Promoting Interdisciplinary Research
Tokyo Tech-TMDU Matching Fund
Tokyo Tech-TMDU Matching Fund aims to promote bottom-up joint research between the two universities for future integration, and provides research funding support for interdisciplinary research projects.
Among the interdisciplinary research that combines the research ideas, skills, and knowledge of researchers from both universities, support will be provided for the research with excellent ideas, expected to develop in the future, and that has a specific research theme.
As a result of the selection process by both universities, 23 research projects were selected.
The following is an outline of the research conducted by three of the selected research teams.
（◎＝Principal Investigator, ○＝Co-Principal Investigator）
Associate Professor, School of Engineering, Tokyo Tech
Professor, Graduate School of Medical and Dental Sciences, TMDU
【Initial evaluation of AI-driven AC nanopore method for pathogenic microorganisms sensing】
Develop microbial sensing (AI-driven AC nanopore method) that can comprehensively screen and identify causative microorganisms to accelerate the initial reaction to infectious diseases. This sensing method is based on current changes as microorganisms pass through microscopic pores (nanopores). Because it identifies microorganisms by their phenotype (size, shape, surface potential, etc.), a single sensor can comprehensively measure countless microorganisms. This method is also characterized by its ability to identify microorganisms through machine learning and has the aspect of a growing sensor whose performance improves as it is measured. In this study, we will demonstrate the proof of concept by measuring and evaluating as many pathogenic microorganisms as possible, including clinical samples, in the BSL2 and BSL3 facilities at Tokyo Medical and Dental University and extract issues for full-scale implementation.
Associate Professor, School of Materials and Chemical Technology, Tokyo Tech
Professor, Medical Research Institute , TMDU
【Development of nanocarriers for achieving sustained protein expression in the brain】
Brain function regeneration using brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) to promote neuronal growth and synapse formation has been garnering attention as a potential treatment method for central nervous system disorders. For instance, in Alzheimer’s disease (AD), local administration of BDNF in the brain has been reported to improve cognitive function. However, from a clinical perspective, delivering BDNF to the brain through systemic administration is challenging due to the presence of the blood-brain barrier (BBB), which restricts drug penetration into the brain parenchyma. In this study, in collaboration with Prof. Satoshi Uchida from Tokyo Medical and Dental University, a world leader in the field of mRNA therapeutics, we aim to establish an innovative AD treatment based on brain function regeneration. We will achieve this by utilizing our precisely engineered BBB-crossing nanomachine technology to enable systemic delivery of unstable mRNA to the brain and then continuously produce large amounts of BDNF within neurons.
Tenure-track associate professor, Institute of Research ,TMDU
Specially Appointed Associate Professor, Earth-Life Science Institute, Tokyo Tech
【Development of RNA-guided programmed cell death technology using CRISPR-Cas7-11】
The CRISPR-Cas system is an adaptive immune system found in prokaryotes. So far, various Cas enzymes with diverse activities have been identified across millions of prokaryotic species, unleashing a plethora of novel applications. We previously identified that Cas7-11 and Csx29 protease complex, a new Cas enzyme, exhibits guide RNA and target RNA-dependent proteolytic activity, which is potentially utilized for developing new CRISPR-based applications. Here, we will identify artificial substrate peptides efficiently cleaved by Csx29 protease, paving the way for new tools utilizing the Cas7-11-Csx29 complex in diverse novel technologies.