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Chief Scientist Laboratories Molecular Physiology Laboratory

Chief Scientist: Rikiya Watanabe (Ph.D.)

Research Summary

Rikiya  Watanabe(Ph.D.)

Our study aims to understand cellular functions using a bottom-up approach from the single molecule level. To achieve this, we are attempting to elucidate the mechanism by which individual biomolecules or their networks function in a precise manner, by developing novel single-molecule techniques using multidisciplinary approaches, including biophysics, bioMEMS, and chemical biology. In addition, we are developing a methodology to investigate correlations between genetic mutations, dysfunctions, and diseases with single molecule sensitivity, which would provide new insights for biological as well as pharmaceutical studies.

Main Research Fields

  • Biology

Related Research Fields

  • Interdisciplinary Science & Engineering
  • Biophysics
  • Nano/Microsystems


  • Membrane protein
  • Artificial Biomembrane
  • Artificial cell
  • bioMEMS
  • Digital Biology

Selected Publications

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

  • 1. Shinoda, H., Taguchi, Y., Nakagawa, R., Makino, A., Okazaki, S., Nakano, M., Muramoto, Y., Takahashi, C., Takahashi, I., Ando, J., Noda, T., Nureki, O., Nishimasu, H., & Watanabe, R.:
    "Amplification-free RNA detection with CRISPR-Cas13"
    Commun. Biol. 4, 476 (2021)
  • 2. Sakamoto, S., Komatsu, T., Watanabe, R., Zhang, Y., Inoue, T., Kawaguchi, M., Nakagawa, H., Ueno, T., Okusaka, T., Honda, K., Noji, H., & Urano, Y.:
    "Multiplexed single-molecule enzyme activity analysis for counting disease-related proteins in biological samples"
    Sci. Adv. 6, eaay0888 (2020)
  • 3. *Watanabe, R., Sakuragi, T., Noji, H., & Nagata, S.:
    "Single molecule analysis of phospholipid scrambling by TMEM16F"
    Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 115, 3066-3071 (2018)
  • 4. *Abe, K., Katsuno, H., Toriyama, M., Baba, K., Mori, T., Hakoshima, T., Kanemura, Y., Watanabe, R., & Inagaki, N.:
    "Grip and slip of L1-CAM on adhesive substrates direct growth cone haptotaxis"
    Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 115, 2764-2769 (2018)
  • 5. *Watanabe, R., Soga, N., Hara, M., & Noji, H.:
    "Arrayed water-in-oil droplet bilayers for membrane transport analysis"
    Lab Chip 16, 3043-3048 (2016)
  • 6. *Watanabe, R., Soga, N., Fujita, D., Tabata, K. V., Yamauchi, L., Kim, SH., Asanuma, D., Kamiya, M., Urano, Y., Suga, H., & Noji, H.:
    "Arrayed lipid bilayer chambers allow single-molecule analysis of membrane transporter activity"
    Nat. Commun. 5, 4519 (2014)
  • 7. *Watanabe, R., & Noji, H.:
    "Timing of inorganic phosphate release modulates the catalytic activity of ATP-driven rotary motor protein"
    Nat. Commun. 5, 3486 (2014)
  • 8. *Watanabe, R., Tabata, KV., Iino, R., Ueno, H., Iwamoto, M., Oiki, S., & Noji, H.:
    "Biased Brownian stepping rotation of FoF1-ATP synthase driven by proton motive force"
    Nat. Commun. 4, 1631 (2013)
  • 9. *Watanabe, R., Okuno, D. Sakakihara, S. Shimabukuro, K. Iino, R. Yoshida, M. & Noji, H.:
    "Mechanical modulation of catalytic power on F1-ATPase"
    Nat. Chem. Biol. 1, 86-92 (2012)
  • 10. *Watanabe, R., Iino, R. & Noji, H.:
    "Phosphate release in F1-ATPase catalytic cycle follows ADP release."
    Nat. Chem. Biol. 6, 814-20 (2010)

Annual research report

Related Links

Lab Members

Principal investigator

Rikiya Watanabe
Chief Scientist

Core members

Makoto Kimura
Senior Research Scientist
Takanori Uzawa
Senior Research Scientist
Jun Ando
Research Scientist
Hajime Shinoda
Research Scientist
Yoshiaki Kinoshita
Research Scientist
Tomoya Ueda
Special Postdoctoral Researcher
Asami Makino
Technical Staff I
Tatsuya Iida
Technical Staff I
Mami Yoshimura
Technical Staff I
Yuka Takano
Kazue Murai
Research Part-time Worker II
Tomoe Michiyuki
Administrative Part-time Worker I

Contact Information

Bioscience Building S252
2-1 Hirosawa, Wako,
Saitama 351-0198, Japan
Email: rikiya.watanabe [at] riken.jp