Research First !

Thank you for visiting the website of our department.

The Department of Microbiology, Graduate School of Medical Sciences, Kumamoto University is working to analyze

the molecular pathogenesis of infectious diseases and cancer from a new perspective based on sulfur metabolism,

as well as to develop new treatments for these diseases.

What's New?

  • 2023/05/28 [Publications]  Publication site has been up-dated.
  • 2023/05/26 [Award] Prof. Tsutsuki and Mr. Azizur, a graduate student, won the Poster Award at the 76th Annual Meeting of the Society for Free Radical Research JAPAN held in Kobe on May 23 and 24, 2023. <link>
  • 2023/04/24 [Workshop] The Microbiology Workshop sponsored by our laboratory was held (2023 April 21, 22). <link>
  • 2022/12/10 [Original Article] A paper with Dr. Waliul MD Islam, Research Associate, as the first author, has been published in ACS Applied Bio Materials ! It is co-authored with Prof. Niidome of the Faculty of Advanced Science and Technology. <link>
  • 2022/12/06 [Special Lecture]  Prof. Takaaki Akaike (Tohoku University) came to give a special lecture on microbiology for 2nd year medical students (Nov. 24). Click here for details.
  • 2022/12/03 [Special Lecture] Prof. Kiyoshi Kita (Nagasaki University) came to give a special lecture on microbiology for 2nd year medical students (Nov. 17). Click here for details.
  • 2022/12/02 [Visiting Lab] Prof. Albert van der Vliet from University of Vermont, USA, visited us for a seminar and discussion with lab members (Nov. 24, 25). Click here for details.
  • 2022/12/01 [Lecture] Prof. Takashi Shichita of Tokyo Metropolitan Institute of Medical Science gave a lecture on Nov. 16. Click here for details.
  • 2022/11/29 [Original Article] A paper with Prof. Monde of the Virus Team as the first author has been published in J Virol. ! <link>
  • 2022/11/29 [Review Article] A review article with Dr. Waliul MD Islam, Research Associate, as the first author, has been published in J Personalized Medicine ! It is co-authored with Prof. Niidome of the Faculty of Advanced Science and Technology. <link>
  • 2022/11/29 [Co-authored article] An article by  Prof. Moroishi, Department of Cell Signaling and Metabolic Medicine, and  Prof. Yamane, Department of Gastroenterological Surgery was published in J Clin Invest Insight ! Prof. Sawa is also a co-author. <link>
  • 2022/11/08 [Award] At the 10th Biennial Meeting of the Society for Free Radical Research-Asia (SFRR-Asia) held at Seoul National University, Korea, November 4-6, 2022, Dr. Zhang received the Travel Award and Mr. Toyomoto, a graduate student, received the Young Investigator Award. Congratulations! <link>
  • 2022/11/08 [Award] At the 12th International Conference on the Biology, Chemistry, and Therapeutic Applications of Nitric Oxide held at Tohoku University on October 29~30, 2022, Dr. Zhang and Dr. Waliul received the Young Investigator Award (YIA). Also, Dr. Waliul and graduate students, Mr. Azizur and Ms. Li, received the Travel Award. Congratulations! <link>
  • 2022/10/20 [Award] Mr. Heng Zhong, a graduate student, was awarded a scholarship from the Higo Medical Education Promotion Foundation. Congratulations!
  • 2022/10/14 [Award] Dr. Waliul MD Islam received the "JCA Young Researcher Poster Award" at the 81st Annual Meeting of the Japanese Cancer Association (JCA). Congratulations! <link>
  • 2022/10/07 [Activity] The video introducing our laboratory's activities (in Japanese) has been uploaded to Kumamoto University's Youtube channel. <link> Please also see the introduction of other laboratories. <link>
  • 2022/10/06  [Original Article] Prof. Tsutsuki first authored paper has been published in STAR Protocols.  <link>
We're looking for graduate students to work with us on our research!
Please feel free to contact us anytime if you are interested. Please refer to the link (in Japanese) for the entrance examination for the 2023 academic year. <link>


The origin of medical education in Kumamoto is said to be the "Saishunkan Medical Dormitory" established by Shigeken Hosokawa, the lord of the Higo domain, in 1756. Furthermore, Shibasaburo Kitasato, who is known as the father of bacteriology in Japan, studied under a Dutch doctor, Dr. Mansfeldt, as a medical student at the "Kojo Medical School" established by the Kumamoto domain in 1870.

The Department of Microbiology was established in 1907, shortly after the private Kumamoto Medical School, the predecessor of Kumamoto University School of Medicine, was approved as a medical school.

Since the inauguration of the first Professor Hidekazu Nakajima, the following professors have been appointed: the 2nd Professor Toyokichi Ohtahara (Kumamoto Medical College), the 3rd Professor Tokichi Rokutanda (National Kumamoto University School of Medicine), the 4th Professor Yorio Hinuma (National Kumamoto University School of Medicine), the 5th Professor Hiroshi Maeda (moved to National University Corporation), the 6th Professor Takaaki Akaike (Kumamoto University Graduate School of Medicine and Pharmaceutical Sciences, Department of Microbiology; currently Tohoku University), and the current Professor Tomoaki Sawa (Department of Microbiology, Kumamoto University Graduate School of Life Sciences), have taken over the Department of Microbiology and have a history of more than 100 years.

