Yuki Yoshida

Using yeast and mammalian cells, I have analyzed the cell-division cycle, lifespan, aging and other biological phenomena with regard to how living things acquire new robustness as a survival strategy. My ambition has been to control cell responses, understand why cells become diseased, and develop treatments for these diseases. I am currently researching the power of cells, and to that research I am hoping to add an investigation into the potential medical benefits of the things we eat.
People are extremely interested in lifespan, aging and so on, and research involving yeast has hinted that calorie restriction can allow us to live longer lives, but there is still so much we have yet to figure out. I want to take research into long life beyond the laboratory and think about the issue in terms of the foods we eat.
Yeast creates so many fermented foods and drinks—sake, miso, soy sauce, bread—which help to maintain the good bacteria in our gut flora, keep our intestines in good working order, add more good bacteria that boost our immune system, and in general keep us in good health. Moreover, certain plants that have long been eaten as food or medicine are now gaining fresh attention for their ability to supply our intestines with new nutrients. A lot of things are happening—we are seeing big changes in nutrition, including new trends in cultivation methods and new breeds of plants. I myself am turning my attention to traditional foods such as fermented foods, investigating ways we can make even better use of food, including as something with medicinal, healing power.

[keywords]
Molecular Biology / Molecular Medicine / Systems Biology / Food Chemistry

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At the Mitsubishi Kagaku Institute of Life Sciences, Yoshida was involved in molecular biology research on the molecular genetics of budding yeast. At the Atomic Bomb Disease Institute of Nagasaki University, where she received her degree, she did work in radiation biology and medical biochemistry. During later research into autoimmune diseases such as allergies, she had the realization that research should address the disease as a system, and not just focus on individual genes. This led her to systems biology, and she joined the Kitano Symbiotic Systems Project where she became involved in robustness analysis of eukaryotic cells, her current topic. Yoshida seeks to understand eukaryotic cells from a systems perspective in order to shed light on disease, treatments and drug development. She is also interested in the connections between food and health, and hopes her research will have a positive influence on people's lifestyles.

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