A Year in Review: 2021
Continuing from last year, 2021 was a year in which overseas business trips and acceptance of researchers from overseas were restricted due to the influence of COVID-19. In addition, instability of democracy such as turmoil caused by military government in Myanmar also had a negative impact on our international joint research. Nevertheless, it was a year in which great results were obtained from the publication of 8 papers and 9 presentations at academic conferences.
In his personal life, Takahashi was very pleased to be a torchbearer at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, which was a great success even though it was threatened by COVID.
Related: Carry the Olympic flame of hope—getting over the coronavirus pandemic
2021 was a fruitful year in which we published 8 articles in reputable journals including European Heart Journal, Frontiers in Cell and Developmental Biology, and npj Microgravity. Last year’s goal, which is to increase the number of publications by strengthening the writing ability of team members and streamlining co-writing, was achieved, thanks to the great work of team members.
- Liu, Y, Wang, M, Liang, Y, Naruse, K, Takahashi, K. Development of a human heart-on-a-chip model using induced pluripotent stem cells, fibroblasts and endothelial cells. European Heart Journal 42(Supplement_1). Oct, 2021
- Yin Liang, Mengxue Wang, Yun Liu, Chen Wang, Ken Takahashi, Keiji Naruse. Meta-Analysis-Assisted Detection of Gravity-Sensitive Genes in Human Vascular Endothelial Cells. Frontiers in Cell and Developmental Biology 9: 689662. Aug 4, 2021
- Chen Wang, Jian Chen, Mengxue Wang, Keiji Naruse, Ken Takahashi. Role of the TRPM4 channel in mitochondrial function, calcium release, and ROS generation in oxidative stress. Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications 566: 190-196. Aug, 2021
- Chen Wang, Masakazu Maeda, Jian Chen, Mengxue Wang, Keiji Naruse, Ken Takahashi. Production of TRPM4 knockout cell line using rat cardiomyocyte H9c2. MethodsX 8: 101404-101404. May, 2021
- Yin Liang, Mengxue Wang, Chen Wang, Yun Liu, Keiji Naruse, Ken Takahashi. The Mechanisms of the Development of Atherosclerosis in Prediabetes. International Journal of Molecular Sciences 22(8): 4108-4108. Apr 15, 2021
- Mengxue Wang, Yun Liu, Yin Liang, Keiji Naruse, Ken Takahashi. Systematic Understanding of Pathophysiological Mechanisms of Oxidative Stress-Related Conditions—Diabetes Mellitus, Cardiovascular Diseases, and Ischemia–Reperfusion Injury. Frontiers in Cardiovascular Medicine 8. Apr 13, 2021
- Yun Liu, Mengxue Wang, Yin Liang, Chen Wang, Keiji Naruse, Ken Takahashi. Treatment of Oxidative Stress with Exosomes in Myocardial Ischemia. International Journal of Molecular Sciences 22(4): 1729-1729. Feb 9, 2021
- Ken Takahashi, Hideyuki Takahashi, Takuya Furuichi, Masatsugu Toyota, Makoto Furutani-Seiki, Takeshi Kobayashi, Haruko Watanabe-Takano, Masahiro Shinohara, Takuro Numaga-Tomita, Asako Sakaue-Sawano, Atsushi Miyawaki, Keiji Naruse. Gravity sensing in plant and animal cells. npj Microgravity 7(1): 2. Feb, 2021
Related: Why do muscles and bones weaken in space?
Nine conference presentations including four invited lectures were made, focusing on the work of organ-on-a-chip. Furthermore, our heart-on-a-chip research is featured on the European Society of Cardiology Congress 2021.
- Takahashi K. Development of human organ models using organ-on-a-chip. Japanese Society for Medical and Biological Engineering Kansai Branch Meeting (invited). Dec 4, 2021
- Liu Y, Wang M, Liang Y, Naruse K, Takahashi K. Development of a human heart-on-a-chip model using induced pluripotent stem cells, fibroblasts and endothelial cells. ESC Congress 2021. Aug, 2021. European Society of Cardiology
- Takahashi K. International Collaboration. Brainstorming 2021 (invited). Aug 28, 2021. Okayama University Graduate School of Medicine, Dentistry and Pharmaceutical Sciences
- Takahashi K. Development and functional characterization of a model of human heart using organ-on-a-chip The 3rd International Conference of Microfluidics, Nanofluidics and Lab-on-a-Chip (invited). Jul 4, 2021
- Takahashi K. Development of human organ model using organ-on-a-chip and its application. The 124th Seminar of Okayama Medical Engineering Association. Jun 25, 2021
- Takahashi K. Development of a model of human heart using organ-on-a-chip. The 60th Annual Conference of Japanese Society for Medical and Biological Engineering. Jun 16, 2021
- Yin Liang, Mengxue Wang, Keiji Naruse, Ken Takahashi. Kidney-on-a-chip model using human renal proximal tubular epithelial cells and human umbilical vein endothelial cells. The 98th Annual Meeting of The Physiological Society of Japan Mar 30, 2021
- Liu Y, Wang M, Naruse K, Takahashi K. Optimization of the cardiac differentiation of human pluripotent stem cells. The 98th Annual Meeting of The Physiological Society of Japan. Mar 30, 2021
- Wang M, Liu Y, Naruse K, Takahashi K. Establishing an artificial heart model on a chip by using cardiomyocytes differentiated from human induced pluripotent stem cells. The 98th Annual Meeting of The Physiological Society of Japan. Mar 30, 2021
Although COVID severely restricted the activities, Takahashi conducted collaborative research under the UNCTAD program. In addition, he started collaborative research with Dr. Nasir Uddin at Texas A&M University with the support of the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science.
