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In our laboratory, the spatiotemporal behaviors of cell structures and cell functions are investigated from physics and information science points of view.

Recent studies have revealed that cell functions are strongly associated with mechanical properties of cells. To clarify the detailed relationship between cell structure and cell function, we investigate how cells feel forces and behave in response to external forces by using bio-nanotechnology such as scanning probe microscopy and related techniques. Especially, we are interested in how and why such a cell physical property has a large cell-to-cell variation, so that the degree of cell heterogeneities is precisely measured. Elucidation of the origin of cell-to-cell variability is clue to exploring what is life, e.g., how cells


Major current research themes are:

  1. Single cell diagnostics to distinguish between normal and abnormal cells
  2. Characterization of physical properties of cell sheets for tissue engineering
  3. Quantification of transfer functions for cell-cell communication and intracellular communication and its application to integrated cell devices
  4. Controlling cell structure, cell function and cell migration using nanolithography techniques
  5. High precision and high speed measurements of cells by scanning probe microscopy

By exploiting atomic force microscopy, optical measurement techniques and microfabrication techniques, physical properties of cells as a material, from single cells to tissue, are investigated.

Knowledge and technologies

Technologies and knowledge necessary for bionanotechnology

  • Cell culture
  • Optical microscopic techniques
  • Scanning probe microscopy (atomic force microscopy, ionic conductance microscopy, etc.)
  • Microfabrication techniques (nanolithography)

Data analysis/device control

  • MATLAB and Igor are used to analyze and estimate experimental data. LabVIEW is used to control measurement device and to analyze data.
  • Analog circuits and FPGA are used to develop a digital-controlled nanometrological system.


Bionanotechnology, cell engineering, biophysics, cell diagnostics, cell communication,, cell sheet, cell mechanics, cell measurement, tissue engineering, atomic force microscopy, scanning probe microscopy, optical microscopy, optical measurement technology


  • Professor: Takaharu Okajima

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Address: Graduate School of Information Science and Technology, Hokkaido University
Kita 14-jo, Nishi 9-chome, Kita-ku, Sapporo, 060-0814
Tel.: 011-706-7698

*Contact by e-mail: Takaharu Okajima (