Okayama University


Pharmaceutical Sciences student Kanehara wins Encouragement Award in Japan Student Services Organization Student of the Year Award

November 24, 2017

Fifth year Okayama University Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences student Kanae Kanehara has received an encouragement award in the “Academic Category” of the Japan Student Services Organization’s (JASSO’s) 2017 Student of the Year Award, which honors outstanding students.

Kanehara’s research group is studying membrane proteins, important as targets for drug discovery research. Among membrane proteins, which take part in biological functions in various living organisms, her group is focusing on microbial rhodopsin, the activity of which can be easily discerned through color and changes in color and is governed by light. They discovered a molecule with such extreme stability it set a new world record, and named it “RxR.”

Their results were carried in the general science journal “Scientific Reports,” published by the Nature Publishing Group, and were even taken up by the mass media.

Kanehara talks about her aspirations, saying, “I aim to identify the mechanism of RxR’s extreme heat stability and put it to use in helping stabilize unstable proteins and in developing new pharmaceuticals.”