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RIKEN Center for Biosystems Dynamics Research Laboratory for Physical Biology

Team Leader: Tatsuo Shibata (Ph.D.)

Research Summary

Tatsuo  Shibata(Ph.D.)

Advances in measurement technologies have afforded us glimpses into dynamic functional processes, such as morphogenesis and information processing, in cells and tissues involved in development and regeneration. The truly organic dynamism of the biological phenomena exhibited by living cells, individually or in groups, emerges from the coordinated interaction of numerous molecular and genetic factors, and the need for integrated, systems-based approaches to the study of design and operating principles in such “living” phenomena is becoming increasingly clear. This will require not only technologies for the measurement of such elements but the development of applicable mathematical methods as well. In Laboratory for Physical Biology, we will seek to use concepts and methodology from mathematical sciences such as physics in the study and elucidation of these emerging questions in biology.


  • Cell polarity
  • Body axis formation
  • chemotaxis
  • Cell migration
  • Collective cell migration

Selected Publications

  • 1. Tarama, M. & Shibata, T.:
    "Pattern formation and the mechanics of a motor-driven filamentous system confined by rigid membranes"
    Phys Rev Res 4, 043071.(2022). 10.1103/PhysRevResearch.4.043071
  • 2. Wen, F.-L. , Kwan, C. W., Wang, Y.-C. & Shibata, T.:
    "Autonomous epithelial folding induced by an intracellular mechano–polarity feedback loop"
    PLOS Computational Biology 17(12), e1009614 (2021). 10.1371/journal.pcbi.1009614
  • 3. Hayakawa, M., Hiraiwa, T., Wada, Y., Kuwayama, H. & Shibata, T.:
    “Polar pattern formation induced by contact following locomotion in a multicellular system”
    eLife 9, e53609 (2020).10.7554/eLife.53609
  • 4. Yamamoto, T., Hiraiwa, T. & Shibata, T.:
    "Collective cell migration of epithelial cells driven by chiral torque generation."
    Phys Rev Res 2, 043326 (2020). 10.1103/physrevresearch.2.043326
  • 5. Hörning, M., & Shibata, T.:
    "Three-Dimensional Cell Geometry Controls Excitable Membrane Signaling in Dictyostelium Cells."
    Biophysical Journal, 116 (2), 372-382. (2019) 10.1016/j.bpj.2018.12.012
  • 6. Namba, T., & Shibata, T.:
    "Propagation of regulatory fluctuations induces coordinated switching of flagellar motors in chemotaxis signaling pathway of single bacteria."
    Journal of Theoretical Biology, 454, 367-375. (2018) 10.1016/j.jtbi.2018.06.023
  • 7. Wen F-L, Wang Y-C, Shibata T.:
    "Epithelial Folding Driven by Apical or Basal-Lateral Modulation: Geometric Features, Mechanical Inference, and Boundary Effects."
    Biophys J. 112(12):2683-2695. (2017) 10.1016/j.bpj.2017.05.012
  • 8. Sato K, Hiraiwa T, Maekawa E, Isomura A, Shibata T, Kuranaga E.:
    "Left-right asymmetric planar cell polarity and junction remodelling induce collective cell migration during epithelial morphogenesis"
    Nature Communication, 6 10074. (2015) 10.1038/ncomms10074
  • 9. Sato K, Hiraiwa T, Shibata T.:
    "Cell chirality induces collective cell migration in epithelial sheet"
    Physical Review Letters, 115, 188102 (2015) 10.1103/PhysRevLett.115.188102
  • 10. Nishikawa M, Hörning M, Ueda M, and Shibata T.:
    "Excitable signal transduction induces both spontaneous and directional cell asymmetries in the Phosphatidylinositol Lipid Signaling System for Eukaryotic Chemotaxis"
    Biophysical Journal 106: 723-734 (2014) 10.1016/j.bpj.2013.12.023

Recent Research Results

Related Links

Lab Members

Principal investigator

Tatsuo Shibata
Team Leader

Core members

Biplab Bhattacherjee
Research Scientist
Masayuki Hayakawa
Research Scientist
Tomoki Ishibashi
Research Scientist
Ryohei Nishizawa
Student Trainee
Mitsusuke Tarama
Special Postdoctoral Researcher
Sonja Tarama
Research Scientist


Position Deadline
Seeking a few Research Scientists or Postdoctoral Researchers (PB2202) Open until filled

Contact Information

2-2-3 Minatojima-minamimachi, Chuo-ku
Kobe, Hyogo
650-0047 Japan

Email: tatsuo.shibata [at] riken.jp