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Medical Engineering

  • Yasuo Ogasawara, Ph.D. Associate Professor

Emphasis and outline of education

What the history of modern science since Galileo Galilei teaches us is that scientific understanding begins with precise observations of subjects. Taking some examples in the cardiovascular field, new breakthroughs have been brought about by technological developments such as the sphygmomanometer, the electrocardiograph, various types of CT, cardiac catheterization, the pulse-echo method, the Doppler echo method, the use of radioisotopes, and the electromagnetic flowmeter.

Measuring technology alone is insufficient for scientific understanding. What is required is integration of any measured phenomena. Scientific understanding is deepened through passing a spiral cycle of analysis and synthesis. Our approach of in-vivo measurements, evaluation and control is based on that standpoint, and forms the primary principle of our laboratory, adopted by System Medicine.

We provide lectures that instruct on basic and clinical knowledge using the aforementioned approach for physiology in the cardiovascular system mainly in ordinary classes, en block lectures and small group activities. For instance, we try to understand what the heart is from the viewpoint of energy, information and structure. Coronary circulation provides energy. The nervous system and endocrine system provide bio-information. Structure is realized with the myocardium and vessels. These three support one another. We elucidate the relationship among these three based on experiments, which are reflected in our lectures.

We expect our students to understand the “logic of life”, which represents the primary subject in physiology. Our laboratory is open to any enthusiastic students. Please come and see us whenever you like.

Main Areas and Themes of Study

Since we have adopted the approach of in-vivo measurement, evaluation and control from analytic and synthetic standpoints, our output should also be synthetic. At the beginning, we developed a light fiber laser Doppler method, a high frequency ultrasound Doppler flowmeter, and a high frequency echogram, and applied these to clinical use. Recently, we developed a CCD intravital videomicroscope which has dramatically propelled our investigations on the regulation of coronary circulation. We have introduced molecular blood flow tracers, nitric oxide and superoxide sensors, and an NADH fluorescence measuring system. These have all contributed to produce interesting results. We are investigating the genesis and development of atherosclerosis with new imaging devices such as a confocal laser-scanning microscope and an atomic force microscope in collaboration with clinical laboratories. The findings are incorporated into our coronary circulation model, which will explain the manner by which coronary flow is regulated and how it is altered by coronary disease.

We are not only concentrating on research and development of new technology, but also heading toward the boundaries of biotechnology and medical engineering with endless expansion of our activities. Our advancements continue through collaboration with other institutes.