Dr. Kenichi Okamoto < Back Next >
WHO: Principal Investigator
WHAT: Dr. Okamoto’s research focuses on understanding the molecular mechanisms that control brain functions such as learning and memory. His research is at the cutting edge of neurobiology and microscopy combined with modern laser optics, and his approach to developing specific therapeutics for brain diseases is globally unique.
Dr. Okamoto has already developed a novel technique and instrument to visualize very specific molecular protein functions in the brain; this technique is being used by scientists around the world to examine and understand the behaviours of proteins tied to a variety of brain diseases, especially Alzheimer’s.
Dr. Okamoto is developing a complementary tool that will enable him to manipulate specific protein functions temporally and spatially using laser optics techniques. This is significant because the spatiotemporal manipulation of disease-related proteins has the potential to change the course of disease progression and health outcomes. In fact, the manipulation of disease-related molecular protein function is key to advancing the development of specific, targeted and personalized therapeutics.
Dr. Okamoto’s work will entail designing and building an original microscope that will be equipped with infrared lasers. These lasers will allow for simultaneous visualization and manipulation of a specific protein in real time.
WHY: In addition to contributing to the growing body of knowledge concerning brain diseases, Dr. Okamoto’s research and techniques can eventually be applied more broadly to the majority of human diseases. Since many diseases are caused by a specific molecular (dys)function or interaction at the most basic cellular level, Dr. Okamoto’s discoveries will have the potential to inform the design-targeted therapies for everything from cancer to cardiovascular disease.
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