Research area

Outline of the research

This field consists of two independent units with a research focus on advanced natural products and attendant drug discovery. We utilize the cutting-edge technologies, such as enzyme engineering, x-ray crystallography, NMR spectroscopy, etc. to understand the fundamentals of natural product biosynthesis, the discovery of bioactive compounds, and clarify their molecular mechanism for drug development against various diseases, as mentioned in the primary research focus of each unit.


Unit 1: Natural Products Chemistry Laboratory (Professor Hiroyuki Morita; Assist Prof. Kodama) with the following primary research focus.

  1. Discovering new antibacterial and antivial natural products from plants, marine sponges and bacterial sources.
  2. Development of new assay methods.
  3. Discovering natural product-producing enzymes, and its engineering for the formation of new useful compounds.
  4. Elucidating the mechanism of the interaction between bioactive compounds and target protein based on the X-ray crystal structure analysis


Unit 2: Natural Drug Discovery Laboratory (Assoc. Prof. Suresh Awale) with the following primary research focus.

  1. Anti-austerity strategy-based screening of traditional medicinal plants from different origins (e.g. Kampo medicines, Ayurvedic medicinal plants, etc.) utilizing human pancreatic cancer cell lines (e.g. PANC-1, MIA Paca2, KLM-1, NOR-P1, Capan-1, PSN-1, etc).
  2. Discovery of anti-austerity agents from natural medicine resources through bioassay-guided isolation, identification by using state-of-the-art chromatographic and spectroscopic techniques (e.g. NMR, MS, UV, IR, CD).
  3. Investigation of the structure-activity relationship of the active natural compounds and their mechanism of action against cell survival pathways (PI3/AKT/mTOR/Autophagy).
  4. Study of the effect of antiausterity agents against metabolism of cancer cells utilizing FT-NMR and FT-MS approach.

Researcher in charge