MPFI Postdoctoral Researcher Takayasu Mikuni receives $520,000 PRESTO grant to develop highly sensitive technique for protein visualization

September 16, 2016



MPFI Postdoctoral Researcher Takayasu Mikuni receives $520,000 PRESTO grant to develop highly sensitive technique for protein visualization

By Megan Pino

Takayasu Mikuni, M.D., Ph.D., a Postdoctoral Researcher in Scientific Director Ryohei Yasuda’s lab at the Max Planck Florida Institute for Neuroscience (MPFI), has been awarded the prestigious Precursory Research for Embryonic Science and Technology (PRESTO, “Sakigake” in Japanese) grant by the Japan Science and Technology Agency (JST). The 3.5-year, $520,000 grant will provide Mikuni with the support to develop a new and versatile technique for comprehensive, single-cell analysis of the localization and dynamics of endogenous proteins in the brain.

One of the most dense and complicated tissues, brain tissue contains thousands of proteins that play roles in cellular functions. However, many endogenous proteins are low in abundance and require a highly sensitive method for visualization. Mikuni’s technique will allow for the labeling of any endogenous protein within single brain cells via genome editing, thereby enabling precise monitoring of protein dynamics and mapping of protein localization with nanometer resolution. “My goal is to understand brain function at the molecular level,” said Mikuni. “This new method will pave the way for a more comprehensive understanding of cellular processes in the brain.”

The Japan Science and Technology Agency (JST) is one of the core institutions responsible for the implementation of science and technology policy in Japan, including the government’s Science and Technology Basic Plan. From knowledge creation—the wellspring of innovation—to ensuring that the fruits of research are shared with society and Japan’s citizens, JST undertakes its mission in a comprehensive manner. JST also works to provide a sound infrastructure of science and technology information and raise awareness and understanding of science and technology-related issues in Japan. For more information about JST, visit here.