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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

NEWS

2017/01

 On January 17, 2017, Professor Yoshito Kumagai and Assistant Professor Yumi Abiko were invited to publish a Perspective Article of a special issue for cerebration of 30th anniversary of Chemical Research in Toxicology supported by American Chemical Society. Title of the paper is Environmental Electrophiles: Protein Adducts, Modulation of Redox Signaling, and Interaction with Persulfides/Polysulfides. Professor Yoshito Kumagai and Assistant Professor Yumi Abiko partially introduced current findings supported by a Grant-in-Aid Scientific Research (S). clic here.

2017/01

 Professor Kumagai was elected to be an Executive Committee member of International Union of Toxicology (IUTOX) during XIV International Congress of Toxicology in Mexico, 2016. He is supposed to be in charge of the International Education Affairs of IUTOX for 3 years. clic here.

2016/12

 Dr. Masahiro Akiyama, assistant professor, received the Encouragement Prize for Young Researchers at the 2016 Research Meeting on Methylmercury sponsored by the Ministry of the Environment held in Tokyo on December 26, 2016. This presentation was titled "Study on MeHg toxicity regulated by an enzyme responsible for cysteine metabolism" Congratulations to Dr. Akiyama.

2016/08

 The 35rd Life and Metals/Chemicals Workshop, “Chalk Talk 2016,” was held at Sendai City in Miyagi Prefecture on August 25 and 26, 2016. Of the lab members who presented at the meeting, Assistant Professor Masahiro Akiyama was awarded the 10th Sakurai Medal for his oral presentation during the workshop. His presentation was titled “The relationship between the redox control by a cysteine metabolism- related enzyme and methylmercury toxicity.” Congratulations to Dr. Akiyama. 

2016/07

  At the 43st Annual Meeting of the Japanese Society of Toxicology held in Nagoya on June 29– July 1, 2016, 2 individuals, Assistant Professor Yumi Abiko and Professor Yoshito Kumagai, received the Tanabe Prize sponsored by the Japanese Society of Toxicology. The Tanabe Prize is awarded to society members who have published an outstanding original paper or an original paper that shows promise in the Journal of Toxicological Sciences, the official journal of the Japanese Society of Toxicology. Four original papers that were published in this journal last fiscal year were selected to receive this prize. An original paper, “Covalent binding of quinones activates the Ah receptor in Hepa1c1c7 cells.” published by our laboratory last fiscal year was selected and the 2 authors who were JSOT member among the three authors received the prize.

2016/05

 At the 9th International Conference on the Biology, Chemistry, and Therapeutic Applications of Nitric Oxide, the 16th Annual Scientific Meeting of the Nitric Oxide Society of Japan held in Sendai on May 20-22, 2016, assistant professor Yumi Abiko received the Young Investigator Award. The presentation was titled "Capture of reactive sulfur species by methylmercury to form bismethylmercury sulfide: Implication of the disruptionof redox homeostasis."
Congratulations to Dr. Abiko.

2016/03

 During the Society of Toxiciology (SOT) 55th Annual Meeting and ToxExpo in New Orleans, USA on March 13-17, 2016, the SOT and Japanese Society of Toxicology (JSOT) jointly hosted the mini-symposium “Advances in Metal Toxicity.” At the mini-symposium, SOT speaker Dr. Michael Aschner (Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx NY) spoke on his work on manganese toxicity, and JSOT speaker Dr. Yoshito Kumagai spoke on his work with methylmercury.clic here

2016/01

 Professor Yoshito Kumagai, Program Coordinator for the Global Innovation Joint-Degree Program (GIP-TRIAD) a graduate school master course coordinated internationally with the University of Bordeaux and National Taiwan University, rercently attended the 4th International Conference for the establishment of GIP-TRIAD in Bordeaux, France. Following the conference, University of Bordeaux published the contents of an interview with Professor Kumagai.Clic here for more information.

2016/01

 Dr. Masahiro Akiyama, assistant professor, received the Encouragement Prize for Young Researchers at the 2015 Research Meeting on Methylmercury sponsored by the Ministry of the Environment held in Tokyo on January 7, 2016. This presentation was titled "Reactive sulfur species as a novel factor to diminish methylmercury risk."
Congratulations to Dr. Akiyama.

