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RIKEN Center for Biosystems Dynamics Research Laboratory for Tissue Microenvironment

Team Leader: Hironobu Fujiwara (Ph.D.)

Research Summary

Hironobu  Fujiwara(Ph.D.)

In our bodies, we have millions of different environments in which cells reside, which are known as cellular or tissue microenvironments. A series of recent studies have shown that these specialized tissue microenvironments instruct the fate and behaviors of cells. The aim of our lab is to gain a better understanding of the mechanisms underlying the ways in which tissue microenvironments are regionally specialized, and how these specialized microenvironments in turn instruct cell behavior, cell-cell communication, and organ formation. We are particularly interested in the role of regional specialization of the extracellular matrix (ECM) in the formation of the stem cell microenvironment, or niche, in the mammalian skin. A deeper knowledge of this will provide a molecular basis to an improved understanding of the niche regulation of stem cells and organ formation, and for developing tailor-made microenvironments for different lineages of stem cells in the skin.

Main Research Fields

  • Biology

Related Research Fields

  • Medicine, Dentistry & Pharmacy


  • Skin development and regeneration
  • Extracellular matrix
  • Tissue organization
  • Stem cell
  • Hair follicle

Selected Publications

Papers with an asterisk(*) are based on research conducted outside of RIKEN.

  • 1.G. Donati, V. Proserpio, B. M. Lichtenberger, K. Natsuga, R. Sinclair, H. Fujiwara and F. M. Watt:
    "Epidermal Wnt/beta-catenin signaling regulates adipocyte differentiation via secretion of adipogenic factors."
    Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 111.E1501-9 (2014)
  • 2.H. Fujiwara:
    "Cutaneous extracellular matrix"
    Henry Stewart Talks The Biomedical & Life Science Collection (Series: Skin Biology) (2014)
  • 3.*H. Fujiwara, M. Ferreira, G. Donati, D. K. Marciano, J. M. Linton, Y. Sato, A. Hartner, K. Sekiguchi, L. F. Reichardt and F. M. Watt:
    "The basement membrane of hair follicle stem cells is a muscle cell niche."
    Cell 144.577-89 (2011)
  • 4.*F. M. Watt and H. Fujiwara:
    "Cell-extracellular matrix interactions in normal and diseased skin."
    Cold Spring Harb Perspect Biol 3. (2011)
  • 5.*M. Ferreira, H. Fujiwara, K. Morita and F. M. Watt:
    "An activating β1 integrin mutation increases the conversion of benign to malignant skin tumors."
    Cancer Res 69.1334-42 (2009)
  • 6.*H. Fujiwara, Y. Hayashi, N. Sanzen, R. Kobayashi, C. N. Weber, T. Emoto, S. Futaki, H. Niwa, P. Murray, D. Edgar and K. Sekiguchi:
    "Regulation of mesodermal differentiation of mouse embryonic stem cells by basement membranes."
    J Biol Chem 282.29701-11 (2007)
  • 7.*H. Fujiwara, J. Gu and K. Sekiguchi:
    "Rac regulates integrin-mediated endothelial cell adhesion and migration on laminin-8."
    Exp Cell Res 292.67-77 (2004)

Recent Research Results

Related Links

Lab Members

Principal investigator

Hironobu Fujiwara
Team Leader

Core members

Ritsuko Morita
Research Scientist
Asako Nakagawa
Technical Staff II
Noriko Ban
Technical Staff II
Hiroki Machida
Junior Research Associate
Duligengaowa Wuergezhen
International Program Associate
Ko Tsutsui
Visiting Scientist
Kyungmin Ahn
Visiting Scientist
Jun Yokota
Visiting Scientist
Weiwen Liu
Visiting Scientist


Position Deadline
Seeking a few Research Scientists or Postdoctoral Researchers (BDR-23-001) Open until filled

Contact Information

5F, RIKEN BDR Developmental Biology Bldg.A,
2-2-3 Minatojima-minamimachi, Chuo-ku,
Kobe, Hyogo
650-0047, Japan
Email: hfujiwara [at] cdb.riken.jp