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Environmental Biology Laboratory Faculty of Medicine University of Tsukuba
環境生物学研究室
Environmental Biology Laboratory 
Faculty of Medicine University of Tsukuba
1-1-1 Tennodai, Tsukuba Ibaraki,
305-8575, Japan

Japanese

Research Motives

Preventive medicine through reduction of environmental risks
Elucidation of signaling alterations by environmental electrophiles and regulatory mechanisms

 Welcome to the environmental biology laboratory. I am Dr. Kumagai from the Faculty of Medicine and the director of this laboratory. Currently, there are different varieties of highly reactive chemical substances (environmental electrophiles) in surrounding environment and in our food. Health risks as a result of exposure to and ingestion of these substances are of concern because they interact with biological macromolecules and can affect maintenance of homeostasis (Figure 1). Therefore, reducing the health risks associated with environmental electrophiles is considered to reduce the risk of developing certain diseases. Our bodies, however, have various systems and signaling pathways that appropriately respond to environmental changes in order to maintain homeostasis. These biological systems detect and combat environmental electrophiles that have entered the body. Disruption of these signaling systems most likely leads to an increased health risk (Figure 2). Thus, health risks associated with environmental electrophiles are controlled by the extent of biological responses (yellow arrow in Figure 2), and we believe that the health risks can be reduced by expanding this extent. We are currently pursuing two major research projects. One is to elucidate biological response systems elicited by environmental electrophiles and mechanisms underlying disruption of these systems (Figure 2-1). The other one concerns mechanisms regulating the threshold for environmental electrophiles (Figure 2-2). We believe that our research will reduce health risks that people encounter on a daily basis and ultimately contribute to creating a healthier, disease-resistant society.