Previous affiliation: School of Medicine, University of Tsukuba → Department of Pharmacology, Institute of Basic Medical Sciences , University of Tsukuba
Comment: Favorite motto - "Finding a good question is more difficult that solving it"
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Previous affiliation: Department of Biomedical Engineering, Institute of Basic Medical Sciences, University of Tsukuba
Comment: In everything I do, I like to move forward one step and a time.
Concurrent position: Associate Professor, Department of Anatomy, School of Medicine, Toho University
Previous affiliation: Faculty of Medicine, Tokyo Medical and Dental University
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"Q&F" with Prof. Funato
Q: What exactly is forward genetics?
F: To give you an image, it’s like playing the lottery with mice.
Q: So that means if you have 10 mice as the grand prize, you keep performing the experiment until you pull one of the winning mice?
F: Not exactly. It means that the common point of forward genetics and the lottery is not in winning, but rather losing. In both the lottery and forward genetics, you are most likely to lose.
Q: But there have to be winning mice, right?
F: We continue with the belief that there are in fact winning mice. However, it is not possible to predict in advance how many winning mice there will be. Once we find something, we can begin to include it in the group of winning mice. Even if there is a hit though and we come across a winning mouse, I can’t say how much prize money it would be worth.
Q: So what you are saying is that the prize money may be low even if you have a winner?
F: You may end up with a gene that is already known. For example, if you worked on the forward genetics of obesity for many years only to arrive at leptin (previously discovered gene regulating hunger and energy expenditure), you would be sad indeed.
Q: Like the lottery, if you line up at the ticket window, can anyone play to win?
F: Unfortunately, the answer is ‘no’. Because we measure sleep/wakefulness by measuring brain waves (EEG), it takes a lot of money and effort. Also, as it is not something that can be done by a single person, it is necessary to build a trusted team before you can begin to play the game.
Q: …wow, this story makes me feel a little overwhelmed. So what about the winners…?
F: We have been successful in finding several gene mutations that lead to changes in the amount of sleep and also REM sleep. Adding to that, there are some mice that quickly turn over on their backs and face upwards. While we don’t really understand the relationship with sleep, it’s really cute to watch.
Q: It’s great that you’ve made some discoveries already.
F: Yes, it certainly is a good thing. And if you are interested in sleep and the workings of the brain, I’d be happy to research together with you. We are looking for graduate students and postdocs, regardless of the background. You are welcome to have a lab tour anytime.
Previous affiliation: College of Biological Science, University of Tsukuba → The University of Tokyo
Previous affiliation: Department of Pharmacology, Institute of Basic Medical Sciences , University of Tsukuba
Comment: I devote myself each day to try and aim for new discoveries.
Previous affiliation: College of Agrobiological Resource Sciences, University of Tsukuba → Department of Pharmacology, Institute of Basic Medical Sciences , University of Tsukuba → Department of Molecular Neuroscience and Integrative Physiology, Graduate School of Medical Sciences, Kanazawa University
Comment: I want to strive to do my best with the research here.
Previous affiliation: College of Agrobiological Resource Sciences, University of Tsukuba → Graduate School of Comprehensive Human Sciences, University of Tsukuba
Comment: I am conducting research using neurophysiological and molecular genetic techniques in order to clarify neural information processing during sleep.
Affiliation: JPSP Research Fellow (PD)
Previous affiliation: Graduate School of Medicine, Kyoto University → National Center of Neurology and Psychiatry (NCNP)
Comment: I will do my best for people with sleep anxiety (including myself) to deliver research results giving a sense of hope.
Previous affiliation: Faculty of Environment and Information Studies, Keio University → Graduate School of Media and Governance, Keio University
Comment: QOL Improvement Committee. Through sleep research, I think we can find a happier way of life and society.
Previous affiliation: Osaka Bioscience Institute (OBI)
Previous affiliation: Faculty of Agriculture, Utsunomiya University
Comment: It’s nice to learn new things every day.
Comment: I want to be able to speak the language of mice.
Previous affiliation: Department of Life System, Institute of Technology and Science, University of Tokushima
Comment: Cherish the mice! I’ll do my best to take care of them.
Comment: While I am at the mercy of their various sizes, I will devote myself to mice, tissue, protein and DNA.
Yuuki Hirose (D4)
Comment: Although 10 years have passed since I came to Tsukuba, I have completely changed in the last few years. I want to study and research to the fullest so that I can achieve great progress in the next chapter of my life.
Mohammad Sarowar Hossain (D4)
Taeko Matsuoka (D4)
Takehiro Miyazaki (D1)
Yasuhiro Ogawa (D１)
Comment: The student has overcome the master.
Elijah Takahashi (D1)
Comment: Cure the Incurable
Haruna Komiya (D2)
Staci J. Kim (D3)
Hometown/Birthplace: Korea & USA
Takato Honda (D3)
Affiliation: JSPS Research Fellow (DC1)
Previous affiliation: College of Biological Sciences, University of Tsukuba
Haojun (Lucy) Xu (D2)
Alden Satoshi Takenawa Eunice (M2)
Daiki Nakatsuka (M2)
Hometown/Birthplace: Fujinomiya (Shizuoka)
Comment: I come to school in formal pajamas every day.
Ryo Ishii (M2)
Comment: I look forward to one day at time.
Fuyuki Asano (M1)
Comment: I love sleep. I hate crowded trains. And lastly, I want to cherish each and every day.
Hiromu Tominaga (M1)
Hiroki Muramoto (5th year)
Comment: I am interested in taking advantage of clinical genomics.
Yui Ishikawa (5th year)
Yuki Kawabe (3rd year)
Takehiro Yamada (3rd year)
Toshiya Yonezawa (4th year)
Comment: It is truly an honor to be able to participate in a project of national scale. I will work hard to not forget my aspirations in order grow into someone who can meet the expectations of this project. Thanks for your support along the way.
Kanako Iwasaki (4th year)
Comment: I aim to be an unsung hero, working in the background without expecting any credit.
- Junya Fukuoka - 2015 Graduate of Master's Program in Medical Sciences, Graduate School of Comprehensive Human Sciences
- Kanako Harano - 2015 Graduate of Master's Program in Medical Sciences, Graduate School of Comprehensive Human Sciences (master's program)
- Yasuhiro Kasagi – 2014 Graduate of Master's Program in Medical Sciences, Graduate School of Comprehensive Human Sciences (master's program)
- Kentaroh Honda – 2014 Graduate of Master’s Program in Medical Sciences, Graduate School of Comprehensive Human Sciences (master's program)
- Sachiko Ishii – 2014 Graduate of Medical Sciences, School of Medicine and Medical Sciences (graduation research)
- Naoto Hosokawa – 2014 Graduate of Medical Sciences, School of Medicine and Medical Sciences (graduation research)
- Haruhiko Midorikawa – 2014 Graduate of Medicine, School of Medicine and Medical Sciences (new medical major)
- Takashi Miyazaki – 2013 Graduate of Medicine, School of Medicine and Medical Sciences (new medical major)
- Ami Kaminomiya – 2012 Graduate of Medical Sciences, School of Medicine and Medical Sciences (graduation research)
- Yoshiko Yamamoto – 2012 Graduate of Medical Sciences, School of Medicine and Medical Sciences (graduation research)
Affiliation: IIIS Urade Lab / Yanagisawa & Funato Lab
Previous affiliation: Osaka Bioscience Institute (OBI)
Affiliation: IIIS Liu Lab
Previous affiliation: UTSW Postdoctoral Fellow