2015/09

 Dr. Yasuhiro Shinkai assistant professor had his research on "Biological fate of environmental chemicals and its cellular defense mechanisms." evaluated, and was awarded the 2015 Pharmaceutical Society of Japan Environment and Health Division Award ・ Kanehara Award. In addition to this, Mr. Luong Cong Nho (a second -year Graduate School of Comprehensive Human Sciences master student) received the Young Investigator Award at Forum 2015: Annual Meeting on Pharmaceutical Health Science ∙ Environmental Toxicology held in Kobe on September 17 and 18. His presentation was titled "PQ-derived reactive oxygen species activate EGFR/ERK signaling pathwayin A431 cells."
Congratulations to Dr. Shinkai and Mr. Luong.

2015/09

 The article of the short-term foreign student from the Sao Paulo University was placed in the homepage of Tsukuba University. Clic here for more information

2015/08

 Prof. Chiharu Toyama, Professor Emeritus at Tokyo University and visiting professor at University of Tsukuba from April, was selected by the Directors of the Japanese Association of Medical Sciences to join the board as a director.

2015/07

 At the 42nd Annual Meeting of the Japanese Society of Toxicology held in Kobe on June 29–July 1, 2015, Assistant Professor Yumi Abiko received the Investigator's Aword. The presentation was titled "Simple assay for detection of chemical modification of proteins by electrophilic quinones using biotin-(PEAC)5-maleimide-ELISA." Congratulations to Dr. Abiko.

2015/06

 Professor Yoshito Kumagai was appointed as chair of the 44th Annual Meeting of the Japanese Society of Toxicology. The meeting is scheduled to take place July 10 through 12, 2017 (immediately preceded by a board of directors meeting on July 9) at Pacifico Yokohama. 

2014/09

 The annual academic meeting of the Pharmaceutical Society of Japan’s Specialty Section on Pharmaceutical Health Science and Environmental Toxicology, "Forum 2014: Pharmaceutical Health Science Environmental Toxicology," chaired by Professor Yoshito Kumagai of our laboratory, was held at the Tsukuba International Congress Center on September 19 and 20, 2014. More than three hundred attended the forum—including twenty attendees from Korea—and participated in a discussion about their research findings.

2014/08

 The 33rd Life and Metals/Chemicals Workshop, “Chalk Talk 2014,” was held at Fujisawa City in Kanagawa Prefecture on August 21 and 22, 2014. Of the lab members who presented at the meeting, Assistant Professor Yumi Abiko was awarded the 8th Sakurai Medal for her oral presentation during the workshop. Her presentation was titled “Electrophiles-mediated Activation of AHR/XRE.” Congratulations to Dr. Abiko.

2014/07

 At the 41st Annual Meeting of the Japanese Society of Toxicology held in Kobe on July 2–4, 2014, 4 individuals, Dr. Takashi Toyama (currently a postdoctoral fellow with the Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Tokyo University of Science), Assistant Professor Yasuhiro Shinkai, Professor Toshiyuki Kaji (Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Tokyo University of Science), and Professor Yoshito Kumagai, received the Tanabe Prize sponsored by the Japanese Society of Toxicology. The Tanabe Prize is awarded to society members who have published an outstanding original paper or an original paper that shows promise in the Journal of Toxicological Sciences, the official journal of the Japanese Society of Toxicology. Four original papers that were published in this journal last fiscal year were selected to receive this prize. An original paper, “A convenient method to assess chemical modification of protein thiols by electrophilic metals,” published by our laboratory last fiscal year was selected and the 4 authors of this paper received the prize. This paper also received the Technical Prize sponsored by the Japanese Society of Toxicology. Thus, Dr. Toyama received 2 prizes.

2014/06

 A newsletter issued by our laboratory was published by the Ph.D. Program in Human Biology, University of Tsukuba.

2014/06

 Dr. Yumi Abiko (previously a postdoctoral fellow in Faculty of Medicine, University of Tsukuba) joined our laboratory as an assistant professor.

2014/02

 Dr. Yumi Abiko of our laboratory (postdoctoral fellow) received the Prize for Excellent Presentation by a Young Researcher at the 13th Conference on Molecular Preventive and Environmental Medicine held in Wakayama on January 31 and February 1, 2014. The presentation was titled “Activation of aromatic hydrocarbon receptors by aromatic hydrocarbon quinones.” This presentation was recognized for demonstrating a mechanism of ligand-independent activation of aromatic hydrocarbon receptors by electrophilic modification, instead of conventional ligand-dependent activation of aromatic hydrocarbon receptors. Congratulation to Dr. Abiko.

