KURNe #10, Institute for the Advanced Study of Human Biology, ASHBi (Long Ver)


Kyoto University has been selected to
establish the next World Premiere International Research Center initiative,
or WPI, a project aimed to revolutionize our understanding of the world today. Today we introduce the Institute for Advanced Study of Human Biology, or
ASHBi ASHBi will be investigating the
question: what is it to be human as a biological entity. Under the direction of
Dr. Michinori Saitou from the school medicine. We sat down with director Saitou
to introduce us to ASHBi WPI was launched in 2007 by the Japanese
government in an effort to build research institutes with high research
standards and outstanding research environments to lead the frontline in
science and technology. ASHBi is the newest addition to this effort
officially beginning operation in October of 2018 based upon our proposal.
Our mission is to investigate the core concepts of human biology, with a
particular focus on genome regulation and to create disease models using cynomolgus monkeys. We aim to create a foundation of knowledge for developing
innovative and unique human centric therapies and treatments. Before you can
develop drugs or therapies for humans there needs to be an exhaustive amount
of basic research. From there, the system is tested in culture cells or model
organisms like mice, but the knowledge from model organisms has often been
difficult to translate to humans mainly due to species differences in key
biological pathways. And that’s understandable
humans live much longer than mice, we have unique metabolism, and obviously our brains function differently. At ASHBi, we will primary explore
humans and non-human primates and elucidate the mechanistic basis of
species differences with an aim to uncover the core principles of human
beings and disease states. To uncover the design principles of human traits for
future medical applications, ASHBi has five main goals. One to promote research
into human biology with an intense focus on genome regulation. Two, to clarify the
principles explaining species differences. Three, generate primate models
for intractable diseases. Four, reconstitute key human cell lineages and
tissues in vitro. And five, contribute to formalizing an international ethics
standard for research on human biology Understanding human biology is essential
for the future of medicine and by extension, the human race. While we have
dramatically expanded our fundamental knowledge on life science within the
last hundred years, the investigations into humans are only at an incipient
stage. That is a captivating premise for us at ASHBi, we are going to shine a new
light into human biology here, and we are excited to see what we find

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