Frontier Research Institute for Interdisciplinary Sciences
Tohoku University


Tenure in FRIS 2020.2-2022.9

Joji Kusuyama

Assistant ProfessorLife and Environments

Mentor Information
Ryoichi Nagatomi (Graduate School of Biomedical Engineering)
Research Fields Endocrinological Metabology, Exercise Physiology, Oral Biology
Research Subjects
  • Mechanisms of the beneficial effects of maternal exercise on offspring health
  • Prevention of congenital diseases by environmental factors
  • Exploring and quantification of biomarkers for regulating placental function
Academic Society Membership The molecular biology society of Japan, American Diabetes Association, Japan association for oral biology
Research Outline  

My research focuses on the prevention of metabolic dysfunction and congenital diseases in the next generation. Recent studies showed that poor lifestyle in both mothers and fathers of reproductive age not only harms their health but also initiates a vicious cycle of metabolic dysfunction, propagating risk to offspring via epigenetic and metabolic mechanisms. I demonstrated that maternal exercise during pregnancy is a promising method as a “preemptive medical treatment” to prevent the transmission obesity and diabetes from the current generation to the next generation. I identified that placenta-derived proteins are important factors that transmit the beneficial effects of exercise to offspring. We are comprehensively analyzing; 1) boosting nutrients to enhance the benefits of maternal exercise, 2) maternal organs and mediators that activates exercise-placenta signaling axis, 3) physiological parameters that can quantify placental functions. My hypothesis is that the placenta is a transducer that conveys maternal information to their children. To prevent lifestyle-related diseases and congenital diseases in the next generation, I try to utilize placental function with the combination of molecular genetics, informatics, devices, and psychology in FRIS. I would like to translate my findings from highly specialized bench-side to daily life-side through the use of cutting-edge technology and clinical insights.

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