Laboratory of Immunobiology


Yoko Hamazaki, Ph.D.Professor

The immune system protects our bodies against infectious pathogens. It is also responsible for immune rejection that occurs when organs are transplanted into a human body and is involved in the onset and pathology of various age-related diseases including cancers and lifestyle diseases. We will strive to explore the fundamental principles of immunology and develop strategies for controlling immune reactions in order to advance medicine and medical applications, especially focusing on T cell and thymus biology.

Research and Education

Our research themes:
Development and functions of supporting cells for lymphohematopoietic tissues such as thymic epithelial cells, which play a central role in the differentiation and selection of T cells.
  1. Induction of thymic epithelial cells from iPS cells and reconstruction of thymic functions.
  2. Mechanisms of thymic involution and activation of thymic functions.
  3. Mechanisms of immunosenescence and its association with age-related diseases.
  4. Regulation of the human immune system.

A)Medullary thymic epithelial cells crucial for central tolerance induction
B)A Colony derived from thymic epithelial stem cells

Laboratory members (2017.8)


Recent Publications

  1. Hamazaki Y, Sekai M, Minato N. Medullary thymic epithelial stem cells: role in thymic epithelial cell maintenance and thymic involution Immunol Rev. 2016 May;271(1):38-55. ✝Correspondence
  2. Hamazaki Y. Adult thymic epithelial cell (TEC) progenitors and TEC stem cells – Models and mechanisms for the development and maintenance of thymic epithelial cells Eur J Immunol. 2015 Nov;45(11):2985-93. ✝Correspondence
  3. Sekai M, Hamazaki Y✝, Minato N. Medullary thymic epithelial stem cells maintain a functional thymus 4to ensure lifelong central T cell tolerance. Immunity. 2014 Nov 14: 41(5), 753–761. ✝Correspondence
  4. Kawai Y*, Hamazaki Y*+, Fujita H, Fujita A, Sato T, Furuse M, Fujimoto T, Jetten AM, Agata Y and Minato N. Claudin-4 induction by E protein activity in later stages of CD4/8 double-positive thymocytes to increase positive selection efficiency. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 2011 Mar 8;108(10):4075-80. ✝Correspondence * These authors contributed equally to this work.
  5. Hamazaki Y, Fujita H, Kobayashi T, Choi Y, Scott HS, Matsumoto M, Minato N. Medullary thymic epithelial cells expressing Aire represent a unique lineage derived from cells expressing claudin. Nat. Immunol. 2007 Mar; 8(3):304-11.

Laboratory of Immunobiology

Professor:Yoko Hamazaki