IDAC's Global Affiliations

IDAC's Global Affiliations

Japan's Center for Smart Aging Research

IDAC: Japan's Center for Smart Aging Research

Ryuta Kawashima

Director, IDAC

As Director of IDAC, I'm busy everyday and there's nothing better than riding my Kawasaki Ninja ZX-14R to wash away my stress!

Hozumi Motohashi

Deputy Director, IDAC

"A recipe has no soul unless you put chemistry into it."
Cooking is not exactly something I enjoy doing. Rather, it is the love for my son that gives me the drive to make his favorite dish: Braised Pork.

Ahmad Faiz

Dept. of Medical Engineering & Cardiology

" has definitely become more fun to do
challenging tasks and I am now even more
motivated to grasp new knowledge and skills!"

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Greeting & Mission

Health and Longevity through SMART-AGING.Screenshot (99)

IDAC is Japan's Center for Smart-Aging Research. We are a unique institute that is part of Tohoku University and we are affiliated with other national universities that also promote aging sciences.


It is a well-known fact that Japan’s population is aging faster than any other country in the world, and the need for aging research is becoming greater each day. Currently, the elderly make up more than 25% of the population, and in addition to the decline in birthrate, there is also a decline in the working population. In order to maintain a healthy society, it is clear that urgent measures must be taken to support an aging population.


The purpose of our institute is to shed light on the basic mechanisms of aging and to control age-related diseases, such as dementia and intractable cancers. To achieve our goals, we promote research under 3 main groups: (1) molecular mechanisms of aging and the self defense system, (2) molecular mechanism of carcinogenesis and cancer growth, and (3) brain maturation and aging. IDAC is one of the very few research institutes in the world that manages comprehensive multi-hierarchical medical research to focus on the complex mechanism of aging, by methods ranging from studying genes and cells using molecular biology techniques to directly studying people.


Specifically, our ultimate goal is to realize “smart-aging”, which refers to the development and maturation of individual abilities as one gets older, where everyone can welcome old age with liveliness and continue to be an active part of society. To make this possible, our goal is to provide medical support and policies as well as becoming a leading research center by showing the world that we can effectively manage a super-aging society. As time passes, it is critical for individuals and the population as a whole to remain healthy and continue to have the vitality for growth and wisdom.


We call this approach “SMART-AGING”.


-Ryuta KAWASHIMA, MD, Director of IDAC



Notable Alumni

IDAC's Alumni of the Month:

Professor Taizo Kumagai, founder of IDAC

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July 19, 1880 - February 19, 1962


Scientist and Doctor of Internal Medicine


President, Tohoku University


Director and Founder, the Research Institute for Tuberculosis and Leprosy


Advisor, Chiba Institute of Technology


Awarded 2nd place for the Order of the Rising Sun


Professor Kumagai was born and raised in Shiojiri, Nagano. After earning his doctorate in Internal Medicine from the Tohoku Imperial University School of Medicine, he attended the University of Berlin, Germany, from 1911-1913 to study immunology, experimental therapeutics, and medical chemistry. After returning to Japan, he began his research on insulin usage to combat diabetes and tuberculosis, especially with BCG. Shortly thereafter, he founded the Research Institute for Tuberculosis and Cancer, which is known today as IDAC.

History of IDAC

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The Research Institute for Tuberculosis and Cancer (formerly the Research Institute for Tuberculosis and Leprosy), was founded in 1941 by the late professor Taizo KUMAGAI as its director. At the time the Institute was established, it was the second Research Institute of Tohoku University with the purpose of overcoming leprosy and tuberculosis, with departments in three different disciplines: Internal Medicine, Leprosy and Pathological Anatomy.


In 1944, three more departments were added, namely Bacteriology, Biochemistry and Pharmacology. A few years shortly thereafter, the Departments of Surgery and Pediatrics were added in 1950 and 1953. Since then, the area of research has been widened to cover both fundamental and clinical oncology. The practical knowledge and expertise acquired during almost two decades of tuberculosis research was then applied to the study of cancer. As a result, the Department of Lung Cancer was established in 1958 and the Department of Cancer Chemotherapy in 1962.


After several years of in-depth research, an informal committee of professors from the Institute declared a new ambitious program on cancer research in August 1966. Since then, a number of cancer research projects have been subsidized by the Ministry of Education, Science, Sports and Culture, together with other Ministries of the Japanese Government. Subsequently, the Department of Radiology was established in 1967 and the Department of Clinical Cancer Chemotherapy in 1969.


