Research Support

International collaboration toward a physical understanding of the mechanics of cell morphogenesis and embryogenesis

Project Gist

International collaboration toward physical understanding of the  morphological transitions of animal cells driven by the actin cytoskeleton


Cytoskeleton, Forge generation, Cell morphogenesis, Embryogenesis

Background and Purpose

The developmental process starting from a single cell is accomplished by precise spatiotemporal control of forces generated by the actin cytoskeleton beneath the plasma membrane. Although the key molecules involving in the force generation have been identified, a physical mechanism of the morphological transitions in a molecular level remains largely unknown. Here, in collaboration with a developmental biologist who has expertise in single molecule imaging of living cells and a mechanical engineer developing a precise and sophisticated computational model of the cytoskeleton, we aim to understand the physical mechanism of the morphological transitions of animal cells during developmental process driven by the actin cytoskeleton.

Project Achievements

The combination of live cell single molecule imaging, reconstitution of morphological transitions using cell-sized lipid vesicles containing purified cytoskeletal proteins, and computational modeling of the molecular dynamics of the actin cytoskeleton brought us better understanding of the physical mechanism of the morphological transitions of animal cells. Based on the ideas and preliminary results obtained from the SPIRITS project, we have applied for multiple research grants and new projects have been launched.

Future Prospects

I would like to welcome students and postdocs having a wide variety of backgrounds to my laboratory. Using the skills for project management obtained by the SPIRITS program, I would like to lead an international and interdisciplinary project aiming to understand the design principles that govern the self-organization of cell-scale ordered structures and biological functions from molecules.


Team organization

Principal Investigator


Hakubi Center for Advanced Research(Department of Physics)
He completed doctoral degree at Kyoto University. After his postdoctoral work, he joined Hakubi Center at Kyoto University as a principal investigator in 2017, aiming to understand how the life is created from molecules using a bottom-up approach. He now holds a joint appointment as Team Reader at RIKEN BDR.

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