Department of Microbiology

Department Head: Prof. Michiaki Masuda, MD, PhD

Message from the Department Head

     The Department of Microbiology was set up in 1973, the same year Dokkyo Medical University was founded. The professor at the time was Dr. Yoshihiro Yasumura, who established the cell line, Vero, from an African green monkey kidney. Vero cells are useful for isolating and propagating viruses due to them being unable to produce interferons. They have been utilized worldwide for discovering and characterizing a number of novel viruses including the latest, SARS-CoV-2. I was appointed as Professor of the Department of Microbiology in 2001, and my research has also been furthered by the use of Vero cells.
     The staff members of the Department of Microbiology are committed to the research and education in the field of microbiology at the cozy and convenient campus located in the town of Mibu. We would appreciate communicating with students, scientists, and medical professionals who may be interested in sharing their academic thoughts with us.


1. Research

  • Molecular mechanisms of retroviral pathogenesis
  • Replication mechanisms of flaviviruses
  • Development of diagnostic technologies for flaviviruses
  • Discovery and development of novel antiviral drugs
  • Development of chimeric antigen receptor (CAR)-T cells for immunotherapy
  • Characterization of pathogenic algae of Prototheca spp.
  • Development of effective programs for infection control education

2. Education

School of Medicine:

1st year Introduction to Gene Engineering
Career Plans as a Doctor (Clinical/Research)
Study Skills
2nd year Microbiology
Microbiology Laboratory Course
Basic Medicine Integrated Exercise
Medical Research Laboratory Course (Basic)
Problem-Based Learning Tutorial II
3rd year Medical English III
Pharmacology III
Medical Professionalism III
Medical Research Laboratory Course (Advanced)
4th year Clinical Reasoning I, II and III
6th year Infectious Disease and Infection Control
Elective Courses Medical Research Laboratory Assignment

3. Outreach Programs

  • The Michinoku Cram School for Virology
  • Virology laboratory course for high school students

Research Field

  • Medical and veterinary virology
  • Medical bacteriology
  • Medical mycology
  • Medical and veterinary phycology
  • Infectious diseases
  • Infection control
  • Medical education

Academic Society Activities

The Japanese Society for Virology
The Japanese Society for Medical Mycology
Japanese Society for Infection Control and Prevention
The Japanese Society for Vaccinology
Japanese Society for Immunology
Japan Research Association for Immunotherapeutics
The Japanese Society of Veterinary Science
International Society for Human and Animal Mycology
American Society for Virology

Faculty Members

Professor and Chairman:            Michiaki Masuda, MD, PhD
Senior Assistant Professor:         Tomohiro Ishikawa, PhD
Assistant Professor:                    Jun-ichi Nunoya, PhD
Assistant Professor:                    Hirotaka Sato, PhD

Characteristics of the Department

     The 21st century is said to be the return of the era of infectious diseases. In fact, a number of problems including COVID-19 are affecting our lives.
     The manifestation of infectious diseases is determined by the interaction between pathogenic microorganisms and host factors. For example, a virus can cause diseases because the host cells in the target tissue express molecules, such as receptors, that can assist viral replication. Alternatively host cells produce factors, such as cytokines and antibodies, which counteract proliferation of the pathogens. Therefore, knowing the more about microorganisms could lead us to the better understanding of the host, i.e., human. From this point of view, we carry out research in basic microbiology, investigating a variety of pathogenic microorganisms.
      Another mission of our department is education. Based on the premise that “every medical professional is to encounter patients with infectious diseases,” our goal is to familiarize the students with basic microbiology so that they can comprehensively understand the pathogenesis, diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of infectious diseases and practically apply the knowledge and skills at clinical settings. Opportunities are also available for those students who would like to actively participate in the research projects of the department.


Department of Microbiology
Dokkyo Medical University, School of Medicine
880 Kita-kobayashi, Mibu, Shimotsuga, Tochigi 321-0293, Japan