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Copyright 2003 Osaka University. All Right Reserved.Integrated functional analyses of disease-associated sugar chains and proteins, Osaka University

One of the most important fields of research at the post-genomic era is identification and characterization of the function of sugar chains in addition to characterization of protein functions. There are growing evidence that the sugar chains play a pivotal role in the protein function. In fact over 50 % of proteins are expected to undergo glycosylation and modification by sugar chains, i.e., glycosylation is the most common posttranslational modification of proteins. Thus, sugar chains confer different properties independent from “ Central dogma”.
Moreover sugar chains greatly contribute to the life processes both in functionality and universality.
The aim of this COE is to investigate the role and relationship between the life-style associated diseases including degenerative nerve diseases, protein folding diseases, cancer, hepatitis, diabetes and fatty liver which are socially requisite, and disorders associated with organelles such as the endoplasmic reticulum, mitochondria, Golgi apparatus and cell membranes etc. In addition the long-term goal is to develop epoch-making glyco-drugs and protein drugs against above diseases. In order to accomplish these goals, it is requisite to interdisciplinary research and acquire knowledge with a highly standard and techniques and accomplishments. This COE is comprised of 10 core members who are experts and internationally renowned scientists in this field and covers fields of expertise in biochemistry, molecular biology, developmental technology, human genetics, cell biology, neuroscience, immunology and hematology. In addition, we also include scientists with expertise in sugar chain analysis and mass spectrometry and we are confident that this COE will be able to characterize the functions of sugar chains. Future studies include cooperative research on sugar chains and protein research and will bring together other fields of research. The goal is to integrate those accomplishments and develop a filed of “Systems Medical Biology”. It is essential for us to make every effort to collaborate with scientists in various fields in order to succeed in characterizing and identifying the cause of various non-curable diseases and develop an appropriate therapeutic strategy.
The Osaka University Graduate School of Medicine/ Medical School has successfully established for the first time basic laboratory training course in laboratory for medical students and entrance systems that are open to students with the bachelor degree and also have developed an MD/PhD program, and moreover introduced graduate school system which is affiliated with several research institutions. Moreover in 2003, we introduced an endowed department designated as the Department of Glycotherapeutics and Research Center for Systems Glycobiology.
By utilizing the above activities, we plan to develop an international COE in medical science based on the Osaka university motto “ Live locally live globally” in collaboration with local medical facilities and industries. In some specific programs, we will support students in an MD/PhD program, graduate students, the introduction of specially recognized assistant and associate professorships, an endowed professorship with an excellent scientific achievement named after Dr. Ogata Koan, support the A-IMBIN- AMBO International Training Course for young scientists from Asian and Oceanic countries and also support for day care centers for children.
Through the above plans, we will be able to establish a unique COE in medical science.