Yamanashi Univ. SATO LAB


We are conducting research on biosynthesis of natural products, with three main tools: organic synthesis, computational chemistry (computer simulation), and biochemical experiments. The food, clothing and shelter that human beings need to live are strongly connected to the natural product (natural organic compounds) produced by plants and micro-organisms. For example, fibroin produced by silkworms is used to make silk, and natural rubber produced by plants is used to make tyres and many other industrial products.

In addition, terpene compounds produced by plants and micro-organisms are used in a wide range of products, including pharmaceuticals, agrochemicals, adhesives, plastic modifiers, flavourings, cleaning agents and electronic materials. For this reason, the discovery of new natural products is directly linked to the development of new materials for food, clothing and shelter.

However, with the depletion of natural resources becoming an increasing problem, the discovery of new natural products and their stable supply is becoming increasingly difficult.
The molecular structures of a wide variety of natural products are synthesised by a complex series of multi-step reactions within enzymes. Some enzymes are able to perform reactions that are still difficult in current organic synthetic chemistry. Moreover, they carry out these multi-step reactions with precision, accuracy, speed and efficiency.

At the same time, this means that there are many intermediates and transition states that are "highly reactive", "short-lived" and "inaccessible", making their isolation, structure determination and biosynthetic mechanisms extremely difficult.

If we can unravel the ingenious 'manufacturing' mechanisms of natural products and modify them to suit our purposes, we can expect to achieve not only scientific and academic results in organic and natural product chemistry, but also powerful tools for drug discovery and materials science!


For Students

In Sato Laboratory, we use a variety of methods, including organic synthesis experiments, theoretical chemistry, computer simulation, programming, and biochemical experiments, but Sato lab is "organic chemistry" laboratory.
In our laboratory, students will experience organic synthesis, computational chemistry, and biochemical experiments, and we hope that they will develop their strengths in any of these areas during their undergraduate and graduate studies.


Computational Chemistry

In Sato Laboratory, we will use software such as Gaussian, Amber, Gromacs, Rosetta, and Conflex to carry out our research. We will be working on DFT calculations for small molecules, MD calculations for macromolecules such as proteins, QM/MM calculations that combine both, conformation search using Conflex, and artificial enzyme design using Rosetta.


Related Papers


In Sato Laboratory, we carry out the experiment to prove the computational predictions. In synthetic organic chemistry experiments, students work on the synthesis of low-molecular-weight compounds and analyze reaction mechanisms and enzymatic reactions. In biochemistry experiments, students create enzymes using E. coli or other expression systems, and assay the enzyme reactions.


Related Papers

Yamanashi Univ. SATO LAB