Graduate School of Medicine / School of Medicine, Tohoku University
東北大学 大学院医学系研究科/東北大学 医学部医学科


TOHOKU UNIVERSITY Ranking #3 in Japan

TOHOKU UNIVERSITY Ranking #3 in Japan

The Tohoku University School of Medicine was established in 1915 as a part of Tohoku Imperial University, but it has roots extending all the way back to 1817, when the Sendai-han Medical School was founded. It has developed into a top-level organization for medical practice, education, and research. Prominent accomplishments include advances in electroencephalograms, the development of the Kasai procedure for congenital biliary atresia, and the introduction of mass examination for the early detection of cancer. Researchers at the School of Medicine also discovered moyamoya disease, the signaling mechanisms involved in protective responses (including those related to immune and oxidative stress), the neural networks that connect the major organs, and congenital diseases involving Ras and related signaling molecules. In cooperation with the University Hospital, the school is striving to translate its basic discoveries into innovations that will benefit patients.

Founded in 2002, the United Centers for Advanced Research and Translational Medicine (ART) is a part of the School of Medicine. Researchers at the center are vigorously pursuing basic research into the principles of life, clinical research based on associations between various organs, and translational research geared towards generating intellectual property. This three-fold mission is reflected in the three divisions of the center: the Division of Basic Medical Research, the Division of Translational Research, and the Division of Clinical Research.

Researchers at ART have forged many collaborations with scientists at other institutions, both in Japan and overseas. Within Tohoku University, the center has particularly strong connections with the Graduate School of Pharmaceutical Science, the Graduate School of Dentistry, the Graduate School of Biomedical Engineering, and the Institute of Development, Aging and Cancer.

Reflecting the current trend toward post-genomic research and recognizing the importance of going beyond genomic research, the center was reorganized in 2010 into core centers, each of which consists of a team of interdisciplinary researchers who share a common mission and research vectors. This core-center structure is intended to foster projects through a proactive, flexible organization rather than the vertical course-based approach typical of traditional research departments. ART currently has 14 core centers. While pursuing advanced multidisciplinary research based on their stated missions, each core center collaborates with the Clinical Research, Innovation and Education Center (CRIETO) in Tohoku University Hospital in areas ranging from basic medicine through translational research and clinical research. In this way, ART is seeking to strike an optimal balance between applied research, such as drug discovery and medical equipment research and development, and basic research, which will provide vital seeds for future science.

In addition, ART is actively seeking to promote the utilization of big data as well as provide a platform for collaboration between industry, academia, and government. Other priorities are to cultivate young researchers and bolster research infrastructure.

1 June 2019 - 31 May 2020

Principal institution: Tohoku University

Region: Global
Subject/journal group: All

The table to the right includes counts of all research outputs for Graduate School of Medicine / School of Medicine, Tohoku University published between 1 June 2019 - 31 May 2020 which are tracked by the Nature Index.

Hover over the donut graph to view the FC output for each subject. Below, the same research outputs are grouped by subject. Click on the subject to drill-down into a list of articles organized by journal, and then by title.

Note: Articles may be assigned to more than one subject area.

Count Share
45 11.36

Outputs by subject (Share)

Subject Count Share
Life Sciences 35 9.47
Physical Sciences 4 0.49
Earth & Environmental Sciences 6 0.78
Chemistry 6 1.53

Highlight of the month

An alarm clock for airway stem cells

 © Douglas Sacha/Getty

© Douglas Sacha/Getty

Dormant stem cells in the respiratory tract rely on a protein receptor called Axl to awaken and start proliferating in response to cellular damage — the first step in airway repair.

This finding, from a team co-led by scientists from Tohoku University’s United Centers for Advanced Research and Translational Medicine, could lead to new therapies for chronic inflammatory pulmonary diseases.

The researchers showed that, in the presence of an inflammatory insult and with lung cells dying all around, airway basal stem cells need Axl on their surfaces to multiply. After expanding, the cells turn off Axl expression and start differentiating into the specialized cell types needed to replace damaged tissue.

Several cancer therapies already target Axl, which also plays a role in tumour development. Given that successful track record of drug development in oncology, the researchers propose that Axl signaling provides an attractive drug target for combatting lung disease.

Supported content

  1. Journal of Experimental Medicine 216, 2184–2201 (2019). doi: 10.1084/jem.20171978

View the article on the Nature Index

See more research highlights from Graduate School of Medicine / School of Medicine, Tohoku University

More research highlights from Graduate School of Medicine / School of Medicine, Tohoku University

Affiliated joint institutions and consortia

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