Candidate for Council – 2021 ICIS Leadership Election

Akinori Takaoka, MD, PhD

Akinori Takaoka, MD, PhD
Professor, Division of Signaling in Cancer and Immunology, Institute for Genetic Medicine
Hokkaido University, Sapporo, Japan

Professor Takaoka graduated from Sapporo Medical University School of Medicine in 1992, and gained his Ph.D. and M.D. at the same university in 1996. He worked as a post-doctoral fellow and a Research Associate at the Department of Immunology, Graduate School of Medicine & Faculty of Medicine, at University of Tokyo working on the regulation of type I IFN signaling and IRF-dependent cytokine gene induction during viral infection. In this department he was appointed as an Assistant Professor in 2000 and Lecturer in 2002. Then, he was appointed in a current position to start a new laboratory at Hokkaido university in 2007 and has been subsequently pursuing the basic research regarding innate recognition and signalings in viral infection. He and his colleagues found that RIG-I plays a dual role not only as an innate sensor for Hepatitis B virus in human hepatocytes but also as a direct antiviral factor to restrict its viral polymerase (Sato et al. Immunity, 42, 123-132, 2015). They also focused on the protein posttranslational modification enzyme polyADP-ribose polymerase (PARP) family members, and found novel aspects of the regulatory mechanism of nucleic acid sensor-mediated signalings during viral infection (Hayakawa et al. Nat. Immunol. 12, 37-44, 2011: Yamada et al. Nat. Immunol. 17, 687-94, 2016). His research interests include the characterization of molecular mechanisms underlying cellular response to microbial infection and cancer, which contributes to the identification of possible molecular targets for those therapies. Particularly, his current research has been focused on the identification of DNA recognition molecules that triggers the activation of innate immune responses to microbes and tumor cells.

Dr. Takaoka has been an active member of Japanese Society of Interferon and Cytokine Research (JSICR) for more than ten years, and was President of JSICR from 2016 – 2019. He received the Japanese Society for Immunology Award in 2017 for his great achievements in molecular basis of innate cytokine responses. Currently, he is also working as one of the Associate Editors of Journal of Interferon and Cytokine Research.