The research fields of this department are broadly classified into two areas based on the fundamental academic system: physics, electricity, and mechanics, and chemistry, materials, and life sciences. The research fields are further divided into the following six areas: mechanobioengineering, biodevices, bioelectronics, bioimaging, chemical bioengineering, and biomaterials. These fields promote academic fusion based on a bird's-eye view, and develop innovative medical technologies by constructing fundamental technologies to control the interaction of materials and systems with living organisms.
In this field, we research advanced medical support technologies that combine mechanical engineering and biotechnology. Specifically, the development of medical diagnostic and surgery support robots based on advanced information technologies and control technologies; contrast studies for malignancy imaging by applying fluids containing microelements - such as molecules and bubbles - to the phenomena of macro fluids; a noninvasive tumor therapy and lithotrity system using ultrasound; development of DNA handling technologies based on microfabrication, micro measurement technologies and nano/micro mechatronics; and the development of technologies for mechanical stress loading with high accuracy and 3D fabrication technology for organs.
The field of bioelectronics investigates the mechanism of biological electric signal and information processing with the emphasis on distributed representation, parallel processing, and plasticity. Biologically-inspired (bio mimetic) devices, bio chips and nano pharmacologic sensors based on bimolecular and electronics have also been constructed. Bioelectronics fuses extraction/modeling of biological architecture with the implementation of electronic devices by top down (self organization system) and bottom up (semi conducting technology, for example) nanotechnology. Furthermore, bio nanotechnology supported by micro fabrication technique and nano-micro mechatronics is studied. Diagnosis, treatment and measurement system for bio-related materials and organisms are studied based on photonics and precision engineering. We are also performing researches of bio imaging with terahertz spectroscopy.
In the field of medicine and life sciences, development of new analytical devices has brought a lot of discovery and innovation. In this field, based on the understanding of the interactions of materials and systems with living bodies, we study and develop a variety of devices for inspecting states of the living body, organs, cells, proteins and genes. Currently advanced microsystems for biology and medicine (referred to as biochips, micro total analysis systems or Lab-on-a-chips) are being investigated intensively. As a core technology of biodevices, we investigate ultrasensitive analysis, biomolecule manipulation, device fabrication technology, and so forth.
The behaviors of biosystems are well-regulated and controlled by the interactions among various functional molecules such as DNA, RNA and proteins in different hierarchies such as cells, tissues and organs. On the firm basis on chemistry, the research in the chemical bioengineering field is focused on the structure and functions of these biomolecules, and on the mechanisms for regulating and controlling the biosystems through such molecules. The research is also focused on the innovative technology development for design, synthesis and control of high performance cells, tissues and organs through artificial designing, alteration, modification and systematization of functional biomolecules. Finally, we aim at applying these technologies to the medical treatment field.
By controlling the interactions of materials with living bodies, we attempt to create high-performance innovative biomaterials that act directly on cells, tissues and organs to control their activities. By mimicking the structure and function of the natural viruses, we create delivery systems that contain drugs and genes and precisely convey them to the target tissues and lesions. By mimicking the structure and function of the biomembrane, we design coating materials that prevent non-specific adhesion of proteins and cells to surfaces. By precisely controlling the 3D shape on various scales, we develop structural biomaterials with extremely superior properties.
Aiming to achieve advanced medical treatments, we have been investigating and developing the imaging technologies for medical diagnosis, therapies, surgeries, and bio-function analysis. Our programs based on the disciplines of quantum physics, biological science and physics, system engineering and the information science of medical and cell imaging, and provides bio-imaging technologies for structural, functional, metabolic and molecular analyses, and also bio-simulating technologies.