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Institute of Life Science

The Institute of Life Science, established in 1989, is located in the Kurume Research Center Building in the Kurume Centennial Park. The Institute was founded for developing biomedical research in molecular biology, which is one of the most exciting fields of science. The Institute is composed of three divisions: cell biology, protein biochemistry and molecular genetics. The Institute has a four-year program for graduate students leading to the Doctor of Medical Science Degree.

The division of cell biology investigates the biological functions of membrane-anchored growth factors. These types of growth factors serve as juxtacrine growth regulators and mediate cell-to-cell interactions in development and maintenance of bodies. The studies are focused on analyzing the molecular mechanism of heparin-binding EGF-like growth factor, a kind of membrane- anchored growth factor, and its associating proteins as a juxtacrine growth factor in cell growth and development.

The main interest of the division of protein biochemistry is the structure and function of blood platelet glycoproteins. The molecular mechanisms of platelet aggregation and adhesion are being investigated. The group is also analyzing molecular defects of platelets from patients with platelet disfunction in collaboration with other clinical laboratories.

The division of molecular genetics is investigating the mechanism of gene expression in cytokine action. The studies of the department are also focused on analyzing the functions of the oncogenes in the development of normal cells as well as in the transformation of cancercells.