Due to a growth in research facilities and staff, the Institute took another great leap forward in July 1977, when it moved from the Hirose-machi area to its present site located in Seiryo-machi. During the transition, the Department of Leprosy was replaced by the Department of Immunology, and the Department of Microbiology (formerly the Department of Bacteriology), was reorganized as the Department of Cell Biology. Two years later, the Department of Medical Engineering and Cardiology was established in 1979.


The Institute’s long history was marked by another milestone when the Tumor Cell Repository attached to the Institute was inaugurated in 1984 in order to meet the demand of researchers throughout Japan and the world. By this time, the Institute comprised of thirteen Departments, a Cancer Cell Repository, an Animal Laboratory for Tumor Research, and a Radioisotope Laboratory. Almost a decade later in 1993, the establishment was renamed as the Institute of Development, Aging and Cancer (IDAC) to reflect its commitment to Smart-Aging research. At this point in IDAC’s modest history, the Institute consisted of five Divisions: Gene Research, Developmental Biology and Medicine, Organ Pathophysiology, Cancer Control and Brain Sciences, including sixteen departments with full research facilities.


In 1997, the Cancer Cell Repository was converted to a Cell Resource Center for Biomedical Research, and the Genome Research Center was founded in 2004. Five years later, the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports and Science officially recognized IDAC as a Research Center for Aging and Cancer in 2009. In December 2018, the Department of Cognitive Health Science was established; and in addition, the Department of Metabolic Bioregulation in January 2019. The Institute is often abbreviated and called “Kareiken” in Japanese.



Successive directors and hospital directors

Research Institute of Tuberculosis and Leprosy

Directors (since establishment in 1941)

  • Taizo Kumagai (1941-1948)
  • Toshiaki Ebina (1948-1963)
  • Saburo Sato (1963-1968)
  • Chikashi Suzuki (1968-1974)
  • Tatsuo Saito (1974-1978)
  • Haruo Sato (1978-1984)
  • Kiyoshi Konno (1984-1987)
  • Shigeru Tsuiki (1987-1990)
  • Akira Wakui (1990-1991)
  • Masakichi Motomiya (1991-1992)
  • Tamio Watanabe (1992-1993)


Institute of Development, Aging and Cancer


  • Tamio Watanabe (1993-1996)
  • Tasuke Konno (1996-1998)
  • Shigefumi Fujimura (1998-2000)
  • Masuo Obinata (2000-2006)
  • Hiroshi Fukuda (2006-2012)
  • Masanobu Satake (2012-2014)
  • Ryuta Kawashima (2014-present)


Research Institute of Tuberculosis and Leprosy

Hospital directors (since establishment in 1964)

  • Sutemi Oka (1964-1973)
  • Tatsuo Saito (1973 -1974)
  • Kiyoshi Konno (1974-1982)
  • Akira Wakui (1982-1984)
  • Tasuku Nakata (1984-1989)
  • Akira Wakui (1989-1990)
  • Masayoshi Motomiya (1990-1991)
  • Shigefumi Fujimura (1991-1993)


Institute of Development, Aging and Cancer

Hospital directors

  • Shigefumi Fujimura (1991-1993)
  • Ryunosuke Kanemaru (1998-2000)


Research Facilities

IDAC's world renowned research facilities are spread across three buildings and divided into seven divisions. Within these division are a total of twenty-two laboratories collaborating with one another to achieve "smart-aging". In addition, IDAC has three special facilities within the institute: the Cell Resource Center for Biomedical Research, the Smart Aging Research Center (S.A.R.C.) and the Pre-Clinical Research Center.

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Division of Aging Science

Dept. Gene Expression RegulationHozumi MOTOHASHI
Dept. Experimental ImmunologyToshiyuki TAKAI
Dept. ImmunobiologyKoetsu OGASAWARA
Dept. Molecular and Cellular BiologyHisanori HORIUCHI
Dept. Metabolic Bioregulation
Dept. Modomics Biology and MedicineFan-Yan WEI
Dept. Project ProgramsRyuta KAWASHIMA
Dept. In SilicoKengo KINOSHITA


Division of Cancer Science

Dept. Vascular BiologyYasufumi SATO
Dept. Molecular OncologyKozo TANAKA
Dept. Cancer BiologyNatsuko CHIBA
Dept. Clinical OncologyChikashi ISHIOKA
Dept. Thoracic SurgeryYoshinori OKADA


Division of Brain Science

Dept. Developmental NeurobiologyToshihiko OGURA
Dept. Functional Brain ImagingRyuta KAWASHIMA
Dept. Human Brain ScienceMotoaki SUGIURA
Dept. Nuclear Medicine and RadiologyYasuyuki TAKI
Dept. Geriatrics and GerontologyHiroyuki ARAI
Dept. Cognitive Health ScienceRyuta KAWASHIMA


Division of Cognitive Neuroscience

Div. Cognitive NeuroscienceRyuta KAWASHIMA


Cell Resource Center for Biological Research

The purpose of the Cell Resource Center for Biomedical Research is the collection, establishment, quality control, distribution of useful cell lines, and the construction of an extensive database for researchers worldwide.

