Department of Drug Discovery and Development

Research Unit for Innovative Medicine

Professor Hiroshi Suzuki

We use developmental biotechnology to analyze the gene function of hosts and protozoa. The development of new techniques for developmental biotechnology and reproductive biotechnology is also one of our missions. In this research field, we are investigating the possibility of preventing and treating protozoan infectious diseases by modifying the hosts’ physiological condition. For example, recent research using alpha-tocopherol transfer-protein knockout mice has found that a vitamin E deficiency in the host inhibits the growth of malarial protozoa and Trypanosoma. Moreover, we utilize developmental and reproductive biology techniques to improve the breeding of assistance dogs, including guide dogs, for the purpose of contributing to society.


The nuclei of malarial protozoa infecting the red blood cells of a wild-type mouse (A).
Disturbances in the DNA of protozoa infecting the red blood cells of an α-TTP deficient mouse (B).

Professor Yoshifumi Nishikawa

We are researching functional disorders of the central nervous system (CNS) and behavioral changes in host animals, as well as the mechanism of miscarriage or vertical transmission of protozoan infections. In addition, we are attempting to identify and analyze parasite-derived factors that control inflammatory response and immuno-suppression. Based on the results of this research, we are developing a new type of next-generation vaccine that can effectively transport a vaccine antigen to lymphoid tissues by utilizing multifunctional materials and can effectively stimulate immune cells. For practical application of our vaccine, we investigate the effects of the model vaccine based on infection models of mice and natural hosts.

Main Research Projects
  • Study on behavioral changes of host animals and CNS disorder following Toxoplasma and Neospora infection.
  • Study on immune evasion mechanisms of Toxoplasma and Neospora
  • Pathological study of malaria, toxoplasmosis, neosporosis and cryptosporidiosis
  • Vaccine development based on multifunctional materials
  • Screening of anti-parasite drug from natural products
  • Study on intestinal flora associated with bovine diarrhe
Cyst Toxoplasma in brain tissue
Comparative transcriptome using the brain tissue of a mouse infected with Toxoplasma
Aborted fetus from cow infected with Neospora