Our Rrsearch

 

Biomolecules that function in our bodies come in a variety of sizes ranging from several to hundreds of nanometers.
This size falls precisely in the "meso" domain, which lies at the junction between micro and macro levels. A key
difference in the environments of humans and biomolecules is that it is impossible for biomolecules to ignore thermal
fluctuations because they are constantly exposed to changes in heat. Thus, unlike artificial machines, biomolecules
are able to make skillful use of thermal fluctuations while functioning. For example, RNA polymerase is one-dimensionally
diffused on DNA when searching for a promoter site. Our ultimate goal is to elucidate the how biomolecules operate.


Observing the motions of individual molecules and manipulating molecules directly are very useful for learning the
working mechanisms of biomolecules. Therefore, we have developed techniques such as single-molecule imaging
microscopy
capable of directly observing the motion and structural changes of individual molecules, a method of
manipulating molecules by grabbing molecules with optical or magnetic tweezers, and an apparatus for measuring
the minute forces generated by molecules. Today, we are developing new imaging technologies and use these techniques
to investigate the molecular mechanisms of biomolecules.


Three main research directions are as follows:
1. Development of a novel single-molecule imaging technique using
fluorescent diamond nanoparticles
2. Analysis of biomolecular interactions with zero-mode waveguides
3. Molecular mechanism of epigenetics