Cell Resource Center for Biomedical ResearchYasuhisa MATSUI


Pre-Clinical Research Center

The Pre-Clinical Research Center's main purpose is to determine the safety and effectiveness of devices, diagnostic products and treatment regimens that may be used for the prevention, treatment and diagnosis of diseases before any clinical trials begin.

Dept. Pre-Clinical EvaluationTomoyuki YAMBE
Dept. Medical Engineering and CardiologyTomoyuki YAMBE
Dept. Ubiquitous SensingRyuta KAWASHIMA
Dept. Biomedical MeasurementsYoshifumi SAIJO
Dept. Respiratory EngineeringYoshinori OKADA



Common Facilities

IDAC features several common facilities located on the 1st floor of the Basic Aging Building to assist and provide its members the opportunity to advance their research. In addition, dedicated staff provide support to not only IDAC members, but visitors coming to the institute as well.

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Common Facilities

Laboratory Animal ResourcesToshiyuki TAKAI
Center of Research InstrumentsFan-Yan WEI
The Global Affairs and Public Relations OfficeRyuta KAWASHIMA
Administration OfficeAdministration Office


IDAC Fellow

IDAC FellowAkira YASUI
IDAC FellowYukitsuka KUDO



Brain Imaging

IDAC is one of the most distinguished research institutes in the world for brain imaging with its advanced imaging facilities and large scale brain image databases that brings IDAC to the forefront of brain research.

Cell Center

The Cell Resource Center for Biomedical Research was established to collect, control, and distribute various human and animal cancer cells, while providing an extensive database for researchers worldwide. Cell lines include transplantable animal cell lines, such as the Yoshida sarcoma and rat ascites hepatoma (AH series), as well as human cell lines such as the murine and hybridoma cells.

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The Center of Research Instruments was established in April 2003 to manage IDAC's laboratory equipment for medical and biological research. The following is a list of available instruments for all IDAC members to utilize.

Equipment Function Manufacturer
LAS4000mini Quantitative Imaging of Gels & Blots by Chemiluminescence GE Healthcare
FLA-7000 Laser Scanner. Fluorescence, IP, and Digitization GE Healthcare
ABI PRISM 310 Genetic Analyzer Applied Biosystems
ABI 3130 Genetic Analyzer,4-capillary Applied Biosystems
ABI 3130xl Genetic Analyzer,16-capillary Applied Biosystems
LSM5 PASCAL Confocal Laser Scanning Microscope Carl Zeiss
BIACORE2000 Bio-Molecular Interaction Analysis GE Healthcare
DU 640 UV/VIS Spectrophotometer BECKMAN
SpectraMax M2e Microplate Reader Molecular Devices
Lmax II 384 Luminometer Molecular Devices
OPT Scanner 3001 Optical Projection Tomography Medical Research Council Technology
BR-3000L Bioshaker TAITEC
Cytomics FC500 Flow Cytometry Systems, 5-color Analysis BECKMAN COULTER
EPICS ALTRA Flow Cytometry Systems, Hyper Sort Cell Sorting System BECKMAN COULTER
MC10000 Wide Format Printer EPSON
iPF8300 Large-Format Inkjet Printer CANON
AVIZO High Performance 3D Visualization Software VSG
CS150GX Micro Ultra Centrifuge  Hitachi Koki
CM1900 Disinfecting Cryostats for Sectioning LEICA
BZ-9000 Fluorescence Microscopy KEYENCE
HA-320RS Laminator(Pouch) MEIKO SHOKAI
CP65 β Ultracentrifuge Hitachi Koki Co., Ltd.
4D-Nucleofector Transfection Lonza
IVIS Lumina II Quantitative Fluorescent and Bioluminescent Imaging in Vivo SPI (Caliper Life Sciences)
FV1000MPE Multiphoton Laser Scanning Microscope OLYMPUS




Admission & Courses


IDAC is always on the look-out for talented individuals who excel in their area of ​​study and are able to find practical applications for their research. If you would like to join us for your future endeavors, please choose your area of interest to find out more about what we do and what we have to offer.


Mechanisms of Aging


Overcoming Intractable Cancers


Overcoming Age-Related Brain Diseases


Achieving "Smart Aging"

Maps & Directions

Institute of Development, Aging and Cancer, Tohoku University 4-1 Seiryocho, Aobaku, Sendai 980-8575, Japan


Institute Map

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Seiryo Campus Map

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Access from Sendai Station

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Proceed to the subway entrance at the lower ground level of Sendai Station. Get on the train bound for Izumi-Chuo Station. In around 4 minutes, you will arrive Kita-Yobancho Subway Station. IDAC is around 15 minutes on foot after exiting the Kita-Yobancho Subway Station. Subway trains usually operate in 3 to 13 minute intervals.



Proceed to the bus terminal right outside of Sendai Station and head toward bus stop #25. Board the Sendai city bus #899 to Shiheimachi/Kitayama-Jyunkan. Stay on the bus for around 20 minutes, then disembark at the stop labeled "Daigaku-Byoin-Mae". This bus stop is directly in front of the Tohoku University Hospital. Head north for around 5 minutes to reach IDAC. The city buses run in 20 minute intervals.



From Sendai Station, IDAC is around 10 - 15 minutes by taxi service, and will cost around 1,500 - 2,000 yen.


Access from Sendai International Airport (SDJ)

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Sendai Airport to Sendai Station via Sendai Airport Access Line will take around 30 minutes and costs 650 yen.




Give to IDAC

Join us to drive the development of new knowledge and to develop evidence-based solutions for improving the lives of millions.


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The Institute of Development, Aging and Cancer (IDAC) will always be a place where the best young minds can come to find their life’s work. Help us provide more scholarships and fellowships, and at the same time bring new richness to the student experience: more opportunities to interact with professors, to engage in independent research, to participate in internships, community-focused programs, and to make new innovative discoveries.


We gratefully welcome donations for the purpose of improving and developing academic research and education at IDAC. For online donations, please click on the "Give to IDAC" button below (secure external site) and kindly mention IDAC as the beneficiary. For direct deposit donations, please contact IDAC's Office of Accounting via e-mail and/or phone.


Thank you in advance for your kind consideration and your donation.


Office of Accounting, IDAC

Phone: +(81) 227-178-447





Contact Us

Institute of Development, Aging and Cancer, Tohoku University 4-1 Seiryocho, Aobaku, Sendai 980-8575, Japan

Phone: +(81) 22-717-8496

Overcoming Intractable Cancers

Research focusing on overcoming intractable cancers consists of the following departments.

Overcoming Age-Related Brain Diseases

Research focusing on overcoming intractable cancers consists of the following departments.

Achieving "Smart Aging"

Research focusing on achieving "smart aging" consists of the following departments.


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“I am now even more motivated to grasp new knowledge and skills!”


My place in Sendai!

Sendai is truly different from any other city in Japan that I have so far visited. Although it is definitely one of the bigger cities, you can reach the main Sendai station in less than ten minutes from campus by scooter bike. Compared to Osaka where I moved form after my undergraduate, Sendai is so convenient! Overall, similar like any other cities or towns in Japan, Sendai has a great transportation system that includes (bus, train and subway); although train stations or bus stops in Sendai are not as frequent of plentiful as Tokyo or Osaka, they are capable enough to serve the commuting public, which consists mostly of salarymen and students.

The laboratory that I am currently affiliated with (the Dept. of Medical Engineering & Cardiology), has a very supportive environment. At any time, I can ask the professors and senior students about things related to experiments and other projects. Since my undergraduate background is relatively different from my current interest, I have to learn a lot of new skills from ‘zero’. It was quiet exhausting at first, but since I have become more accustomed to the way things work in and around the laboratory, it has definitely become more fun to do challenging tasks and I am now even more motivated to grasp new knowledge and skills. It is a blessing to be part of IDAC, and I hope to one day contribute to society as soon as I graduate from this distinguished institute!


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Contact Us

Institute of Development, Aging and Cancer, Tohoku University 4-1 Seiryocho, Aobaku, Sendai 980-8575, Japan

Phone: +(81) 22-717-8496

Hokkaido Regional Affiliates

Chugoku Regional Affiliates

Shikoku Regional Affiliates