Ichiro Nishii completed his undergraduate work in protein science (1993) and then he started investigation of morphognenesis in Volvox (Fig.1) as a his PhD thesis (1999) at Osaka University in Japan. This theme was followed by his postdoc reseach in the laboratory of Dr David Kirk (Washington University in St. Louis). In 2004, he moved to RIKEN in Wako, Japan as a unit leader to extend the Volvox research and in 2009, he moved to department of biological sciences in Nara Women's University. In September, 2011, he joined Temasek Life Sciences Laboratory as Principal Investigator.
You may wish to contact Dr Ichiro NISHII at:
Tel: (65) 6872 7410 (DID) or 6872 7411 (lab) Email: email@example.com
For information on PhD studies at TLL, click HERE
- Germ-soma differentiaion
- Evolution of multicellularity
- Growth and secretion control in green algae
The goal of our research is to understand the way in which developmental processes that requires the coordinated activities of many cells came into being as multicellular organisms evolved from a unicellular ancestor. Our target organisms, Volvox, Chlamydomonas, and their close relatives (volvocine green algae, Fig.2) provide an unrivalled evolutionary model system for exploring such questions.
Over a relatively short period of time Volvox evolved an impressive suite of developmental traits, including asymmetric cell division, germ-soma division of labor, embryonic morphogenesis, and oogamy. We have been focusing on the genes and molecules that control these steps and investigated their functions in cells. Then, we have also traced how these genes evolved when these green algae became multicellular.
A hallmark of Volvox is the morphogenetic process called 'inversion', by which their embryos turn inside out at the end of embryogenesis. Inversion involves a sequence of coordinated changes in cellular shapes reminiscent of those involved in many metazoan processes such as gastrulation. We have been isolating inversion-less mutants (Inv) and characterizing Inv genes by taking advantage of transposon-tagging system. Further, we are investigating role of the homologues of the Inv genes in the unicellular Chlamydomonas to find out the origin of multicellularity.
Figure 1. Volvox carteri; an adult spheroid contains more than 15 juvenile spheroid inside. Each juvenile was already developed and ~16 large reproductive cells, gonidia are seen to be incorporated inside.
Figure 2. Volvox and related species; They evolved from a unicellular ancestor, similar to Chlamydomonas reinhardtii with increasing cell number and developmental complepxities as multicellular organisms.