Dr. Takumi HIGAKI

Professor, Faculty of Advanced Science and Technology

Research Fields
Quantitative bioimaging, cell morphogenesis, cytoskeleton and organelles

Research interest

Actin filaments of plants

Actin, a protein that is ubiquitous in eukaryotes, forms actin filaments by its polymerization under physiological conditions. Actin filaments are deeply involved in cell morphological changes through formation of higher-order structures such as networks and bundles. In the case of plant cells in particular, actin filaments regulate various organelle dynamics. We aim for visible understanding of actin filament roles in cell division, cell expansion, and cell death, in which plant cell undergoes drastic changes.

Stomatal development and movement

The stomata on the plant leaf and stem surfaces is essential for plant survival because they are responsible for gaseous exchange and transpiration. The stomatal density and aperture is appropriately regulated in response to environmental cues. Using multiple approaches including biochemistry, molecular biology, live cell imaging, image analysis, and mathematical modeling, we aim for visible understanding of the multi-scale spatiotemporal control mechanism of plant stomata.

Image analysis tool development

When addressing problems in the cell biological studies described above, quantitative evaluations of cell structure and movement involving microscopic image analyses are essential. However, existing image analysis softwares are frequently insufficient. This is because the acquired image types and objectives are highly diversified in cell biology studies. For this reason, we are developing image analysis tools that would promote research progress from the standpoint of experimental cell biologists.




The International Symposium on "Plant-Structure-Optimization" in Nara (Nov 19-20, 2022)



  • CREST (Japan Science and Technology Agency), Development of technology platforms for quantitative analysis of spatiotemporal multicellular interaction, "Development of novel research strategy that integrates low-dimensionalized bioinformation with multilevel modeling," October 2021-March 2027.  (*Lead Joint Researcher)

  • Grant-in-Aid for Scientific Research (B) (The Japan Society for the Promotion of Science), "Multi-dimensional bioimage analyses with machine learning to reveal the dynamics of membrane vesicles and microtubules in stomatal guard cells," April 2020-March 2023.

  • Grant-in-Aid for Scientific Research on Innovative Areas (The Japan Society for the Promotion of Science), Elucidation of the strategies of mechanical optimization in plants toward the establishment of the bases for sustainable structure system, "Imaging analysis on cell geometry during mechanical optimization in leaves," June 2018-March 2023.

  • Grant-in-Aid for Scientific Research on Innovative Areas (The Japan Society for the Promotion of Science), Platforms for Advanced Technologies and Research Resources "Advanced Bioimaging Support," "Consultation and technical support for bioimage analysis," April 2018-March 2022.

  • “The Japanese Society of Plant Physiologists (JSPP)* Young Investigator Award” (日本植物生理学会奨励賞)
  • “The 6th CYTOLOGIA Encouragement Awards”  The Japan Mendel Society (December, 2020)

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