interview06 Toshiya Sakata


What are you researching with JINS MEME?

My research focuses on monitoring biomolecules found in bodily fluids other than blood such as DNA, proteins, glucose and ions.

For instance, diabetes patients monitor their blood glucose levels everyday by drawing blood. In order to read blood glucose levels, it is customary to take small blood samples, but doing this regularly everyday can be challenging and a burden for some patients. This is why we are researching sensing methods using semiconductors to test glucose levels in body fluids other than blood by monitoring ions.

Our bodies secrete a number of body fluids, in addition to blood, that include perspiration, urine, saliva and tears. The composition of perspiration, urine, saliva is said to be influenced by environmental and emotional factors. Tears, on the other hand, are comparatively unaffected by these factors, and lend themselves to being used as windows into our physiological condition. I believe JINS MEME can be useful in measuring tear fluid composition without causing any discomfort or interruption to one’s everyday life.

Until now, we have successfully tested glucose levels with non-blood fluids in the lab, but have faced challenges when attempting to see the same success using actual devices. Specifically, when we attach sensors, we also require wireless communications to transfer data and that requires a power source. I believe we can get around these obstacles by using JINS MEME.

The greatest allure of JINS MEME is that it is easy to use. This is because with JINS MEME it is so simply; all you need to do to obtain data is to put the glasses on. It also features Wireless Bluetooth LE and rechargeable batteries, which means that the greatest hurdle in developing a sensor – the issue of power supply – can be overcome.

Currently, our research focuses on monitoring an array of biomolecules, including glucose, with JINS MEME and the sensor that we have developed.


What potential do you see in JINS MEME?

Until now, we were not able to gather data wirelessly and in real time with semiconductor sensors. This was due to the power supply and data transmission issues that I mentioned before. However, with JINS MEME we are able to overcome these issues and examine in real time changes in the various biomolecules present in our tears. So we thought that it would be amazing if we could use this technology to monitor in real time components in tears; for instance, glucose levels. Naturally, this technology can be used by diabetes patients to check their glucose levels, but it can also be useful for those who have been diagnosed as being pre-diabetic. We will be able to combine a patient’s current glucose readings and the product information from the foods they are about to eat to issue alerts notifying them if their glucose levels are likely to exceed permissible levels.

To date, doctors were only able to give pre-diabetic patients general advice. However, by integrating our technology with JINS MEME, doctors will be able to offer personalized guidance on what an individual can and cannot eat based on their glucose levels, and this will help in managing their condition through diet.

Moving forward, we hope to contribute to creating a world where lifestyle diseases such as diabetes can be prevented by wearing JINS MEME.

Toshiya Sakata

Ph. D (in Engineering) from Osaka University’s Graduate School of Engineering Science
Specializes in Materials Science
Research topic: Genetic transistors
In April 2003, he started working at the National Institute for Materials Science’s Biomaterials Centre.
In September 2006, he based his research out of the University of Tokyo’s Center for NanoBio Integration in his post as a Specially Appointed Lecturer.
In April 2011, he was appointed as Associate Professor, Department of Materials Engineering, Graduate School of Engineering, the University of Tokyo.

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