We develop serendipity-enabling technologies based on molecular imaging and spectroscopy together with microfluidics and computational analytics, use them to push the frontiers of human knowledge and understanding, and produce global leaders who will shape the future of biology and medicine. Specifically, the technologies are designed for discovering new biological phenomena, elucidating unknown mechanisms, and exploiting new applications. They are based on an integration of theoretical, experimental, and computational techniques in physics and chemistry combined with molecular cell biology, electrical engineering, computer science, artificial intelligence, biomedical engineering, applied mathematics, mechanical engineering, and nanotechnology. Our global initiative for the development of serendipity-enabling technologies is currently operated at Serendipity Lab. The following is, but not limited to, a list of ongoing research programs.
Intelligent image-activated cell sorting
Fluorescence-activated cell sorting is a powerful method for analyzing and sorting cells based on their phenotypes. However, it is limited in identifying how spatial architectures of intracellular molecules are linked to their physiological functions. To answer this basic biological question, Goda Lab and colleagues have recently developed an intelligent image-activated cell sorter. Goda Lab currently aims at making new scientific discoveries and exploiting new applications based on the technology.
Coherent Raman spectroscopy with optical frequency combs
Frequency combs have attracted much attention from physicists and chemists since the Nobel Prize in Physics was given to the development of frequency combs. A frequency comb is an optical spectrum that consists of a series of equally spaced frequency modes with narrow linewidths and can therefore be used as an optical ruler. Goda Lab aims at developing coherent Raman spectroscopy methods based on frequency combs for fast sensitive spectroscopic measurements of molecules.
Label-free biochemical imaging for medical applications
Fluorescence detection based on fluorescent dyes has become one of the most widely used methods in scientific research and clinical practice such as identification of cellular signaling, protein folding, and cancer tumor. Despite its high sensitivity, it has limitations such as toxicity, long decay times, and interference with normal biological processes. To circumvent these limitations, Goda Lab currently develops high-speed label-free spectroscopy-based biochemical sensing methods for medical applications.
Nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy is the most widely used analytical method in chemistry by virtue of its ability to uniquely determine the chemical structure of diverse molecules. As NMR spectra are measured in the microwave region, it has been difficult to apply NMR spectroscopy to bioimaging. Goda Lab aims to develop a technique to obtain NMR spectra under a microscope with combining the state-of-the-art laser technology with magneto-optic instrumentation.
Conventional high-speed imaging methods are unable to capture fast dynamics in living cells due to thier mechanical and electronic operation or limited sensitivity. Goda Lab aims to develop unconventional types of imaging for high-speed bright-field microscopy and confocal fluorescence microscopy and also to exploit new applications based on the imaging methods. Prominent examples of Goda Lab's previous efforts for high-speed imaging include STEAM and STAMP.
High-throughput image-based single-cell analysis for cancer detection
Cancer spread or metastasis is the primary cause of cancer death. In fact, 90% of cancer deaths are due to cancer metastasis, not the original tumor. Cancer metastasis is caused by the migration of cancer cells to more distant parts of the body via either the lymphatic system or bloodstream. Goda Lab currently develops high-throughput single-cell analysis methods based on an integration of photonics and microfluidics for real-time screening of rare metastatic cancer cells in blood.
Graphene photonics for biochemical sensing
Graphene is a two-dimensional atomic-scale hexagonal lattice made of carbon atoms and has many extraordinary properties such as high stiffness and conductivity. Unique optical properties of graphene give us opportunities to develop graphene-based integrated circuits for sensitive biochemical sensing and spectroscopy applications. By combining graphene with the state-of-the-art silicon photonics technology, Goda Lab aims to develop on-chip devices for such biochemical applications.
Single-cell analysis with droplet microfluidics
The acquisition of many cellular images or spectra leads to a deeper and more precise understanding of cellular heterogeneity. For this purpose, it is essential to handle tiny and fragile cells with high throughput without causing damage to them. Goda Lab aims to develop tools for droplet microfluidics which allow us to quickly and gently handle cells by encapsulating them into small droplets and hence to perform single-cell imaging and spectroscopy with high throughput.
Start your own great innovations
History tells us that the greatest discoveries come totally unexpected out of nowhere. While luck seems to play a role, required attributes for preparing "unexpected" events and making "planned" discoveries are curiosity, persistence, flexibility, optimism, and risk taking. Goda Lab encourages students to come up with their own ideas through brainstorming and discussion with colleagues by providing financial support to student-initiated research projects that might lead to great innovations.
Start your own startup
There is a big wave of university-based startups in Japan today. The Japanese government and venture capitalists currently invest a large amount of money in such startups that come out of research labs at universities in Japan. With this great financial support as well as the University of Tokyo's startup training for researchers, Goda Lab is interested in promoting students and postdoctoral researchers to start their own tech companies based on thier research achievements in Goda Lab.