Kumamoto University’s Dr. Kenichi Miharada awarded this year’s Heisei Memorial Research Grant from the Japan Prize Foundation

Lead investigator Dr. Kenichi Miharada, a professor at Kumamoto University’s International Research Center for Medical Sciences (IRCMS) in Japan, has been selected for the 2022 Heisei Memorial Research Grant from the Japan Prize Foundation.

Credit: Dr. Kenichi Miharada, Kumamoto University, IRCMS

Lead investigator Dr. Kenichi Miharada, a professor at Kumamoto University’s International Research Center for Medical Sciences (IRCMS) in Japan, has been selected for the 2022 Heisei Memorial Research Grant from the Japan Prize Foundation.

Every year, the foundation selects between four to eight young cutting-edge researchers from a wide variety of fields in the sciences and humanities who have socially impactful research and awards them with a five to ten million yen Heisei Memorial Research Grant. The grant focuses on “knowledge integration” and collaborative research for the long-term pursuit of creating a better future for the world, even if the research is not necessarily expected to solve problems in the short term.

Dr. Miharada and his team were selected this year for their proposal, “Towards safe and stable transfusion therapies independent of blood donation.” The excellent collaboration of young international scientists is made of three researchers from Japan and one from Sweden.

  • Dr. Kenichi Miharada (PI, IRCMS)
  • Dr. Terumasa Umemoto (IRCMS)
  • Dr. Naoko Kajitani (Uppsala University, Sweden)
  • Dr. Masumi Yamada (Chiba University, Japan)

After learning of the selection, Dr. Miharada said, “We are developing a method for producing red blood cells in vitro to solve the global shortage of blood for transfusion. Recently, we established a semi-infinitely proliferating red blood cell souce, called the immortalized human erythroblast cell line (or “ELLU cells” for short), but there are still technical challenges in producing stable and functional red blood cells. With support from the Heisei Memorial Research Grant and this strong interdisciplinary team of young researchers, I am confident that we will be able to advance our work further torward the realization of an in vitro red blood cell production method.”


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