Dr. Shuh Narumiya is Professor and Chair of Department of Drug Discovery Medicine, and the Director of Medical Innovation Center (MIC), Kyoto University Graduate School of Medicine. He served as the Dean of the Medical School in 2004-2007 and the leader of Global Center of Excellence “Center for Frontier Medicine” in 2008-2013.
His research spans from pharmacology, cell biology, biochemistry, and molecular biology to pathophysiology of diseases in areas of the functions of the prostaglandin (PG) receptors and the signal transduction and functions of the small GTPase Rho, where he published more than 500 original articles with the current H index of 121.
His team cloned all the members of the PG receptor family, which promoted development of selective agonists and antagonists to each member. Utilizing KO mice deficient in each PG receptor and selective agonists/antagonists, his team has clarified various physiological and pathophysiological roles prostaglandins play in the body such as fever generation, pain sensation, ovulation and parturition. His team also discovered that in addition to acute inflammation, PGs exert many actions in immunity and allergy, and also regulates animal behavior. His team discovered botulinum C3 exoenzyme, a molecular probe for Rho, cloned Rho effectors such as ROCK, mDia, citron and Rhotekin, and discovered a specific ROCK inhibitor, Y-27632, which has been used in hundreds laboratories world-wide to dissect the functions of Rho-ROCK pathway. Utilizing these resources, his team identified how actin monomers are polymerized and form actomyosin bundles such as stress fibers and the contractile ring in the cell, and how this mechanism is used in making tissue architecture in the body. His current research interests are the mechanisms underlying chronic inflammation and tumor microenvironment, neural mechanisms governing stress behavior, and molecular mechanisms of skin barrier maintenance. Along with carrying out his own research, he has established the Academia-Industry Alliance model for drug discovery and development in Kyoto University by setting and directing the Astellas Pharma-Kyoto University (AK) Project of the Center for Innovation in Immunoregulatory Technology and Therapeutics (2007-2016), and is running four MIC projects as the director.
He has received many honors including the Gold Medal from the Giovanni Lorenzini Foundation, the Purple ribbon from the Japanese Government, the Takeda Prize in Medicine, the Uehara Prize, the Imperial Prize from the Japan Academy, the Ulysses Medal from University College Dublin and the Lifetime Achievement Awards from the International Association of Inflammation Societies and the Eicosanoid Foundation.