Ryuji Morizane M.D. Ph.D.
Assistant Professor, Department of Medicine, Harvard Medical School
Research Staff, Nephrology Division, Massachusetts General Hospital
Affiliated Faculty, Harvard Stem Cell Institute
Visiting Scholar, Wyss Institute, Harvard University
Dr. Morizane has earned an M.D. in 2005 as well as a Ph.D. in 2011 at Keio University School of Medicine in Japan. He has a long-standing interest in translational research using pluripotent stem cells especially for kidney diseases and drug discovery, and understanding mechanisms of kidney injury, repair and fibrosis. He has been working on pluripotent stem cell research since 2007 when he became a graduate student at Graduate School of Keio University in Japan under the mentorship of Professors Toshiaki Monkawa, Hiroshi Itoh, and Hideyuki Okano. He identified growth factors and transcription factors to promote the differentiation of pluripotent stem cells into kidney lineage cells, and published several publications related to kidney differentiation from pluripotent stem cells, kidney injury and fibrosis, and rare kidney diseases. He became an Instructor (Principal Investigator) at Keio University School of Medicine in 2011 with his own funding and continued his work at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. He worked with Lam and Bonventre Labs from Harvard Stem Cell Institute, and contributed to establishment of the differentiation protocol from human pluripotent stem cells into intermediate mesoderm cells and proximal tubule-like cells. Then, he decided to move to Harvard Medical School from Keio University School of Medicine as an Instructor in 2015. To further facilitate the differentiation of human pluripotent stem cells into kidney lineages, he redesigned the differentiation approach where he precisely followed in vivo kidney development and established a protocol to induce nephron progenitor cells with nearly 90% efficiency within 8~9 days of differentiation, which subsequently differentiate into nephron (kidney) organoids containing multi-segmented nephron structures. This novel system has great potential for studies on kidney disease, nephrotoxicity of drugs, and kidney regeneration. In 2017, he was promoted to an Assistant Professor at Harvard Medical School. He received Research Excellence Award at Discover Brigham in 2015 and 2016, Career Development Award at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in 2016, Keio Young Investigator Award in 2019, and NIH Director's Innovator Award in 2019. He is a recipient of funding from the Uehara Memorial Foundation, Japan Society for the Promotion of Science, ReproCELL, Harvard Stem Cell Institute, and the Diabetic Complications Consortium.