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The goal of our research is to bring revolutionary progress to life science through the creation of advanced optical and information technologies. The keywords of our research are “light”, “information”, and “life”. We will approach various issues in the life sciences by refining our unique technologies that integrate optical and information technologies. In addition, we aim to return the results of our research to society through practical application and commercialization.

 In order to achieve the above goals, we aim to achieve significant results through teamwork by having each member become a specialist in his or her own field, and by demonstrating synergy with members in other fields.

Four policies of the laboratory


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Ultrafast 3D microscopy

We live in a four-dimensional world (3D space + 1D time), and biological phenomena also occur in the 4D world. However, in the past, due to technical limitations, we could only observe 4D life phenomena by “cutting” them in 2D using microscopes and infer the events in the 4D world from these observations. Recently, microscopes that can capture 4D life phenomena in 4D have been introduced, but it is technically difficult to obtain 3D spatial information at high speed, and 1D (time) information is inevitably sacrificed. We have overcome this limitation by combining our expertise in laser technology (hardware) and deep learning (software) to develop an ultrafast 3D fluorescence microscope capable of capturing images at 1000 volumes per second.

This technology is expected to be a revolutionary technology to elucidate various life phenomena. For example, real-time recording of brain neural activity (“reading” thoughts), observation of high-speed biological phenomena on the millisecond scale (membrane potential, heartbeat), and large-scale screening of cell samples. We are also working on the application of these developed technologies.

Ultrafast 3D microscope

Future Plans

We will use our research on ultrafast 3D fluorescence microscopy as a starting point for further development in a variety of fields.

  • In combination with the technology to control the activity of nerve cells with light (optogenetics), we will not only observe a brain nervous system but also create the technology to control it freely.
  • We will develop a “smart” microscope with a smart imaging method that circumvents the explosive increase in data volume as imaging speed increases, and fully utilize AI.
  • We will sequentially apply new technologies to a variety of biological samples to clarify biological phenomena on various scales, from intracellular dynamics to the observation of large-scale biological samples such as the brains of higher organisms.
  • Through collaboration with companies and the establishment of start-ups, we will put the developed technologies to practical use.
  • We will also boldly take on the challenge of completely new ideas that emerge from free discussions among members in various fields of expertise.

Examples of research equipment

Workstations for deep learning, various laser light sources (ultrashort pulse lasers, continuous wave lasers, etc.), spatial light modulators, clean benches, incubators, deep freezers, etc.

Knowledge and technologies

Optical technology

  • Design (mechanical design, optical design), construction, and operation of optical microscopes
  • Design (mechanical design, optical design), construction, and operation of laser optical systems
  • Lightwave control by spatial light modulator

Information technology

  • Image processing and analysis by deep learning
  • Real-time data processing using FPGA, etc.
  • Experimental data analysis using home-made programs (LabVIEW, Python, MATLAB, etc.)

Handling biological samples

  • Handling of cultured cells
  • Handling of model organisms (nematodes, zebrafish, etc.)
  • Electrophysiological techniques (patch clamp method, etc.)


Deep learning / Laser microscopy / Holography / Real-time data processing / Optogenetics / Neural networks / Electrophysiology / Practical application and commercialization of research results


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  • Professor: Hideharu Mikami
  • Associate Professor: Atsushi Shibukawa

*Other faculty members in the laboratory is presented in the laboratory website.


Research Institute for Electronic Science, Hokkaido University
Kita 21 Nishi 10, Kita-ku, Sapporo, 001-0021, Japan
Prof. Hideharu Mikami
Phone: +81-11-706-9362, E-mail: