Research Projects

Our challenge is developing new chemical tools to study and manipulate biological systems that have not been tractable.

Project 3. Design and Molecular Evolution of Synthetic Oligomers for Manipulating Biological Functions

In biological systems, biopolymers, such as proteins and nucleic acids, interact with each other and those interactions play an important role for regulating biological functions. Manipulation of these interactions among biopolymers is an important research subject for biological research and drug development. Recently, mid-size molecules (500–2000 Da) attract attentions as molecules that allow modulation of the biomolecular interactions. Especially, peptides have been extensively studied as such molecules. However, regular peptides have multiple obstacles for biological applications such as low stability against proteases, possible immunogenicity and low membrane permeability. Our group is designing oligomers with properties that overcome these limitations of peptides. Our interest also lies in the development of molecular evolution technology for such synthetic oligomers. With the technology in hand, we are aiming at producing molecular probes that allows regulation of biological functions.

Ongoing project 1: Exploration of biostable synthetic oligomers that are mainly composed of D-amino acid residues
Ongoing project 2: Design of peptoid-type synthetic oligomers that are membrane permeable and exhibit high affinity to biopolymers