2014/01

 Dr. Yumi Abiko of our laboratory (postdoctoral fellow) received the Prize for Encouragement at the 19th Arsenic Symposium held in Fukuoka on November 16 and 17, 2014. Her presentation was titled “Reduction of cytotoxicity of inorganic trivalent arsenic by aliphatic electrophilic substances contained in Coriandrum sativum L leaf extract.” Coriandrum sativum L is a spice with popular names such as cilantro and coriander. Her research presented at this symposium was recognized as it showed the potential of food-mediated Nrf2 activation for improvement of symptoms associated with chronic arsenic exposure, which is often observed in Eastern Asia. Congratulations to Dr. Abiko.

2013/12

 Dr. Yasuhiro Shinkai, assistant professor, received the Encouragement Prize for Young Researchers at the fiscal 2013 Research Meeting on Methylmercury sponsored by the Ministry of the Environment held in Tokyo on December 11, 2013. This presentation was titled “Activation of the Keap1/Nrf2 pathway by methylmercury and its glutathione conjugate.” Congratulations to Dr. Shinkai.

2013/09

 Professor Yoshito Kumagai was awarded the fiscal 2013 Academic Prize for his research contribution “Chemical biology of electrophilies in the environment that cause chemical modification of proteins,” by the Specialty Section on Pharmaceutical Health Science and Environmental Toxicology of the Pharmaceutical Society of Japan. The award ceremony was held on September 13, followed by an award lecture on September 14 at Forum 2013: Annual Meeting on Pharmaceutical Health Science ∙ Environmental Toxicology (held at Centennial Hall, School of Medicine, Kyushu University). At this award lecture, he introduced his research findings on how electrophiles, which occur widely in the environment, enter the body and chemically modify reactive cysteine residues, such as sensor proteins, and how these modifications trigger changes in intracellular signal transduction and induce adverse effects, whereas reactive sulfur species produced in vivo suppress these phenomena. Professor Yoshito Kumagai also received the Pharmaceutical Society of Japan Award for Divisional Scientific Promotions 4 years ago. Thus, this is his second award from the Pharmaceutical Society of Japan.

2013/09

 Ms. Eiko Yoshida of our laboratory (fourth-year student in the Ph.D. program in Comprehensive Human Sciences) received the Prize for Outstanding Young Researcher at Forum 2013: Annual Meeting on Pharmaceutical Health Science ∙ Environmental Toxicology held in Fukuoka on September 13 and 14. She received the Executive Chairman Award both last year and 4 years ago at the same meeting. Thus, since this award was established, she has accomplished a remarkable achievement by receiving 3 awards in 11 years, including the award received this year. Her presentation was titled “Proteomics of protein-derived reactive sulfur species that regulate detoxification of methylmercury.” Congratulations to Ms. Yoshida.

2013/06

  At the 40th Annual Meeting of the Japanese Society of Toxicology held in Chiba on June 17–19, 2013, 6 individuals, Ms. Reiko Hirose, Mr. Takashi Miura (currently at Mitsui Chemical), Dr. Sha Ryo (School of Integrative and Global Majors, University of Tsukuba), Assistant Professor Yasuhiro Shinkai, Dr. Toshiko Kagawa (National Institute of Health Sciences), and Professor Yoshito Kumagai, received the Tanabe Prize sponsored by the Japanese Society of Toxicology. The Tanabe Prize is awarded to society members who have published an outstanding original paper or an original paper that shows promise in the Journal of Toxicological Sciences, the official journal of the Japanese Society of Toxicology. Of 96 original papers published last year that were reviewed for the Tanabe Prize, 4 were selected to receive this prize. An original paper published by our laboratory last year, “A method for detecting covalent modification of sensor proteins associated with 1.4-naphthoquinone-induced activation of electrophilic signal transduction pathways,” was selected and the 6 authors of the paper received this prize.
 In addition, the first author Ms. Hirose, who is a secretary and a laboratory technician in our laboratory, conducted the majority of the experiments and submitted a paper for the first time. Congratulations to Ms. Hirose.

2013/06

 At the 40th Annual Meeting of the Japanese Society of Toxicology held in Chiba on June 17–19, 2013, 2 individuals, Mr. Takashi Miura (currently at Mitsui Chemical) and Professor Yoshito Kumagai, received the Pfizer Prize sponsored by the Japanese Society of Toxicology. The Pfizer prize is awarded to society members who have published a highly cited paper in the Journal of Toxicological Sciences, the official publication of the society. The paper that received the prize was titled “Immunochemical method to detect proteins that undergo selective modification by 1,2-naphthoquinone derived from naphthalene through metabolic activation,” published in 2010.

