Department of Developmental Medicine

Department of Developmental Medicine

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Worldwide, 15 million babies are born each year prematurely, and one million of these children die from premature birth or its complications. Preterm birth is defined as delivery at 22 to 37 weeks of gestation. The preterm birth rate in Japan occupies about 6%, meaning that approximately 50,000 premature babies are born annually. Preterm birth is associated with respiratory, neurological, and other complications in the infant, which have been the most significant challenge for perinatal care. Until now, prevention of preterm birth is the most effective way to decrease perinatal deaths and subsequent disability due to complications and is also an essential issue in the fight against declining birth rates.

It is estimated that one-third of preterm births are caused by bacterial infection or inflammation in utero. Eliminating pathogenic microorganisms from immunocompromised individuals, such as pregnant women, the elderly, and newborns, is refactory. Pregnant women and newborns can develop severe infections from bacteria that are not generally highly pathogenic. It is even more challenging to deal with bacteria resistant to antimicrobial agents(drug-resestant bacteria). We are also working to develop diagnostic techniques and new innovative treatment methods to control the bacteria that cause premature birth, which leads to the exhaustion of the next generation.

(Our Task)

  • Pathophysiology of Intrauterine Infection.
  • Prevention and Treatment of Intrauterine Infections
  • Development of Nucleic Acid Amplification Methods for Microorganism Detection.

(Urgent Task)

  • Detection of SARS-CoV-2 and its Genome Analysis for Epidemiological Investigation.


Head Itaru Yanagihara, M.D., Ph.D.
Research Fellow Fumiko Nishiumi, Ph.D.
Research Associate

Heng Ning Wu, Ph.D.

Yukiko Nakura, B. Eng

Visiting Scholar Hiroyuki Kitajima, M.D., Ph.D.
Mituhide Hamaguchi, M.D., Ph.D.
Yukie Ito, M.D.
PhD Course Student Xianya Zou, M.D.
(Osaka University Graduate School of Medicine)
Clinical Researcher

(Department of Intensive Care Medicine)

Muneyuki Takeuchi, M.D., Ph.D.

Atsushi Kawamura, M.D.

Miyako Kyogoku, M.D.

Kosuke Moroishi, M.D.

(Department of Neonatology)
Nozaki Masatoshi, M.D., Ph.D.

Katsuya Hirata, M.D.

(Department of Obstetrics)

Haruna Kawaguchi, M.D., Ph.D

Ryo Yamoto, M.D.

Training Researcher

(Fujita Clinic)

Ikuko Kotani, B. Agr




Itaru Yanagihara, MD, PhD
Head, Dept Developmental Medicine,

Research Institute, Osaka Medical Center for Maternal and Child Health,
840 Murodo-cho, Izumi-city, Osaka 594-1101, Japan
Tel +81-725-56-1220 Fax +81-725-57-3021
e-mail: itaruy@
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