Our department has produced many researchers and educators who have led the field of infectious diseases not only in Japan but also in the world.

Inheriting this illustrious tradition, since 2014, under the leadership of Professor Tomohiro Sawa, we have been conducting research on the molecular pathogenesis of infectious diseases, immunity, and cancer from the new perspective of sulfur metabolism, while at the same time providing undergraduate and graduate education for the development of outstanding human resources.


In our laboratory, we are conducting basic research to understand the mechanisms of infectious diseases caused by bacteria and viruses at the molecular level, and to obtain knowledge that can be applied to effective prevention, diagnosis, and treatment. In particular, we are studying the stress response mechanisms of pathogens and host cells in the field of infection using the latest analytical techniques. We are currently working on the following research projects.


I. Elucidation of Sulfur Metabolism and Antioxidant Defense Mechanism in Bacteria

II. Novel Metallo-β-Lactamase Inhibitors

III. Analysis of The Mechanism of Action of Enterohemorrhagic Escherichia Coli Toxin (SubAB)

IV. Regulation of Innate Inflammation and Infectious Immunity by Reactive Sulfur Species.

Ⅴ.    Elucidation of The Antiviral Effects of Reactive Sulfur Species

VI.   Analysis of the intracellular invasion mechanism of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV-1)

VII. Elucidation of the mechanism of HIV-1 acquisition of drug resistance.

VIII. Effects of Human Endogenous Viruses (HERVs) and HIV-1 on Infection and Replication

Ⅸ. Analysis of the interaction between envelope proteins and receptors of human T-cell leukemia virus (HTLV-1).

Ⅹ. Research on Polymeric Anticancer Agents

Ⅺ.Research on The Spread of Drug-Resistant Bacteria and Its Prevention

VI~IX are projects in Virus Research Section.

Please also see our research projects site.

Recent Publications

  • Islam, W., Tsutsuki, H., Ono, K., Harada, A., Shinozaki, K., Niidome, T., Fang, J., Sawa, T., Structural Determination of the Nanocomplex of Borate with Styrene–Maleic Acid Copolymer-Conjugated Glucosamine Used as a Multifunctional Anticancer Drug. ACS Appl. Bio Mater. 2022, December 8,
  • Islam, W., Niidome, T., Sawa, T., Enhanced Permeability and Retention Effect as a Ubiquitous and Epoch-Making Phenomenon for the Selective Drug Targeting of Solid Tumors. J. Pers. Med. 2022, 12(12), 1964;
  • Yamane, T., Kanamori, Y., Sawayama, H., Yano, H., Nita, A., Ohta, Y., Hinokuma, H., Maeda, A., Iwai, A., Matsumoto, T., Shimoda, M.,1 Niimura, M., Usuki, S., Yasuda-Yoshihara, N., Niwa, M., Baba, Y., Ishimoto, T., Komohara, Y., Sawa, T., Hirayama, T., Baba, H., Moroishi1, T., Iron accelerates Fusobacterium nucleatum–induced CCL8 expression in macrophages and is associated with colorectal cancer progression. JCI Insight. 2022;7(21):e156802.
  • Monde, K., Satou, Y., Goto, M., Uchiyama, Y., Ito, J., Kaitsuka, T., Terasawa, H., Monde, N., Yamaga, S., Matsusako, T.,    Wei, F-Y., Inoue, I.,  Tomizawa, K., Ono, A., Era, T., Sawa, T., Maeda, Y., Movements of Ancient Human Endogenous Retroviruses Detected in SOX2-Expressing Cells. J. Viol. 2022 May 11;96(9):e0035622. DOI:

Please also see our publication site.


Members in the Virus Research Section are here.

【Professional Staffs】

Tomohiro Sawa, PhD. (Professor)
Hiroyasu Tsutsuki, PhD. (Lecturer)
Katsuhiko Ono, PhD. (Assistant Professor)
Tianli Zhang/Chou Tachikara, PhD. (Research Fellow)

Waliul Islam, PhD. (Research Fellow)

Toshio Kasamatsu, PhD. (Research Associate)

【General Staffs】

Eriko Doi (Technical Assistant)


Azizur Rahman (D4)

Toya Toyomoto (D3)

Kei-ichi Yamamoto (D3)

Xiaoyan Li (D3)

Foysal Hossen (D3)

Chunyu Guo (D2)

Heng Zhong (D1)

Rika Fukushima (D1)

Ayaka Uegama (M1)

Kenki Miyao (Under Graduate, Medical School)

Shota Nishimura (Under Graduate, Medical School)

Naotake Hanada (Under Graduate, Medical School)

Ryo Tei (High School Student, Shibasaburo Program)