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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. Morita R and Fujiwara H.
    "Tracing the developmental origin of tissue stem cells."
    Development Growth & Differentiation. 64 (9) 566-576. (2022)
  • 2. Morita R, Sanzen N, Sasaki H, Hayashi T, Umeda M, Yoshimura M, Yamamoto T, Shibata T, Abe T, Kiyonari H, Furuta Y, Nikaido I, Fujiwara H.
    "Tracing the origin of hair follicle stem cells."
    Nature. 594 (7864) 547-552. (2021)
  • 3. Tsutsui K, Machida H, Nakagawa A, Ahn K, Morita R, Sekiguchi K, Miner JH, Fujiwara H.
    "Mapping the molecular and structural specialization of the skin basement membrane for inter-tissue interactions."
    Nature Communications. 12 (1) 2577. (2021)
  • 4. Cheng CC, Tsutsui K, Taguchi T, Sanzen N, Nakagawa A, Kakiguchi K, Yonemura S, Tanegashima C, Keeley SD, Kiyonari H, Furuta Y, Tomono Y, Watt FM, Fujiwara H.
    "Hair follicle epidermal stem cells define a niche for tactile sensation."
    eLife. 7 e38883. (2018)
  • 5. Fujiwara H, Tsutsui K, Morita R.
    "Multi-tasking epidermal stem cells: Beyond epidermal maintenance."
    Development Growth & Differentiation. 60 (9) 531-541. (2018)
  • 6. Donati G, Proserpio V, Lichtenberger BM, Natsuga K, Sinclair R, Fujiwara H, Watt FM.
    "Epidermal Wnt/beta-catenin signaling regulates adipocyte differentiation via secretion of adipogenic factors."
    Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 111 (15) E1501-1509. (2014)
  • 7. *Fujiwara H, Ferreira M, Donati G, Marciano DK, Linton JM, Sato Y, Hartner A, Sekiguchi K, Reichardt LF, Watt FM.
    "The basement membrane of hair follicle stem cells is a muscle cell niche."
    Cell. 144 (4) 577-589. (2011)
  • 8. *Watt FM, Fujiwara H.
    "Cell-extracellular matrix interactions in normal and diseased skin."
    Cold Spring Harb Perspect Biol. 3 (4) a005124 (2011)

Recent Research Results

Related Links

Lab Members

Principal investigator

Hironobu Fujiwara
Team Leader

Core members

Kohei Omachi
Research Scientist
Momoko Deguchi
Postdoctoral Researcher
Asako Nakagawa
Technical Staff II
Noriko Ban
Technical Staff II
Duligengaowa Wuergezhen
International Program Associate
Hiroki Machida
Student Trainee


Position Deadline
Seeking Research Scientist or Postdoctoral Researcher (BDR-23-057) 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: hironobu.fujiwara [at] riken.jp