After 4 years of clinical training as a cardiology resident and fellow at Kyoto University, I had postdoc training in mouse genetics, embryology and stem cell biology at Kyoto University, Vanderbilt University, UCSD and Harvard University. Since 2008, I have started my own lab at UCLA as an Assistant Professor in tenure track.
The fact that human heart is the least regenerative of tissues brought me into the realm of developmental and stem cell biology. My research focuses on cardiac diseases and development during my career. Since the graduate training, I have been using genetically modified mice, mouse ES cells and human ES cells as experimental models. Inspired by clinical observations, I attempt to open a unique field in cardio-vasculo-hematopoietic researches. I have demonstrated that cardiac, smooth muscle and endocardial cells can arise from common progenitors during early embryogenesis (Cell, 2006; JMCC 2011). Furthermore, we have recently been able to demonstrate the hemogenic and cardiogenic activity of the endocardium (Cell, 2012; another manuscript in revision). These findings raise the idea of the heart as a hemogenic organ. This novel concept will lead to the understanding of the mechanisms of how the cardiac-vasculo-hematopoietic cells diverge and interact during the development of the circulatory system. I wish to extend it into regenerative and disease context.