Tokai University, Japan launches interdisciplinary Micro/Nano Technology Center (MNTC) for research based on polymer nanosheets

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Tokai University, Japan launches Micro/Nano Technology Center (MNTC), the university’s leading multi-million dollar global hub for international interdisciplinary research based on the synthesis, functionalization and biomedical applications of polymer ultra-thin films (often called nanosheets).

Nanosheets developed by Yosuke Okamura form the basis for our research at Micro/Nano Technology Center (MNTC).

The pioneering research at MNTC has been underscored by the establishment of the Nikon Imaging Research Center at Tokai University.

Tokai University, Japan launches interdisciplinary Micro/Nano Technology Center (MNTC) for research based on polymer nanosheets

Tokai University, Japan launches Micro/Nano Technology Center (MNTC), the university’s leading multi-million dollar global hub for international interdisciplinary research based on the synthesis, functionalization and biomedical applications of polymer ultra-thin films (often called nanosheets).

Micro/Nano Technology Center, Tokai University
http://www.mnc.u-tokai.ac.jp/

“The polymer nanosheets developed by Yosuke Okamura form the basis for our research at Micro/Nano Technology Center (MNTC),” says Rio Kita, one of eight prominent MNTC researchers. “There are three main groups that specialize in fabrication and synthesis; experimental trials of concepts; and in-depth analysis and modeling.”

In addition to the group leaders, the researchers at MNTC also include highly motivated young scientists from both Japan and overseas. Research at MNTC fuses expertise from a wide cross section of specialties including physics, mechanical engineering, and medicine.

Recent breakthroughs

  • Development of a process to produce large areas of nanosheets with sizes of 10cmx50m. This roll-to-roll mass production of nanosheets and their functionalization with “microgravure” printing system to functionalize their surfaces. This approach has enabled the production of 50,000 cm2 of nanosheets, compared with 314 cm2 by spin coating.
  • Microfluidic devices for developing disease models for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and thrombosis without animal experiments and surgeries.
  • Fabrication of titanium hollow needles with outer diameter of less than 50 micrometers functionalized to behave as actuators and sensors.
  • Analysis of cells using MiSeq DNA sequencer for understanding cell differentiation processes.
  • “Nanowrapping” of cells with both porous and non-porous nanosheets for live cell imaging.
  • Analysis of the effect of mechanical, electrical, magnetic and thermal stimuli on nanosheets.

The MNTC is a truly interdisciplinary center with international scientists. “We welcome highly motivated scientists to join us in our quest for real-life applications of nanosheets that were developed by our staff,” says Kita. “The pioneering research at MNTC has been underscored by the establishment of the Nikon Imaging Research Center at Tokai University. The Nikon Imaging Research Center houses the latest optical instruments produced by Nikon and is open to all researchers inside and outside of Tokai University as well as for training students and education.”

Researchers at the Micro/Nano Technology Center (MNTC)

1. Yosuke Okamura, Associate Professor, Department of Applied Chemistry
Design and fabrication of nanosheets
Aims: Designing nanosheets with unique properties and devising simple fabrication procedures
Keywords: Polymer chemistry, Biomaterials, Nanomaterials

Major recent publications

1. T. Komachi, H. Sumiyoshi, Y. Inagaki, S. Takeoka, Y. Nagase, Y., Okamura, Y. Adhesive and robust multi-layered poly(lactic acid) nanosheets for hemostatic dressing in liver injury model, Journal of Biomedical Materials Research Part B, in press (2016).
2. Y. Okamura, K. Kabata, M. Kinoshita, H. Miyazaki, A. Saito, T. Fujie, T. Ohtsubo, D. Saitoh, S. Takeoka, Fragmentation of poly(lactic acid) nanosheets and patchwork treatment for burn wounds, Advanced Materials 25, 545, (2013).
3. Y. Okamura, K. Kabata, M. Kinoshita, D. Saitoh, S. Takeoka, Free-standing biodegradable poly(lactic acid) nanosheet for sealing operations in surgery, Advanced Materials 21, 4388, (2009).

