In a living body, various cells are interacting with many other species. In a single cell, various molecules such as proteins, nucleic acids, and sugars are functioning through interaction with each other. To precisely understand their biological functions, it is important to investigate the activities or behaviors of the target molecules under living condition, in which all interactions with other biomolecules are maintained. On the basis of organic chemistry, macromolecular chemistry, and biochemistry, we design and synthesize functional molecules, and apply them to image behaviors or activities of target biomolecules, and to regulate their functions by using light.
We develop fluorescent probes that detect specific biological activities such as enzyme activities, and photoregulation technologies of enzyme or receptor functions with caged or photochromic compounds. By combining these functional compounds with optical microscopic technique, we aim at clarification of essential mechanism of life and diseases. These chemistry-based biological research is called chemical biology, and one of the exciting features is that we can create original functional molecules according to the purpose.