Visiting Researchers

Makoto Yawata

Makoto Yawata
Makoto Yawata
M.D., Ph.D
Visiting Associate Professor


Research Field

Human diversity in NK cell responses against viral infection and cancer.
Design of NK cell immunotherapy.

Career History & Research Interests

Our laboratory specializes in investigating the biology of human natural killer (NK) cells for development in clinical medicine. Due to their innate roles in the immune response against cancer and virus infections, NK cells have strong potential to become useful as effector cells in immunotherapy. A successful example is the exploitation of the allogeneic NK cell response in hematopoietic stem cell transplantation, an approach which is rapidly becoming standard of care globally in leukemia treatment. Our research goals are to elucidate and utilize the complex activating and inhibitory mechanisms that differentiate NK cell responses among human individuals, and to understand the systems involved in NK cell ontogeny for therapeutic cell expansion.
I trained in molecular genetics, phylogeny and comparative genomics under Professor Masanori Kasahara in the Graduate University for Advanced Sciences (Japan) and Yokohama City University, where I started studies into the complex genetics of the Killer cell Immunoglobulin-like Receptor system that regulates NK cells. I was fortunate to have the opportunity to develop phenotype and functional studies of this receptor system using advanced flow cytometry in Professor Peter Parham's laboratory in Stanford University as a postdoctoral fellow. I currently serve as Principal Investigator in the Immunology Program in the Life Sciences Institute within the National University of Singapore, as well as faculty in the Department of Pediatrics. I am currently also involved in organizing a training course for physicians for skills development in clinical trial design and execution.

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