Prof Kensei Nishida

The University of Tokushima Graduate School, Japan

Professor Nishida graduated from Kyoto Prefectural University of Medicine in 2001 and worked as a medical intern and resident at Kyoto First Red Cross Hospital. During his first four years as a physician, he sensed that digestive disease activity is often influenced by psychological factors and vice versa. This encouraged him to consider medical research especially in the field of gastroenterology and stress. He received his Ph.D. from the Tokushima University Graduate School in 2009 and served as a post-doctoral fellow in Professor James L. Manley’s Lab at Columbia University until 2011. As part of his work in the Manley Lab, he conducted research on RNA biology, specifically the mechanism of RNA splicing and polyadenylation. After returning to Japan, he worked as an Assistant Professor at the Institute of Health Biosciences at Tokushima University until 2014. Currently, he is an Associate Professor at the Institute of Biomedical Sciences at Tokushima University. His main research interests are: “How stress modulates the gut-brain axis” and “How the gut-brain axis modifies stress response.” Using microarray, his research team has found stress-responsive genes under several psychological stress conditions. Since 2006, using their original evaluation system of stress responses in humans, they have investigated the effects of probiotics on psychological stress responses. Their recently published results provided several pieces of evidence that probiotics potentially act as an anti-stress food. Moreover, one of the most interesting findings in their clinical trials is that probiotics have a potential effect on sleep quality. They believe that probiotics definitely stimulate the gut-brain axis and have more physiological impacts than previously expected. Their next research question is to figure out the molecular mechanism of the probiotic signaling pathway.