Spider silks are protein materials that exhibit extraordinary mechanical properties including tensile strengths, extensibilities, and toughness, with potential applications in industry as renewable materials. In order to study the design principles of spider silks, we are trying to find quantitative linkages between sequence motifs and physical properties, by comprehensive sequencing of 1,000 spiders.
Tardigrades, commonly known as water-bears, are small animals found throughout the globe, from rooftop of houses in cities to Antarctica, and even in deep sea basin. The majority of the limno-terrestrial tardigrades can withstand dehydration by turning into a tun state, at which tardigrades can withstand extreme environments such as extremely high and low temperatures, pressure, and radiation. In fact, tardigrades are the first animals that survived exposure to space vacuum and solar radiation. Here we are actively analyzing the molecular mechanisms for such extremotolerant abilities of tardigrades with the latest technologies of modern biology.
With the rapid advance in DNA sequencing technologies, we are now able to sequence our own personal genomes with less than $1,000. This has the potential to transform modern medical care, which currently centers around treatment during illness, to preventive medicine, where the illness is prevented before its onset in the first place. On the other hand, many social and ethical issues exist as well. For this purpose, we have sequenced the whole personal genome of Professor Masaru Tomita, and made it open in public DNA databank for educational use.