My research interests centers on how endosymbiosis has emerged and shaped the evolutionary paths of ecosystems.
Academic degrees: M.Sc. in Biological Sciences, University of Tokyo; Ph.D. in Agricultural and Life Sciences, University of Tokyo, Tokyo, Japan.
|Activities in Academic Societies||
Botanical Society of Japan
Endosymbiosis is a process where an organism is incorporated into and lives inside the cell of another organism. This has given rise to a wealth of ecological diversity on this planet. Mitochondria in all the eukaryotes including humans, and chloroplasts in land plants and algae, are also acquired via this type of revolutionizing, and relatively rare, amalgamation of different organisms.
The endosymbiosis is not only an 'ancient' evolutionary event, but still ongoing biological process. Reef building coral is one of the examples: some other cnidarian animals including corals, sea anemone and jellyfish, harbor endosymbiotic dinoflagellate algae called 'zooxanthellae' inside the endodermal cells. The coral hosts give shelters and nutrients to endosymbiotic algae, and the algae provide sugars generated via photosynthesis in return. This relationship, however, is vulnerable to environmental changes and now in danger of breakdown.
My research aim is to study genes and cellular functions involved in the 'birth and death' of the endosymbiosis, and to understand how this type of endosymbiotic relationship has evolved and contributed to the diversification of ecosystems on the earth.