2. Yuta Sunami, Junior Associate Professor, Department of Mechanical Engineering
Aims: Mass production of nanosheets using ‘web handling’ technology and their functionalization.
Keywords: Tribology, Design Engineering, Web Handling

Major recent publications

1. H. Hashimoto and Y. Sunami, “Optimization of winding conditions for preventing roll defects caused by thermo-viscoelastic property and its experimental verification”, JSME Mechanical Engineering Journal, 3, (2016).
2. H. Hashimoto and Y. Sunami, “Optimization of winding conditions considering web thickness Variation in width direction and experimental verification”, JSME Mechanical Engineering Journal, 2, (2015).
3. H. Hashimoto, Y. Sunami, H. Fujita, “Effect of Static Electricity on Static Friction Force between Plastic Film and Steel Roller”, Proceedings of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, Part J: Journal of Engineering Tribology, 228, 1008, (2014).

3. Kazuyoshi Tsuchiya, Professor, Department of Precision Engineering
Aims: Development of bio-microsensors on nanosheet technology
Keywords: Microactuator, Microsensor, Microneedle, Thin film deposition, Sputtering etching, Smart materials.

Major recent publications

1. K. Tsuchiya, M. Y. Bin Saidin, T. Inoue, K. Kajiwara, M. Kimura, Qualitative measurement of pain by analysing the salivary alpha amylase, Precision Engineering, 38, (2014).
2. K. Tsuchiya, I. Sachiko, K. Kajiwara, M. Kimura, Interaction between carbon nanotubes and human cell, Precision Engineering, 34, (2013).
3. K. Tsuchiya, N. Nakanishi, Y. Uetsuji, E. Nakamachi, Development of Blood Extraction System for Health Monitoring System, Biomed. Microdevices, 7, (2005).

4. Asako Otomo, Assistant Professor, Department of Molecular Life Sciences
Aims: Cell culture and cytopathology on nanosheets for medical applications
Keywords: Neurobiology, Cell biology, Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), iPSC

Major recent publications 

1. S. Hadano, S. Mitsui, L. Pan, A. Otomo, M. Kubo, K. Sato, S. Ono, W. Onodera, K. Abe, X. Chen, M. Koike, Y. Uchiyama, M. Aoki, E. Warabi, M. Yamamoto, T. Ishii, T. Yanagawa, HF. Shang, F. Yoshii, Functional links between SQSTM1 and ALS2 in the pathogenesis of ALS: cumulative impact on the protection against mutant SOD1-mediated motor dysfunction in mice, Human Molecular Genetics. In press (2016).
2. A. Otomo, L. Pan, S. Hadano, Dysregulation of the autophagy-endolysosomal system in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and related motor neuron diseases, Neurology Research International, 2012 498428(2012).
3. A. Otomo, R. Kunita, K. Suzuki-Utsunomiya, JE. Ikeda, S. Hadano, Defective relocalization of ALS2/alsin missense mutants to Rac1-induced macropinosomes accounts for loss of their cellular function and leads to disturbed amphisome formation, FEBS Letters, 585, 730, (2011).

5. Hiroshi Kimura, Associate Professor, Department of Mechanical Engineering
Aims: Applied microfluidic systems for biological and medical science
Keywords: Microfluidic device, Bio-MEMS, µTAS, Organ/Human-on-a-Chip

Major recent publications

1. M. Komeya, H. Kimura, H. Nakamura, T. Yokonishi, T. Sato, K. Kojima, K. Hayashi, K. Katagiri, H. Yamanaka, H. Sanjo, M. Yao, S. Kamimura, K. Inoue, N. Ogonuki, A. Ogura, T. Fujii, T. Ogawa, Long-term ex vivo maintenance of testis tissues producing fertile sperm in a microfluidic device, Scientific Reports 6, 21472, (2016).
2. L. Yang, Y. Okamura, H. Kimura, Surface Modification on Polydimethylsiloxane-based Microchannels with Fragmented Poly(L-lactic acid) Nanosheets, Biomicrofluidics 9, 064108, (2015).
3. H. Kimura, T. Ikeda, H. Nakayama, Y. Sakai, T. Fujii, An On-chip Small Intestine-Liver Model for Pharmacokinetic Studies, JALA 20, 265, (2015).

