Laboratory of Symbiotic and Coevolutionary Mechanisms

Visiting Professor

XIAO, Jin-zhong (SHIMIZU, K.)
shimizu.kanetada.3c -at-

Visiting Associate Professor

ODAMAKI, Toshitaka
odamaki.toshitaka.0z -at-

Project-Specific Associate Professor

SAKANAKA, Mikiyasu
sakanaka.mikiyasu.5e -at-


Research Theme (one sentence)

The mission of this department is to elucidate the mechanisms underlying symbiosis between bifidobacteria
and their human host, and to understand the molecular basis of the health-promoting effects of probiotic Bifidobacterium strains.


Research Theme

Probiotics are defined as “live microorganisms that, when administered in adequate amounts, confer a health benefit on the host,” and bifidobacteria and lactobacilli are most commonly used as probiotics in food and medicine globally. Research suggests that bifidobacteria have co-evolved with hominids for over 15 million years, and we have collectively named the species that are characteristic of the human intestinal tract as “Human-Residential Bifidobacteria (HRB)”. Accumulating evidence shows that HRB plays an extremely important role in human health. However, the mechanisms behind the probiotic effect of bifidobacteria remain unclear, because probiotics research has historically focused on the human (host) side (e.g., functional evaluation through clinical trials) and research from the bacterial side is limited. To address this research gap, our department will promote research from the probiotic side. Specifically, we will elucidate the molecular mechanisms underlying symbiosis and coevolution between HRB and humans.


Research Topics

・Elucidation of the symbiotic and co-evolutionary mechanisms between bifidobacteria, gut bacteria, and
・Understanding the molecular basis of health-promoting effects of probiotics and development of
 technologies for social implementation.


Distinctive differences in ecological distribution of bifidobacteria (HRB vs non-HRB).