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The Research Center for GLOBAL and LOCAL Infectious Diseases(RCGLID) was established by Oita University on October 1, 2021 as Oita University’s first jointly-use research facility to strategically promote the strengthening of nation-wide research on infectious diseases.

The center has four research divisions which promotes advanced research on infectious diseases by bringing together faculty members engaged in international infectious disease research and the results of research accumulated at the university. At the same time, we plan to actively develop new drugs in collaboration with medical school-related courses.

In particular, one of the unique features of this center conducts research in the area of overseas travel medicine and microbial genome analysis from a global perspective, and it is able to conduct both clinical and basic researches including drug discovery. As far we know it will be the first model case in Japan,

As one of the plans for this center is to strengthen research capabilities, the center hosts a joint research competition (open call for joint research between researchers from outside the university and those from our center) to attract researchers from all over Japan to our center, thereby promoting research on infectious diseases under an all-Japan system and fostering young researchers.

In the future, the center aims to become a network-type joint-use and joint-research center by promoting collaboration with related universities in the Kyushu area, taking advantage of its unique features of “emerging and reemerging viral and bacterial infections” and “drug discovery”.

GREETING

In recent years, the effects of globalization and global warming have led to outbreaks of unknown emerging infectious diseases that have spread across the national and prefectural borders without distinguishing between developed and developing countries, and have become a global threat. The global spread of new coronavirus infections is a case in point. In order to confront these threats, it is essential not only to develop advanced medical and life sciences but also to promote the concept of “One Health”, the idea which recognizes that infectious diseases are linked to humans as well as animals and the environment. It is also essential to disseminate accurate knowledge of basic hygiene and infectious diseases. In particular, although re-emerging infectious diseases that have become controllable in developed countries are still insufficiently controlled in developing countries, and there is always the possibility of re-emerging from developing countries to developed countries. On the other hand, the emergence of drug-resistant strains of bacteria is another important issue of the global spread of infectious diseases that pose a new threat with the progress of treatment and drugs.
According to the government’s plan for Promotion of Medical Research and Development (decided by the Headquarters for Healthcare Policy in March 2020), in the field of infectious diseases, researches are being promoted on the following themes: share information on various pathogens in Japan and overseas including genome information, promote international risk assessment for infectious diseases, conduct research and development of diagnostics, therapeutics, vaccines for infectious diseases including new viruses such as new coronaviruses, and establish a research and development platform that can respond quickly to emerging infectious disease.
As the only national university located in Oita Prefecture, our university has declared its intention to enhance its role from a “Center of Community” to an ”Intelligence Hub”. One of the most important measures to achieve this goal is the promotion of international infectious disease research. As the Oita university’s first jointly-use research facility to strategically promote the strengthening of nationwide research on infectious diseases, the “ Research Center for GLOBAL and LOCAL Infectious Diseases “ was established on October 1, 2021.
At this center, we will elucidate the microbial infections such as virology and bacteriology, analyze their genomic information, and comprehensively elucidate the pathophysiology of infections based on the findings obtained from them. We seamlessly link a series of areas from basic research to clinical practice, including drug discovery (prevention, therapeutic drug development, and clinical trials), which is one of our strengths. In addition, we will carry out comprehensive infectious disease research with an eye on global and local infectious diseases.
Furthermore, by utilizing the experience gained through international joint research and social implementation programs such as Science and Technology Research Partnership for Sustainable Development (SATREPS), we are determined to contribute to the safety and security of the region by developing a world-class jointly-use and joint-research system by cooperating with the government, local communities, and other organizations.

RESEARCH DEPARTMENT

Division of Travel Medicine and Health

From the perspective of contributing to the invasion of infectious diseases across national borders and its epidemics, we aim to practice research and medical care related to travel medicine, vaccination, and international health care. Furthermore, in order to respond to the spread of acute emerging infectious diseases and the potential risk of spread of chronic infectious diseases, we promote international research on infectious diseases, and collaborate between clinical and basic researches in overseas infectious disease-endemic areas.

Staff

Professor Akira Nishizono
Virology,Bacteriology,Infectious disease epidemiology
Professor Masayuki Ohta
Hepatobiliary and pancreas surgery, Portal hypertension, Bariatric surgery
Professor Kazufumi Hiramatsu
Infectious diseases,Infection control ,Respiratory medicine and Infectious diseases
Associate Professor Kosaku Komiya
Respiratory medicine,Respiratory infections

Division of One Health

From the perspective of “one health”, which considers infectious diseases not only with humans but also with animals and the environment, we plan to quickly detect genomic information of infectious microorganisms from patients, animals, and the environment and feeds this information back to clinical practice in the form of test data. Furthermore, we aim to promote epidemiological surveys of emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases as international collaborative research using an international laboratory network.

