Medical Research Institute - Department of Life ScienceDivision of Molecular and Genetic Biology



 Cells with organ-specific differentiation develop specific lysosome-related organelles, such as melanosomes in melanocytes, dense granules in platelets, and lamellar bodies in alveolar epithelial cells. The formation of these intracellular organelles requires several traffic proteins. Among them, Rab proteins consisting of approximately 60 members finely regulate intracellular transport. A genetic abnormality in one of these proteins causes multi-organ disease. Our research division aims to discover the mechanism of a genetic disease by investigating at the multi-step levels, i.e., genes, molecules, cells, and organs, and to treat the disease by a gene transfer method.
 Psychiatric disorders, such as schizophrenia, anxiety disorder, bipolar disorder, depression, and autism spectrum disorder, are common and complex disorders with lifetime morbidity rates of 1-20% and are characterized by clinical and genetic heterogeneity. High rates of heritability of approximately 40-85% were estimated. Although brain dysfunctions could contribute to the pathogenesis of these psychiatric disorders, it is still unclear how genes affect the pathogenesis through brain dysfunction. In this research field, we perform Imaging Genetics, which combines neuroimaging and genetic researches, and Cognitive Genetics, which combines neurocognitive and genetic researches to reveal the pathogenesis of these psychiatric disorders, and to develop novel techniques for diagnosis and treatment.

Contact Information

TEL: 076-286-2211 (内)7212 / FAX: / Email:



  • KAZUHIRO Osanai

Senior Assistant Professor (Neuropsychiatry)

  • OHI Kazutaka

Research Achievements

Research Activities

  • Ohi K, Shimada T, Nemoto K, Kataoka Y, Yasuyama T, Kimura K, Okubo H, Uehara T, Kawasaki Y. Cognitive clustering related to schizophrenia patients, their first-degree relatives and healthy subjects is associated with anterior cingulate cortex volumes. Neuroimage Clin. 16:248-256, 2017.
  • Ohi K, Shimada T, Yasuyama T, Kimura K, Uehara T, Kawasaki Y. Spatial and temporal expression patterns of genes around nine neuroticism-associated loci. Prog Neuropsychopharmacol Biol Psychiatry. 77:164-171, 2017.
  • Osanai K, Nakase K, Sakuma T, Nishiki K, Nojiri M, Kato R, Saito M, Fujimoto Y, Mizuno S, Toga H. Exogenous gene transfer of Rab38 small GTPase ameliorates aberrant lung surfactant homeostasis in Ruby rats. Respir Res. 18:70, 2017. doi: 10.1186/s12931-017-0549-2.
  • Zhou M, Osanai K, Kobayashi M, Oikawa T, Nakagawa K, Mizuno S, Muraki Y, Toga H. Adenovector-mediated gene transfer of lysophosphatidylcholine acyltransferase 1 attenuates oleic acid-induced acute lung injury in rats. Crit Care Med. 2014 42):e716-24, 2014.
  • Osanai K, Higuchi J, Oikawa R, Kobayashi M, Tsuchihara K, Iguchi M, Huang J, Voelker DR, Toga H. Altered lung surfactant system in a Rab38-deficient rat model of Hermansky-Pudlak syndrome. Am J Physiol Lung Cell Mol Physiol. 298:L243-51, 2010.

External Research Funding

  • Grant-in-Aid for Scientific Research (C) 2018~2021
    Title: Lung surfactant metabolism in alveolar type II cells in amiodarone-induced interstitial pneumonia
    Chief Researcher: Kazuhiro Osanai
  • Grant from the Uehara Memorial Foundation 2017
    Title: Comprehensive intermediate phenotypes analysis in first-degree relatives of schizophrenia patients
    Chief Researcher: Kazutaka Ohi
  • Grant-in-Aid for Young Scientists (B) 2016~2017
    Title: Comprehensive intermediate phenotypes analysis in first-degree siblings of schizophrenia patients
    Chief Researcher: Kazutaka Ohi
  • Grant-in-Aid for Scientific Research (C) 2014~2017
    Title: Analysis of lysophospholipids and effect of the gene transfer of lysophospholipid acyltransferase in acute lung injury
    Chief Researcher: Kazuhiro Osanai
  • Grant-in-Aid for Scientific Research (C) 2010~2012
    Title: Analysis of pathogenesis of interstitial pneumonia induced by abnormal transport of lung surfactant
    Chief Researcher: Kazuhiro Osanai