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Chihiro Sasakawa

Position Director, Professor
Research Projects
TEL +81 43 226 2487
FAX +81 43 226 2486
E-mail ctcu0987[at]

Chihiro Sasakawa received his PhD from The University of Tokyo in 1978. He was a postdoctoral fellow at Washington University, School of Medicine in St. Louis, MO from 1980 to 1983. After returning to Tokyo, he initiated studies on bacterial pathogenesis and host immune responses at the Institute of Medical Science, The University of Tokyo. He was appointed as a Professor in 1995. He served as the Head of the Department of Microbiology and Immunology from 1999 to 2005. In 2012, he became a Professor Emeritus of The University of Tokyo. Throughout his career, Dr. Sasakawa has been dedicated to research and the promotion of science. He joined the Science Council of Japan in 2010. He served as the President of the Federation of Microbiological Societies of Japan in 2010?2016, and since 2013 he has been serving as the Director of Medical Mycology Research Center at Chiba University. He was nominated as a member of the American Academy of Microbiology in 2014. He currently serves as Advisory and Editorial Board Members of Nature Review of Microbiology (2003-), Cell Host Microbiology (2007-), Current Opinion Microbiology (2002-), and Trends in Microbiology (1996-). Since 2017, he has served as the program supervisor for the human microbiome project at Japan Agency for Medical Research and Development (AMED).


Bacteriology, Infection Biology, Immunology, Microbiome

Main topics of research

Study of bacterial infectious strategy and host innate immune response, and its application toward disease control

Main publications

  1. Paik S, Kim JK, Silwal P, Sasakawa C, Jo EK. An update on the regulatory mechanisms of NLRP3 inflammasome activation. Cell Mol Immunol, 2021 May;18(5):1141-1160. doi: 10.1038/s41423-021-00670-3. Epub 2021 Apr 13.
  2. Rimbara E, Suzuki M, Matsui H, Nakamura M, Morimoto M, Sasakawa C, Masuda H, Nomura S, Osaki T, Nagata N, Shibayama K, Tokunaga K. Isolation and characterization of Helicobacter suis from human stomach. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2021 Mar 30;118(13):e2026337118.
  3. Ashida H, Suzuki T, Sasakawa C. Shigella infection and host cell death: a double-edged sword for the host and pathogen survival. Curr Opin Microbiol. 2020 Aug 9;59:1-7. doi: 10.1016/j.mib.2020.07.007.
  4. Ashida H, Sasakawa C, Suzuki T. A unique bacterial tactic to circumvent the cell death crosstalk induced by blockade of caspase-8. EMBO J. 2020 Sep 1;39(17):e104469. doi: 10.15252/embj.2020104469. Epub 2020 Jul 13.
  5. Suzuki S, Suzuki T, Mimuro H, Mizushima T, Sasakawa C. Shigella hijacks the glomulin-cIAPs-inflammasome axis to promote inflammation. EMBO Rep. 2018 Jan;19(1):89-101. doi: 10.15252/embr.201643841. Epub 2017 Nov 30.
  6. Jo EK, Kim JK, Shin DM, Sasakawa C. Molecular mechanisms regulating NLRP3 inflammasome activation. Cell Mol Immunol. 2016 Mar;13(2):148-59. doi: 10.1038/cmi.2015.95. Epub 2015 Nov 9.
  7. Suzuki S, Mimuro H, Kim M, Ogawa M, Ashida H, Toyotome T, Franchi L, Suzuki M, Sanada T, Suzuki T, Tsutsui H, Nunez G, Sasakawa C. Shigella IpaH7.8 E3 ubiquitin ligase targets glomulin and activates inflammasomes to demolish macrophages. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA. 111(40):E4254-63, 2014.
  8. Kiga K, Mimuro H, Suzuki M, Shinozaki-Ushiku A, Kobayashi T, Sanada T, Kim M, Ogawa M, Iwasaki YW, Kayo H, Fukuda-Yuzawa Y, Yashiro M, Fukayama M, Fukao T, Sasakawa C. Epigenetic silencing of miR-210 increases the proliferation of gastric epithelium during chronic Helicobacter pylori infection. Nat Communication, 5:4497, 2014.
  9. Ashida H, Kim M, Sasakawa C. Exploitation of the host ubiquitin system by bacterial pathogens. Nat Rev Microbiol, 12(6): 399-413, 2014.
  10. Kobayashi T, Ogawa M, Sanada T, Mimuro H, Kim M, Ashida H, Akakura R, Yoshida M, Kawalec M, Reichhart JM, Mizushima T, Sasakawa C. The Shigella OspC3 effector inhibits caspase-4, antagonizes inflammatory cell death, and promotes epithelial infection. Cell Host Microbe. 13(5):570-83, 2013.
  11. Fukumatsu M, Ogawa M, Arakawa S, Suzuki M, Nakayama K, Shimizu S, Kim M, Mimuro H, Sasakawa C. Shigella targets epithelial tricellular junctions and uses a noncanonical clathrin-dependent endocytic pathway to spread between cells. Cell Host Microbe. 11(4):325-36, 2012.
  12. Sanada T, Kim M, Mimuro H, Suzuki M, Ogawa M, Oyama A, Ashida H, Kobayashi T, Koyama T, Nagai S, Shibata Y, Gohda J, Inoue J, Mizushima T, Sasakawa C. The Shigella flexneri effector OspI deamidates UBC13 to dampen the inflammatory response. Nature. 483(7391):623-6, 2012.
  13. Ashida H, Ogawa M, Kim M, Mimuro H, Sasakawa C. Bacteria and host interactions in the gut epithelial barrier. Nat Chem Biol. 8(1):36-45, 2011.
  14. Ashida H, Mimuro H, Ogawa M, Kobayashi T, Sanada T, Kim M, Sasakawa C. Cell death and infection: a double-edged sword for host and pathogen survival. J Cell Biol. 195(6):931-42, 2011.
  15. Ogawa M, Yoshikawa Y, Kobayashi T, Mimuro H, Fukumatsu M, Kiga K, Piao Z, Ashida H, Yoshida M, Kakuta S, Koyama T, Goto Y, Nagatake T, Nagai S, Kiyono H, Kawalec M, Reichhart JM, Sasakawa C. A Tecpr1-dependent selective autophagy pathway targets bacterial pathogens. Cell Host Microbe. 9(5):376-89, 2011.
  16. Kim M, Ashida H, Ogawa M, Yoshikawa Y, Mimuro H, Sasakawa C. Bacterial interactions with the host epithelium. Cell Host Microbe. 8(1):20-35, 2010.
  17. Ashida H, Kim M, Schmidt-Supprian M, Ma A, Ogawa M, Sasakawa C. A bacterial E3 ubiquitin ligase IpaH9.8 targets NEMO/IKKgamma to dampen the host NF-kappaB-mediated inflammatory response. Nat Cell Biol. 12(1):66-73, 2010.