Takahashi was appointed as a special issue editor of “3D In Vitro Tissue and Organ Models” special issue in Micromachines.
Takahashi has performed 25 peer reviews for international academic journals, including highly reputable Nature Cardiovascular Research, Clinical and Translational Medicine, and eLife (Publon record is here). Ten of the submitted articles have been published and contribute to the development of science and medicine.
- Reviewed: Oct 2021 for Acta Medica Okayama
- Reviewed: Sep 2021 for Nature Cardiovascular Research
- Reviewed: Sep 2021 for Frontiers in Immunology
- Reviewed: Jul 2021 for Lipids in Health and Disease
- Reviewed: Jul 2021 for Lipids in Health and Disease
- 2 rounds from Jan 2021 to Jun 2021 for Clinical and Translational Medicine
- Reviewed: Jun 2021 for Lipids in Health and Disease
- 2 rounds from Apr 2021 to Jun 2021 for Regenerative Therapy
- Reviewed: May 2021 for Cells
- Reviewed: May 2021 for International Journal of Molecular Sciences
- Reviewed: Apr 2021 for Acta Medica Okayama
- Reviewed: Apr 2021 for International Journal of Molecular Sciences
- Reviewed: Mar 2021 for Cancers
- 2 rounds from Mar 2021 to Mar 2021 for Medical Science Monitor
- Reviewed: Mar 2021 for Pharmacological Reports
- Reviewed: Feb 2021 for Pathophysiology
- Reviewed: Feb 2021 for Current Drug Targets
- Reviewed: Feb 2021 for eLife
- Reviewed: Feb 2021 for Antioxidants
- 2 rounds from Nov 2020 to Jan 2021 for Pathophysiology
- Reviewed: Jan 2021 for Scientia Pharmaceutica
- 2 rounds from Dec 2020 to Jan 2021 for International Journal of Molecular Sciences
After years of training in Takahashi lab, Chen Wang has successfully obtained her PhD. Just to make up for the loss, Rumaisa Kamran joined Takahashi’s team at the recommendation of the Embassy of Japan in Pakistan.
Takahashi gave lectures to foster the next generation of researchers, doctors, and medical professionals. Due to the influence of COVID-19 pandemic, all lectures were given online.
The video created for the lecture was provided to the the BIZEN (Business Innovation Zone for ENtrepreneurship) program, a human resources development program for companies, further contributed to education.
Oct – Dec 2021: Medical Research Internship (Dept. of Medicine, Okayama University)
Apr 2021: Human Physiology (Master’s Course, Okayama University)
Jul 2021: Physiology Lecture (Dept. of Medicine, Okayama University)
Jul 2021: Physiology Practice (Dept. of Medicine, Okayama University)
May – Jun 2021: Physiology Lecture (Okayama University of Science)
Jul 2021: Myocardial Infarction Special Lecture: Cause for Arteriosclerosis (Ph.D. Course, Okayama University)
Jun 2020: Anatomy and Physiology (Okayama Medical and Welfare College)
Takahashi was appointed as a secretary general of Okayama Medical Engineering Study Group and organized two online seminars to promote the activity of medical engineering. In addition, he continued the activity of Okayama University Clinical Research Review Expert Committee.
- Apr, 2021 – Present: Member, Curriculum Committee, Okayama University Department of Medicine
- Jan, 2021 – Present: Secretary General, Okayama Medical Engineering Study Group
- Dec, 2019 – Present: Committee member, Okayama University Clinical Research Review Expert Committee
Looking ahead to 2022
Many results were achieved in 2021. Here is what Ken Takahashi is most looking forward to in 2022.
I would like to take a step to starting business activities to provide organ / disease models, which utilize organ-on-a-chip technology, to pharmaceutical companies. For that purpose, I will further establish the academic foundation of the organ chip model through strong collaboration. Also, I will actively obtain patents for organ / disease model technology. Along with this, I will acquire funds necessary for research and business. I would like to work on this business with the intention of creating one industry.
2021 was the year in which private space tourism began by Virgin Galactic and Space Origin. I would like to contribute to the development of Japan’s space travel business by advancing the creation of medical standards for sub-orbital flight with my business partner PD Aerospace.
About education, I would like to work with an even greater awareness of the production of human resources with a wide range of knowledge and advanced experience.
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Takahashi Lab at Okayama University uses principles of physiology, cellular and molecular biology, and biophysics. The purpose of the lab is to develop science and medicine by unveiling the mechanisms of diseases through collaborations with scientists, epidemiologists, and corporate alliances. The alliance includes Harvard University, Boston University, Texas A&M University, and PD Aerospace, Ltd.