Takahiro Kikawada / Associate Professor / Division of Biosciences
Department of Integrated Biosciences / / Molecular biology of extreme tolerant organisms

Career Summary
1992: B.A. in Agriculture - Iwate University
1994: M.A. in Agriculture - Graduate School of Iwate University
1994: Research Scientist - National Institute of Serological and Entomological Sciences
2001: Research Scientist - National Institute of Agrobiological Sciences
2005: Principal Researcher - National Institute of Agrobiological Sciences
2009: Ph.D. from Tokyo Institute of Technology
2015: Associate Professor - University of Tokyo

Educational Activities
Graduate School: Applied Bioresource Sciences

Research Activities
Elucidation of molecular mechanisms underlying anhydrobiosis:
Water is an essential element of life. Even though most organisms will die when subjected to a severe depletion of water, there are some that can survive. Simple rehydration allows these dehydrated organisms to resume active life. The sleeping chironomid is the only insect with this anhydrobiosis capability, which is a state of suspended animation by desiccation. The desiccated larvae can tolerate a variety of stresses. Eventually, the larvae can be revived, even after exposure in outer space for over two years.

1) Gusev O., Suetsugu Y., Cornette R., Kawashima T., Logacheva M.D., Kondrashov A.S., Penin A.A., Hatanaka R., Kikuta S., Shimura S., Kanamori H., Katayose Y., Matsumoto T., Shagimardanova E., Alexeev D., Govorun V., Wisecaver J., Mikheyev A., Koyanagi R., Fujie M., Nishiyama T., Shigenobu S., Shibata T.F., Golygina V., Hasebe M., Okuda T., Satoh N., and Kikawada T., Comparative genome sequencing reveals genomic signature of extreme desiccation tolerance in the anhydrobiotic midge, Nature Communications 5:4784 (2014).
2) Kikawada T., Saito A., Kanamori Y., Fujita M., Śnigórska K., Watanabe M., and Okuda T., Dehydration-inducible changes in expression of two aquaporins in the sleeping chironomid Polypedilum vanderplanki, Biochimica et Biophysica Acta - Biomembranes 1778(2):514-520 (2008). 
3) Kikawada T., Saito A., Kanamori Y., Nakahara Y., Iwata K., Tanaka D., Watanabe M., and Okuda T., Trehalose transporter 1, a facilitated and high-capacity trehalose transporter, allows exogenous trehalose uptake into cells, Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 104:11585-11590 (2007).
4) Kikawada T., Nakahara Y., Kanamori Y., Iwata K., Watanabe M., McGee B., Tunnacliffe A., and Okuda T., Dehydration-induced expression of LEA proteins in an anhydrobiotic chironomid, Biochem Biophys Res Comm 348, 56-61 (2006).

Other Activities
Japanese Society for Cryobiology and Cryotechnology (Council Member: 2012-present; Associate Editor: 2010-present)
The Japanese Society for Extremophiles (Symposium committee: 2010-2013; Executive Board Member: from 2016)
Japan Transporter Research Association (Board Member: 2006-present)
The Molecular Biology Society of Japan
International Symposium-New Frontiers in Anhydrobiosis (Scientific Committee: 2014)

Future Plan
Our aim is to clarify the molecular mechanisms underlying anhydrobiosis in the sleeping chironomid.

Messages to Students
Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try Again. Fail again. Fail better.
- Samuel Beckett