Kyushu University Academic Staff Educational and Research Activities Database
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Hiroyuki Sasaki Last modified date:2018.06.27

Graduate School
Undergraduate School
Other Organization
Administration Post
Vice President
Dean of the Institute for Advanced Study

Academic Degree
Doctor of Medical Science (MD, PhD)
Country of degree conferring institution (Overseas)
Field of Specialization
Molecular Biology, Human Genetics
Total Priod of education and research career in the foreign country
Outline Activities
Sasaki's research interest is epigenetics and epigenomics in mammals. Epigenetics refers to the regulation of gene activity based on modifications of chromatin: it stably maintains cellular identity (differentiation state) and serves as a cell memory. The epigenetic profile of a cell is called the epigenome, and characterization of the epigenomes of various cells and their regulation is thought to be the key to understanding of cell reprogramming and cancer formation. Sasaki investigates the regulatory mechanisms of the epigenome in mammals and their relevance to development, disease, phenotypic variation and evolution. He particularly focuses on genomic imprinting, which is a good model system to study epigenomic regulation in mammals. He was a program leader of a Grant-in Aid for Scientific Research on Priority Areas supported by the MEXT (2007-2012) and a PI of a CREST project supported by the JST and AMED (2013-2018). He now leads a Specially Promoted Research supported by JSPS (2018-). Sasaki teaches molecular biology, genetics, and epigenetics and supervise many graduate students. He was on newspapers and TV programs many times. He was awarded a Japanese Society of Human Genetics Award and a Japanese Society of Genetics Kihara Award. He also received a Purple Ribbon Medal of honor in 2015.
Research Interests
  • Epigenomics in Mammals
    keyword : epigenetics、genomic imprinting、small RNA
Current and Past Project
  • Grant-in-Aid for Scientific Research on Innovative Areas by MEXT, 2013.7~2018.3
  • Epigenome analysis of cells in the placenta and endometrium forming the fetal-maternal interface, Strategic Basic Research Programs (CREST) supported by Japan Science and Technology Agency, 2012.10~2018.3
  • Grant-in-Aid for Scientific Research on Priority Areas by MEXT, 2007.10~2013.3
Academic Activities
1. Stunnenberg, H.G., The International Human Epigenome Consortium, Hirst, M., The International Human Epigenome Consortium: a blueprint for scientific collaboration and discovery., Cell 167, 1145-1149, 2016.11, 国際ヒトエピゲノムコンソーシアム(International Human Epigenome Consortium, IHEC)の研究成果の概要と該当する論の文リストを総説の共著者として発表した。佐々木は日本を代表して当該コンソーシアムの研究者かつ国際運営委員として活動しており、本総説では研究成果の取りまとめに協力した。.
1. Watanabe, T., Tomizawa, S., Mitsuya, K., Totoki, Y., Yamamoto, Y., Kuramochi-Miyagawa, S., Iida, N., Hoki, Y., Murphy, P.J., Toyoda, A., Gotoh, K., Hiura, H., Arima, T., Fujiyama, A., Sado, T., Shibata, T., Nakano, T., Lin, H., Ichiyanagi, K., Soloway, P.D. & Sasaki, H., Role for piRNAs and non-coding RNA in de novo DNA methylation of the imprinted mouse Rasgrf1 locus., Science 332, 848-852, 2011.05, ゲノムインプリンティングは両親由来の対立遺伝子のうち一方だけが発現する現象で、哺乳類の正常発生に必須であり、その異常は奇形症候群や腫瘍などを起こす。しかしながら生殖細胞においてどのような機構で特定の遺伝子が選ばれインプリントされるのか分かっていない。本研究ではレトロトランスポゾンを抑制するPIWI-interacting RNA (piRNA)の経路が、マウスのインプリント遺伝子Rasgrf1のDNAメチル化(=インプリント)に必須であることを見つけた。この遺伝子は雄の生殖細胞においてメチル化されるが、別の染色体上のレトロトランスポゾン配列から産成されるpiRNAがRasgrf1領域から転写される非コードRNAと相互作用すること、これら2種類のRNAのいずれを消失してもRasgrf1のメチル化が生じないことを明らかにした。これらの結果をもとにpiRNAが非コードRNAとの相互作用を介してメチル化酵素を特定の配列へリクルートするモデルを提唱した。.
1. Sasaki, H., Inoue, K., Fukuda, K., Glinka, M., Ichiyanagi, K., Switching from post-transcriptional to transcriptional silencing of retrotransposons during male germ-cell development, The 4th Cold Spring Harbor Asia conference on Chromatin, Epigenetics and Transcription, Suzhou, China, 2016.05.
2. Hiroyuki Sasaki, Dynamic changes in DNA methylation and gene expression in spermatogonial stem cell differentiation in neonatal mouse testis, Epigenetics, chromatine & transcription, Cold Spring Harbor Conferences Asia, Suzhou, China, 2014.05.
3. Hiroyuki Sasaki, Epigenetic events in mammalian germ-cell development, Gordon Research Conference on Germinal Stem Cell Biology, Hong Kong, 2013.07.
4. Gordon Research Conference on Epigenetics: Mechanisms, Development and Disease.
5. Sasaki, H., Watanabe, T, Role for PIWI-interacting RNA and a novel noncoding RNA in de novo DNA methylation of the imprinted Rasgrf1 locus in the mouse germline, 2010 Cold Spring Harbor Asia Conference on Epigenetics, Chromatin and Transcription, Suzhou, China, 2010.05.
Membership in Academic Society
  • The Japanese Society for Epigenetics
  • The Japan Society of Human Genetics
  • The Molecular Biology Society of Japan
  • The Genetics Society of Japan
  • Japan Society for Reproductive Regeneration
  • Society of Evolutionary Studies, Japan
Educational Activities
I give lectures for classes of the Graduate School of Medical Sciences and serve as a thesis adviser for master and doctor course students. I also give lectures for undergraduate classes of the Department of Biomedical Science, School of Medicine, and serve as a thesis adviser for students who work for a bachelor degree. Outside of Kyushu University, I gave lectures as an adjunct professor or a part-time lecturer in the following institutions: Graduate University for Advanced Studies, University of Tokyo, Kyoto University, Osaka University , Hokkaido University, Tokyo Institute of Technology, Ochanomizu University, Kanazawa University, Yamanashi University, Shizuoka University, Nara Institute of Science and Technology, Shimane University, Tokushima University, University of Occupational and Environmental Health, Kumamoto University, Kagoshima University, Gunma University, Yokohama City University, Kitasato University, and Sojo University.