Professor Emeritus of the University of Tokyo Dr. Keiko Kai
Graduated from the Department of Veterinary Medicine, Faculty of Agriculture, University of Tokyo in 1978, and completed the doctoral course at the University of Tokyo Graduate School in 1983. Veterinarian Doctor of Agriculture. Since 1999, he has been a professor at the Institute of Medical Science, the University of Tokyo. Within the institute, he has served as the director of the Experimental Animal Research Facility, the director of the Amami Disease Animal Research Facility, the director of the Human Disease Research Center, and the deputy director. He is also a professor at the Center for Infectious Diseases International Research. Outside of university, he is a regular member of the Science Council of Japan. He has served as chairman of the National University Corporation Animal Experiment Council, member of the Science and Technology Council of the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, vice chairman of the Scientific Research Fund Subcommittee, chairman of the subsidy examination subcommittee, and member of the Central Pharmaceutical Affairs Council of the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare. After retiring from the Institute of Medical Science, he is now a specially appointed professor at the Institute of Industrial Science, University of Tokyo.
Started virus research in 1990. In 2005, he succeeded in artificially synthesizing Nipah virus for the first time in the world, working on a small-scale epidemic of Nipah virus infection in Asia such as Malaysia and Bangladesh. We are working on elucidating the mechanism of emerging infectious diseases that spread damage across species and developing vaccines that can completely protect against Nipah virus. For various paramyxoviruses (measles virus, canine temper virus, bovine epidemic virus, nipavirus), we are developing a reverse genetics system, elucidating the pathogenic mechanism and developing and researching defense methods, especially in the Asian region. For the lethal nipavirus that emerged, we succeeded in developing the world’s first technology, which brought progress to basic research and also succeeded in developing a bivalent vaccine using a recombinant measles virus vector. Currently, with the support of the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), we are promoting practical research through international joint research. In this international joint research, CEPI has decided to provide a total of 31 million dollars (about 3.44 billion yen) for the anti- Nipah virus vaccine practical development research developed by Professor Kai and others. This is the first project in Japan that has been adopted. We have developed an oncolytic recombinant measles virus and are promoting practical research.