environments to study biological materials science.
The biological materials are quite different from metals and inorganic materials but have soft characteristics. Typical examples are proteins and nucleic acids including DNA. Proteins are functional materials working in living systems while nucleic acids act in encoding, transmitting and expressing genetic information. These biological macromolecules are also important outside living bodies. They are useful for diagnostics such as sensing, monitoring, and imaging. We may take advantage of biological materials even for engineering purposes: nano-structured materials may be prepared with the aid of nucleic acids and/or proteins. Development of hybrid materials between artificial and biological is one of the promising ways to utilize biological functions in non-biological fields of science and technology.
Professor Mizuo Maeda
Mizuo Maeda, a polymer chemist, received his Ph.D. from the University of Tokyo in 1983. He was an Assistant Professor in the laboratory of synthetic polymer chemistry at the University of Tokyo since 1983 through 1988. Then he moved to Kyushu University as an Associate Professor of Synthetic Chemistry. Prior to coming to RIKEN Institute as a Chief Scientist in 2001, Dr Maeda was Professor of Materials Physics and Chemistry at Kyushu University since 1995. He is now Director of Bioengineering Laboratory in RIKEN. Since 2006, Dr Maeda also has a laboratory in the Department of Advanced Materials Science, School of Frontier Sciences, the University of Tokyo as a Professor. He received the Award of the Society of Polymer Science, Japan (2004), the Prize for Science and Technology in the Research Category, as the Commendation of Science and Technology by the Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, Japan (2007), the Chemical Society of Japan Award for Creative Work (2009), and the Award of Japanese Society of Biomaterials (2011).
Introduction of the study
The principal purpose of our laboratory is to explore a new frontier of research field which fuses biological science and engineering. On the basis of polymer chemistry, analytical chemistry, biochemistry, and molecular biology, we are studying new materials comprising biological components, novel methodology for biosensing and medical diagnosis, and artificial systems for regulation of biological processes. Those new ideas and materials are being applied to the field of biomaterials sciences, medical engineering, life science, environmental science and micro/nanoscience. As an example, we have newly prepared DNA-polymer conjugates which have been applied for DNA biosensor, affinity electrophoresis, SNPs-responsive diagnostic nanoparticle, artificial gene regulation system, etc. These researches may be classified into a new category, i.e., "DNA engineering’. Some current research topics are as follows: gene diagnosis using DNA-functionalized colloidal nanoparticles, power-free microfluidic devices for immunoassay and gene sensing, detection of gene point mutation using DNA-conjugate materials and affinity capillary electrophoresis, enzymatic synthesis of novel polymeric materials, functional studies on molecular chaperones and applications.
Message from a senior
Our laboratory is located in RIKEN, which enables us to study in multidisciplinary fields. In our lab, we have the chance to work with specialists in biology, chemistry, as well as physics. In my case, I had the background of biology before joining Maeda lab, but now I am working on Bio-MEMES in collaborating with physicist, chemist and biologist. Not only Prof. Maeda gives me useful advices as mentor and chemist, but other staffs also help me in their specialty. I think it’s one of the most wonderful situations for doing research. You are welcome to join us in the future!