Staff

Professor Akira Nishizono
Virology,Bacteriology,Infectious disease epidemiology
Assistant Professor Takaaki Yahiro
Virology, Clinical Genome Analysis

Division of Pathophysiology

The Division of Pathogenesis of Infectious Diseases promotes research on the pathogenesis of infectious diseases based on a new molecular basis through the further development of research in bacteriology, virology, parasitology, and infectious immunology that has been conducted at our university and through joint research with other universities. Furthermore, drug discovery research for infectious diseases is conducted based on the knowledge obtained from basic research for the diagnosis and pathogenesis of emerging and re-emerging infectious pathogens.

Staff

Professor Naoto Uemura
Clinical pharmacology,Pharmacotherapeutics, Clinical efficacy evaluation,Early clinical development
Professor Takashi Kobayashi
Immunology,Signal transduction,Parasitology
Professor Masao Ogata
Hematology,Hematopoietic stem cell transplantation,Viral infection
Professor Emi Hifumi
Biotechnology,Antibody engineering
Associate Professor Hidekatsu Iha
Molecular oncology,Immunobiology

Division of Genome-wide Microbiology

In this division, we make full use of next-generation sequencers, portable sequencers to analyze the entire genome of target bacteria, viruses, and parasites from specimens obtained from the infected prefecture or endemic areas around the world. In particular, by developing genome-wide association studies on the microbial side, we contribute to the discovery of unknown pathogenic factors and unknown antibacterial resistance factors, as well as the development of new therapeutic methods.

Staff

Professor Yosio Yamaoka
Gastrointestinal infection,Molecular epidemiology
Professor Hitomi Mimuro
Bacterial Infection Biology
Assistant Professor Tomohiro Miyoshi
Bacteriology,Molecular biology,Structural biology

FEATURES

Rabies research

Being the only medical rabies research facility in Japan, we aim to develop effective vaccines and antiviral drugs based on the results of basic research. Furthermore, based on the long track record of academic exchanges between Oita University and the Republic of The Philippines, we also work to eradicate rabies, an incurable infectious disease, from the Philippines through the “Science and Technology Cooperation Program on Global Challenges (SATREPS)” project sponsored by JICA and AMED. Using the knowledge gained from this project, we conduct zoonosis research for animal rabies control and human rabies prevention and treatment from the perspective of “One Health” and NTDs control, as well as conducting research commissioned by WHO and the Global Alliance for Rabies Control (GARC).

Helicobacter pylori research

Oita University has been conducting molecular epidemiological research on H. pylori in developing countries for many years, and has actually conducted endoscopic examinations on-site in 14 countries, and has the world’s largest H. pylori bank with more than 10,000 strains.
Using next-generation sequencing of the H. pylori full genome, we explore novel virulence factors using genome-wide association studies (GWAS) and using the same method to analyze novel antimicrobial resistance gene mutations. Functional analysis of candidate genes is conducted using organoids. In addition, we plan to develop gastric cancer eradication measures (primary and secondary prevention measures) in Bhutan based on clinical epidemiology in developing countries, which was adopted as a project of the Science and Technology Cooperation Program on Global Challenges (SATREPS) in 2021.

Drug discovery research for infectious diseases

The Translational Chemical Biology (TCB) Laboratory in the Department of Clinical Pharmacology plays a central role in the development of inhibitors by drug discovery targeting various viral non-structural proteins and has already succeeded in identifying candidate drugs for the treatment of rabies (Patent No. 6679059) and is applied to other therapeutic agents for viral infections.

Research and medical activities related to travel medicine

As a medical professional certified by the Japan Society of Travel and Health, we conduct research rooted in outpatient travel medicine. It has been involved in clinical research in Japan and overseas on vaccines required for overseas travel, such as the new coronavirus vaccine, consultations with returnees, preparation of guidelines, and introduction of new vaccines in Japan. It has also been involved in infectious disease control for international students as a health care provider at Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University (APU) in Beppu City.

Infectious immunology research

We conduct research on immune responses during infection with emerging infectious disease pathogens, analysis of aggravation mechanisms, and mosquito-borne infections by using genetically modified mice.

Research on new coronavirus

By analyzing the viral genome of the new coronavirus, we have started epidemiological research for early detection of the appearance of mutant strain in collaboration with the inspection departments of municipalities (Oita City, Oita Prefectural Institute of Health and Environment).

Support for multi-hazard

The threats to Oita Prefecture have become increasingly diverse, with heavy rains, earthquakes, and the spread of infectious diseases, and it has become an urgent issue to establish a crisis management system that can cope with complex disasters, rather than the single disaster countermeasures that have been used in the past. In cooperation with the Center for Education and Research of Disaster Risk Reduction and Redesign (CERD) and the Advanced Trauma, Emergency and Critical Care Center (ATEC3), we aim to build a crisis management system that can cope with multiple hazards and implement it in society, as well as support disaster-stricken areas and secure medical systems in disaster-stricken areas and infectious disease epidemic areas.