Aiko Sada

Aiko Sada
Aiko Sada
Associate Professor

Tel: 096-373-6890
E-mail: aisada [at] kumamoto-u.ac.jp

Research Field

Skin stem cells in Tissue regeneration and Aging

Keywords: Stem cell dynamics, Skin biology, Stem cell aging, Mouse model, Tissue engineering, Omics analysis, Glycobiology, Development, live imaging, Genome editing, Oral epithelium, Eye, Regenerative therapy, Biomarker, Extracellular matrix, Cell division, Lineage tracing, Metabolism, 3D culture

Research Interests

Stem cells maintain tissue integrity during homeostasis and show remarkable plasticity to quickly respond to various stress or damages to the tissue. Dysfunction or misregulation of stem cells leads to tissue dysfunction, including impaired wound healing, cancer, and aging. Emerging evidence suggests the presence of heterogeneous stem cell populations within adult tissues and their specific roles in physiological and pathological conditions. Our research focuses on elucidating the cellular dynamics and regulatory mechanisms of tissue-resident stem cells, especially using mouse epithelial tissues (skin, eyes, oral) as a model. We identified new stem cell populations in the mouse skin epidermis (Sada et al., Nat Cell Biol 2016) and established the genetic tools and molecular markers to analyze these cells in vivo. We are currently studying stem cells in tissue regeneration and aging, by combining cell & molecular biology techniques, genetic engineering of mice, omics analysis, FACS-based stem cell isolation, bioengineering, glycobiology, and so on. Our research goal is to reveal the drivers and effectors of stem cell dysfunction. Targeting these factors may prevent or cure diseases at the stem cell level, with implications for applications in regenerative therapy and for future treatments of cancer, aging, and other disorders. 


Aiko Sada graduated from Shizuoka University, Japan, and obtained her Bachelor's degree in 2006. She received a Ph.D. in 2011 from the Graduate University for Advanced Studies, Japan for her studies on RNA-binding protein Nanos2 in spermatogonial stem cells under the supervision of Dr. Yumiko Saga. Soon after her graduation, she joined Dr. Tudorita Tumbar's laboratory at Cornell University, Ithaca, NY as a postdoctoral fellow, where she worked on the identification and characterization of epidermal stem cells. She is a recipient of a long-term fellowship from the Human Frontier Science Program (HFSP) and fellowships from the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS). In 2016, she completed her postdoc training, moved back to Japan, and started as an Assistant professor at Tsukuba Advanced Research Alliance (TARA), University of Tsukuba. In 2019 October, she was promoted to Associate professor and started her own laboratory at IRCMS, Kumamoto University. She is currently studying the cellular and molecular mechanisms of skin regeneration and aging. 

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