KUBOTA Akira Professor

ThemeResearch on hazard assessment and toxic mechanism of anthropogenic and natural compounds that threat food safety as well as human and animal health, and on species-specific drug metabolism and pharmacokinetics aiming at advanced veterinary medicine for rare animals

My DreamContribute to improving animal, food, and environmental hygiene from the viewpoint of toxicology
Field Toxicology, Environmental Toxicology, Ecotoxicology, Drug Metabolism, Environmental Chemistry, Veterinary Sciences, Conservation Science
Keyword Chemicals, Developmental Toxicity, Developmental Neurotoxicity, Endocrine Disruption, Drug metabolism, Pharmacokinetics, Cytochrome P450 (CYP), Nuclear Receptor, Susceptibility, Omics, Adverse Outcome Pathway (AOP), Zebrafish, Phenotype Screening, Gene knockdown/knockout, Endangered Species, Red-Crowned Cranes, Mycotoxins


Major research topics in our research group are as follows:

  1. Understanding adverse effects and toxic mechanisms of chemical substances using zebrafish as a model species
    You may wonder why zebrafish is being used in a field of veterinary sciences at OUAVM. To date zebrafish have been extensively used as a vertebrate model species in a stunning array of research projects in embryology and medical science. In concurrence with daphnia and algae, zebrafish have been used also for assessing chemical effects on ecosystem. Benefit to using zebrafish as a model for those research subjects includes 1) high homology to human and other mammals at a genomic level, 2) having feature of high fecundity and rapid development with transparency, making it possible to observe organogenesis, 3) ease of genetic manipulation and inhibition of gene function, etc.
    In case livestock animals are exposed heavily to chemical substances such as pesticides, antibiotics, mycotoxins, and environmental contaminants, decline of their productivity may be of great concern. High levels of exposure may also cause adverse human health effects via consumption of livestock products that are contaminated with those chemicals. Alternatively, exposure of wildlife to those chemicals may cause detrimental effects on ecosystem through the population decline. In our laboratory, we investigate hazard assessment and toxic mechanism of anthropogenic and natural compounds that potentially threat food safety as well as human and animal health, aiming at contribution to improving animal, food, and environmental hygiene.
  2. Development of assessment method for drug sensitivity in endangered species, aiming at clinical application
    In veterinary medicine of wild animals including endangered ones, there often is difficulty in choice of drugs and dosage regimen, due largely to species difference in susceptibility and response to drugs. A key strategy to address these issues is to establish an effective dosage regimen based upon species-specific pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics (PK/PD). However, it is difficult to evaluate drug sensitivity and PK/PD as basic information in endangered species because of challenges for conducting administration test with live animals as well as limited availability of fresh tissue samples to work on drug-metabolizing enzymes. Our approach to address these issues is, with the assistance of zoo, 1) to heterologously express (in yeast or bacteria) drug-metabolizing enzymes (e.g., cytochrome P450) that are predominant in liver of a particular species, 2) to examine potency of the expressed enzymes to metabolize drugs that are frequently used in clinical practice and inhibitory effects of drugs on the enzyme functions, and 3) to predict dosage and administration based upon data from those in vitro studies and establish the appropriate dosage regimen through the clinical application with injured or diseased individuals.
Adult zebrafish. We study hazard assessment and toxic mechanism of chemicals using embryos produced by these fish.
Normal zebrafish embryos (upper) and embryos exposed to dioxin (lower). Cardiovascular toxicity was seen in embryos exposed to dioxin.
Red-Crowned Cranes. We study species-specific drug-metabolizing potency of and inhibitory effects on enzymes aiming at advanced veterinary medicine for rare animals.

List of current research topics

  • Understanding adverse effects and toxic mechanisms of chemical substances using zebrafish as a model species
  • Development of assessment method for drug sensitivity in endangered species aiming at clinical application
  • Comparative toxicology toward understanding species difference in susceptibility to chemical substances
  • Physiological and toxicological roles and regulation of cytochrome P450
  • Surveillance of mycotoxins contamination in corn for animal consumption
Academic degree D.Agr.
Self introduction

Was born in Kanagawa Prefecture, and came to join here in March 2014. While I was an undergraduate, I learned environmental pollution caused by anthropogenic chemical substances like dioxins and their potential adverse effects on wildlife, which became my motivation to study biological defence system against xenobiotics. Since then, I am consistently studying "toxicology".

Room addressGeneral Research Building iV
Mail address akubota atmark obihiro.ac.jp


Research Center for Global Agromedicine/Department of Veterinary MedicineResearch Department/Department of Veterinary Medicine/Division of Veterinary Sciences/Section of Physiology and PharmacologyDiagnostic Center for Animal Health and Food Safety/Toxicology Laboratory Office for International Accreditation of Veterinary Education/Staff
Related industries Environmental Sciences, Drugs, Veterinary Sciences, Animal industry
Affiliated academic society The Japanese Society of Toxicology, Society of Toxicology, Japan Socieity for Environmental Chemistry, Japan Society of Endocrine Disruptors Research, Japan Society of Comparative Pharmacology and Toxicology, Drug-Metabolizing Enzyme Research Group, The Japanese Society of Environmental Toxicology, The Japanese Society of Veterinary Science, Hokkaido Drug Action Reserach Group
Academic background 2003-2006 Ehime University (JSPS DC1)
2006-2007 Ehime University (Postdoc)
2007-2009 Rakuno Gakuen University (JSPS PD)
2009-2014 Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (JSPS Postdoctoral Fellowship for Research Abroad, etc.)
2014-present Obihiro University of Agriculture and Veterinary Medicine