Research Profiles
Faculty research conducted in Graduate Schools

Chemical biology based on natural products chemistry

Summary: Marine organisms & Marine natural products library 
Marine organisms are known to be a rich source of small molecules with unique chemical skeletons and biological activity with pharmaceutical potential. We have established an extract library of marine organisms to provide extraordinary high HIT ratios for various screening systems. Once HIT samples are found, the active compounds can be rapidly isolated and identified using our isolation systems and structure elucidation techniques. The compounds are also useful as tools of epigenetic control for drug discovery.

Marine organism library for variousscreenings: > 1000 organisms 
Ocean areas: Japan, Federated States of Micronesia, Vietnam
Marine organisms: Marine sponges, Coelenterates, Echinoderms, Mollusks, Tunicates, Bryozoans
Marine natural products library: New and known compounds with various bioactivities

Applications: Marine natural products library
Drug discovery for cancer and infectious diseases:
Small molecules controlling epigenetics are anticipated to be potential leads for cancer treatments or regenerative therapy using ES or iPS cells.
Biological tools for the application of stem cell biology to regenerative therapy

Example: Azumamide E
We recently isolated and identified from a marine sponge new histone deacetylase (HDAC) inhibitors, azumamides, revealing their potential as probe molecules in stem cell chemical biology.

Nakao, Yoichi

Nakao, Yoichi



Assistant Professor, The University of Tokyo
Lecturer, The University of Tokyo
Associate Professor, Waseda University

Research Keywords

  • Chemical epigenetics
  • Marine natural products
  • Stem cell biology


  • Marine Invertebrates: Sponges. In Comprehensive Natural Products Chemistry II; Elsevier, Vol. 2 Moore, B. S.; Crews P. Eds.; in press.
  • Enzyme Inhibitors from Maine Invertebrates, J. Nat. Prod. 70, 689-710, (2007).
  • Evaluation of Antiangiogenic Activity of Azumamides by the in vitro Vascular Organization Model Using Mouse Induced Pluripotent Stem (iPS) Cells Bioorg. Med. Chem. Lett. 18, 2982-2984, (2008).

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