Reiko Kuroda

 

KurodaReiko Kuroda

Japanese chemist, Reiko Kuroda is currently a professor at the Department of Life Sciences and Institute of Science and Technology at the Tokyo University of Science. For the past ten years she has been the leading figure of research projects carried out by the Kuroda Chiromorphology Laboratory, supported by the Japan Science and Technology Agency (JST), where biochemical chirality is investigated at the microscopic and macroscopic levels.

She earned her PhD in 1975 at the University of Tokyo, writing her thesis on the stereochemistry of chiral transition metal complexes. Later she continued her studies at the Chemistry Institute of King's College in London. She became more and more interested in biology, thus, she focused her attention on the examination of chirality within biochemistry, and eventually became a research fellow, and later honorary lecturer, at the Department of Biophysics of King’s College. She also worked as a research fellow at the Institute of Cancer Research in the UK. In 1986 she returned to Japan, where she was appointed as the first female associate professor and later full professor of her former university at the Department of Life Sciences. In addition to research, she also considers it important to improve the relationship between society and science, and has therefore promoted the creation of Science Interpreter Training Program at the University of Tokyo.

Her main field of research is the most extensive examination of chirality and chiromorphology at the microscopic and macroscopic levels. She has studied crystallization, the technical solutions of chiroptic spectroscopy, and the role of various chiral molecules, and chiral arrangements, for example in developmental biology.

Nowadays she is investigating the phenomenon of left-right asymmetry and chiromorphology. Her research points out that the genetically determined cytoskeletal dynamics and the chiral arrangement of blastomers of a zygote affects the left-right asymmetry of animals. In case of snails this symmetry decides whether they have a right or left-handed house, and consequently determines the location of the internal organs.

She has received numerous prestigious awards, such as the Saruhashi Prize, the Nissan Science Prize, the Yamazaki-Teiichi Prize, the Molecular Chirality Award, and L’Oreal-UNESCO Women For Science Award in 2013. She has received a number of governmental and international appointments, for example she is a member of the Japan Scientific Council, the UNESCO Japan National Committee, the Scientific Advisory Board to the UN secretary general, moreover, she was Vice-President of the ICSU between 2008 and 2011, and also she is a foreign member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences.

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