6. Rio Kita, Professor, Department of Physics
Aims: Molecular characterization and analysis of polymers
Keywords: Polymer structure, Dynamics, Thermodynamics, Rheology

Major recent publications

1. K. Maeda, N. Shinyashiki, S. Yagihara, S. Wiegand, R. Kita, Ludwig-Soret effect of aqueous solutions of ethylene glycol oligomers, crown ethers, and glycerol: Temperature, molecular weight, and hydrogen bond effect, J. Chem. Phys. 143, 124504, (2015).
2. R. Kita and T. Dobashi, Eds., Nano/Micro Science and Technology in Biorheology: Principle, Methods, and Applications, Springer, Tokyo, 2015.
3. K. Maeda, N. Shinyashiki, Shin Yagihara, S. Wiegand, R. Kita, How does thermodiffusion of aqueous solutions depend on concentration and hydrophobicity?, Eur. Phys. J. E 37, 94, (2014).

7. Kazuya Kabayama, Associate Professor, Graduate School of Science, Osaka University
Aims: Applications of nanosheets to cell analysis and drug screening
Keywords: Live cell imaging, Glycobiology, Lipidbiology, Microdomain, Microscopy

Major recent publications

1. H. Kojima, Y. Suzuki, M. Ito, K. Kabayama, Structural Characterization of Neutral Glycosphingolipids from 3T3-L1 Adipocytes, Lipids, 50, 913, (2015).
2. SH. Son, S. Daikoku, A. Ohtake, K. Suzuki, K. Kabayama, Y. Ito, O. Kanie, Syntheses of Lactosyl Ceramide Analogues Carrying Novel Bifunctional BODIPY Dyes Directed towards the Differential Analysis of Multiplexed Glycosphingolipids by MS/MS using iTRAQ, Chem. Commun. 50, 3010, (2014).
3. Y. Suzuki and K. Kabayama, Convenient and rapid removal of detergent from glycolipids in detergent-resistant membrane microdomains, J. Lipid Res. 53, 599, (2012).

8. So Nakagawa, Assistant Professor, Department of Molecular Life Science
Aims: Evaluation methods for analysis of interaction between cells and nanosheets and medical applications
Keywords: Bioinformatics, Comparative Genomics, Endogenous Viral Elements

Major recent publications

1. S. Nakagawa, MU. Takahashi, gEVE: a genome-based endogenous viral element database provides comprehensive viral protein-coding sequences in mammalian genomes, Database (Oxford), baw087, (2016).
2. S. Nakagawa, SS. Gisselbrecht, JM. Rogers, DL. Hartl, ML Bulyk, DNA binding specificity changes in the evolution of forkhead transcription factors, Proc Natl Acad Sci USA. 110, 12349, (2013).
3. S. Nakagawa, H. Bai, T. Sakurai, Y. Nakaya, T. Konno, T. Miyazawa, T. Gojobori, K. Imakawa, Dynamic evolution of endogenous retrovirus-derived genes expressed in bovine conceptuses during the period of placentation, Genome Biology and Evolution 5, 296, (2013).

About Tokai University

Tokai University is a private university established by Shigeyoshi Matsumae in 1942.

"Tokai" of "Tokai University" refers to the sea to the east of Asia, namely the Pacific Ocean, and symbolizes the desire to foster the kinds of big hearts, rich spirits, and broad perspectives symbolized by the expanse of an ocean.

The white cross of the school flag symbolizes "Love" and "Justice," and expresses the presence of "Truth" where love and justice meet.

The Tokai University Educational System is one of the largest general education and research institutions in Japan today. To seek mutual understanding and global peace through the education of, and interaction with, young scholars from around the world, we began accepting foreign students from at early stage and have consistently promoted Japanese-language education.

For more information, please visit
http://www.u-tokai.ac.jp/english/

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Adarsh Sandhu
Tokai University
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