2013/02

 The 12th Research Meeting on Molecular Preventative and Environmental Medicine, chaired by Professor Yoshito Kumagai of our laboratory, was held at the Tsukuba Science Information Center on February 1 and 2, 2013, and was conducted with great success. We deeply appreciate all participants for attending this meeting. We took a group photograph of everyone who participated in this meeting at a social gathering after the meeting.

2012/10

 Ms. Eiko Yoshida of our laboratory (third-year doctoral student in the Graduate School of Comprehensive Human Sciences) received the Executive Chairman Award at Forum 2012: Annual Meeting on Pharmaceutical Health Science ∙ Environmental Toxicology held in Nagoya on October 25 and 26. She received the same award 3 years ago at this meeting. Thus, she made a remarkable achievement by receiving 2 awards, including the award she received this year, in the 10 years since this award was established. Her presentation was titled, “Analysis of S-transmercuration of proteins by glutathione conjugates of methylmercury.” Congratulations to Ms. Yoshida.

2012/10

 Ms. Hirose, a secretary who has had an additional position as a laboratory technician for several years, participated in research to prepare an antibody specific for 1,4-naphtoquinone (1,4-NQ), an electrophilic substance in the air produced by processes such as photo-oxidation of naphthalene.  Recently, she successfully prepared a specific antibody and also established a method to detect intracellular proteins that are chemically modified by 1,4-NQ. Her research results were published in the Journal of Toxicological Sciences. Congratulations to Ms. Hirose.

2012/08

 Yun-Fen Lin of the National Taiwan University (Taipei, Taiwan) visited our laboratory to participate in the University of Tsukuba Faculty of Medicine Summer School (July 23 to August 3). Lin identified the modification sites of topoisomerase II by 1,2-NQ and 1,4-NQ using LC-MS/MS and presented his results at the presentation held on the final day of the Summer School. Of the 26 people presenting their results, Lin obtained the highest evaluation and was awarded a gold medal during the awards ceremony at a BBQ party held later that day. Congratulations Lin!

2012/07

 7月17-19日に仙台で開催された第38回日本毒性学会学術年会において、新開泰弘助教は2012年度日本毒性学会奨励賞を受賞しました。受賞タイトルは「有害金属の毒性に対する防御応答を担う細胞応答システム」です。新開先生おめでとうございます。

2012/07

 Eiko Yoshida (third-year student in the Graduate School of Comprehensive Human Sciences) received an Outstanding Poster Award (total of 10 recipients) from among 236 poster presentations at The 6th International Congress of Asian Society of Toxicology held in Sendai (July 17–20). Her presentation was titled “Bismethylmercury sulfide as a novel detoxificated metabolite of methylmercury in mammalian cells.” Congratulations Eiko!

2012/07

 Dr. Frederick Peter Guenerich (Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN, USA), a speaker for the “World-Scientist Leader’s Seminar” in the University of Tsukuba Ph.D. Program in Human Biology visited our laboratory. During his visit, we were able to exchange views on intracellular signal transduction due to the chemical modification of proteins by exogenous electrophilic ligands.

2012/03

 During the Graduate School of Comprehensive Human Sciences Commencement Ceremony for 2 majors in Medical Sciences held on March 23, Takashi Miura (a fourth-year student in the Graduate School of Comprehensive Human Sciences) from our laboratory was awarded the Encouragement Award for Medicine. His paper titled “Glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate dehydrogenase as a quinone reductase in the suppression of 1,2-naphthoquinone protein adduct formation,” which earned him the award, was published in December 2011 in Free Radical Biology & Medicine.

2011/12

 Eiko Yoshida (a second-year doctoral student in the Graduate School of Comprehensive Human Sciences) from our laboratory attended the 2011 Metallothionein and Metal Biosciences Research Meeting in Nagoya in December 8–9, 2011. She was awarded the Young Excellence Award, an award honoring young scientists who have shown excellence in their research presentations. The title of her presentation was “Hydrogen sulfide as a defensive detoxification factor of methylmercury.” Congratulations Eiko!

2011/11

 Takashi Miura’s (4th year Graduate School of Comprehensive Human Sciences) paper has been chosen as one of the highlights of the ‘In this Issue’ section in the American Chemical Society publication ‘Chemical Research in Toxicology’. Up till now, it has been understood that within the cell, glutathione(GSH) covalently can bind to an electrophile and subsequently controls the chemical modification of cysteine residues, such as those in sensor proteins (pre-treatment). This paper, however, reveals that among the proteins modified by electrophiles, glyceraldehydes-3-phosphate dehydrogenase has the ability to cancel the electrophilic modification by using GSH (post-treatment).

