Emergent Bioengineering Materials Research Team

Principal Investigator

PI Name Yoshihiro Ito
Degree D.Eng.
Title Team Leader
Brief Resume
1987D.Eng., Kyoto University
1988Assistant Professor, Kyoto University
1996Associate Professor, Kyoto University
1997Associate Professor, Nara Institute of Science and Technology
1999Professor, University of Tokushima
2002Project Leader, Kanagawa Academy of Science and Technology
2004Chief Scientist, Nano Medical Engineering Laboratory, RIKEN (-present)
2013Team Leader, Emergent Bioengineering Materials Research Team, RIKEN Center for Emergent Matter Science (-present)


Advanced materials composed of biological and artificial components are synthesized for development of environmentally friendly energy collection and conversion systems. By combination of organic synthetic chemistry, polymer chemistry, and biotechnology, novel synthesis method will be established and materials using biological and artificial elements will be achieved by their chemical fabrication, and the characterization of the interfaces between biological and artificial elements for highly efficient energy collection and conversion or biological functions. Especially our team will establish a new methodology, a chemically extended molecular evolutionary engineering as an “Emergent Chemistry” to create a specific ally functionalized polymer by screening of random sequence of polymer library containing functional monomers.

Research Fields

Bioengineering, Organic Chemistry, Materials Sciences


Energy conversion
Precise Polymer Synthesis
Molecular evolutionary engineering


In vitro selected RNA regulates photosensitization processes of tris(bipyridine) ruthenium (II)

Protein-based enzymes modulate, control, and regulate the chemistry of cofactors, such as organic or organometallic prosthetic groups. Recently we have attempted to mimic the natural evolution to furnish a non-natural transition-metal complex as a new cofactor in biomolecules. We choose tris(bipyridine) ruthenium (II) as a new cofactor, because the ruthenium complex and its derivatives have attracted intense interest due to its photoredox chemistry. We selected an RNA which specifically bound to the ruthenium complex. The RNA binding suppressed the energy transfer from the photo-excited state of the ruthenium complex to oxygen, whereas the RNA binding did not disturb charge transfer from the excited state to methylbipyridine which is a well-used electron acceptor. This finding demonstrates that a newly selected RNA can allocate the cofactor’s energy, which illustrates a broader point concerning the potential power of combining in vitro-created biomolecules with non-biological reactants to perform enhanced chemical reactions.

The selected RNA can selectively transfer the energy of the photo-excited state.


Yoshihiro Ito

Team Leader y-ito[at]riken.jp R

Masuki Kawamoto

Senior Research Scientist

Takanori Uzawa

Senior Research Scientist

Motoki Ueda

Research Scientist

Seiichi Tada

Research Scientist

Nandakumar Avanashiappan

Special Postdoctoral Researcher

Yoshihito Osada

Senior Visiting Scientist

Hiroshi Abe

Senior Visiting Scientist

Takuji Hirose

Senior Visiting Scientist

Kyoji Hagiwara

Visiting Scientist

Chen Zhang

Visiting Scientist

Md.Mofizur Rahman

Junior Research Associate

Chinmay Ravindra Phadke

Junior Research Associate

Iljae Min

International Program Associate

Yun Heo

Student Trainee

Xueli Ren

Student Trainee

Hsiu-Pen Lin

Student Trainee

So Jung Park

Student Trainee

Noriko Minagawa

Technical Staff I

Izumi Kono

Technical Staff I

Mika Tamura

Research Part-time Worker I

Sei Obuse

Research Part-time Worker II

Akiko Yumoto

Research Part-time Worker II

Kon Son

Research Part-time Worker II


2-1 Hirosawa, Wako, Saitama 351-0198 Japan