2011/11

 Two members of our laboratory, Dr. Takashi Toyama (who, after gaining PhD in Graduate School of Comprehensive Human Sciences in July, is currently undertaking his post-doctoral research fellowship) and Ms. Yumi Abiko (2nd year doctoral student in Graduate School of Comprehensive Human Sciences), have been issued preliminary offers of fellowships as PD and DC2 from the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science(JSPS). The titles are ‘Cardiovascular abnormalities caused by methylmercury through S-mercuration (Takashi Toyama)’ and ‘The control systems of intracellular electrophile signals using the Keap1/Nrf2 system model (Yumi Abiko)’.
Both researches are related to signal transduction by environmental electrophiles through chemical modification of sensor proteins. For two individuals within our laboratory to be chosen for this fellowship at the same time is an amazing achievement. Congratulations to you both.

2011/10

 Mr. Takashi Miura’s from our laboratory (4th year Graduate School of Comprehensive Human Sciences doctoral student) has been awarded with the Outstanding Young Researcher Award at the Forum 2011: Pharmaceutical Health Science and Environmental Toxicology, held in Kanazawa on the 27th and 28th of October. Mr. Miura was also the recipient of this prestigious award last year, making him the first person to win consecutive awards in the past nine years. Ms. Abiko (2nd year doctoral student, Graduate School of Comprehensive Human Sciences Research) and Ms. Yuri Ito (2nd year doctoral student, Life and Environmental Sciences Research) were also awarded Executive Committee awards Congratulations to all recipients.
 Presentations made by each recipient were as follows:
  1. A novel function of GSH associated with repression of covalent modification of cellular proteins caused by an   atmospheric electrophile through S-transarylation (Miura).
  2. Activation of the arylhydrocarbon receptor by an electrophilic metabolites of butylated hydroxyanisole in A549 cells (Abiko).
  3. Cadmium activates transcription factor Nrf1 through the electrophile responsive element (Ito).

2011/07

 Dr. Toyama (Japan Society for the Promotion of Science research fellow DC2), D4 of Biomedical Sciences, Graduate School of Comprehensive Human Sciences, has completed his medical PhD at our university ahead of schedule, and has achieved the title and academic degree of doctor (Medicine). Dr. Toyama is the first person in the Biomedical field that has achieved their doctorate earlier than expected. Dr. Toyama is continuing his research as a JSPS fellowship PD.

2011/07

 At the 38th Japan Toxicology Conference held in Yokohama from the 11th to 13th of July, Associate Professor Daigo Sumi (currently residing in the Tokushima Bunri University, Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences), Ms. Miyako Akimori, Mr. Kenichiro Inoue (Kitasato University, School of Pharmacy), Mr. Hirohisa Takano (Department of Science, Kyoto University) and Professor Yoshito Kumagai were all awarded the Japan Toxicology Society’s Tanabe Prize. The Tanabe Prize is awarded to research excellence published within the Japan Toxicology Society’s Journal of Toxicological Sciences. In this case, ‘1,2-Naphthoquinone suppresses lipopolysaccharide-dependent activation of IKKβ/NF-κB/NO signaling: an alternative mechanism for the disturbance of inducible NO synthase-catalyzed NO formation’, an original paper put forth by our laboratory and published within the last year, was chosen for the prize and the five individuals responsible for the paper were awarded. Our laboratory was also awarded this prize in the previous year, and to achieve this two years in a row is truly an outstanding accomplishment.

2011/05

 Our laboratory has moved to the third floor of the Health and Medical Sciences Innovation building.

2011/02

 Professor Kumagai has been invited to be the Executive Chairman at the 6th International Congress of the Asian Society of Toxicology(ASIATOX-VI

20011/01

 Dr. Keiko Taguchi (Assistant Professor in the field of medicinal chemistry, Tohoku University post-graduate School of Medicine) alumni of our laboratory, has been awarded the Tohoku University School of Medicine Silver Award and scholarship. Dr. Taguchi’s research is titled ‘Functions of the Nrf2-Keap1 biological defense systems and pathological condition caused by a breakdown in these defenses’. Congratulations Dr. Taguchi.(click here for more information)

2011/01

Professor Kumagai has been invited to chair the 11th Japanese Society for Molecular Preventive and Environmental Medicine Conference.

2011/01

 Information on research performed within our laboratory related to methylmercury and presented at the International Forum hosted by the National Institute for the Minamata Disease, has been published in both the Yomiuri and West-Japan Newspapers. (click here for more information

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