- Research mindset is a way of thinking and living as a physician-
In the world of basic sciences,
why don't you seek a PhD in addition to a clinical specialty?

Medical Sciences
消化器病態学分野 教授
Division of Gastroenterology Professor
正宗 淳
Atsushi Masamune

正宗 淳

High volume centerの臨床教室として

As a clinical department in The High Volume Center


私どもは消化器病の患者さんに研究成果を還元することを目標に、①遺伝子解析を基盤とした研究、②ビッグデータをはじめとする臨床情報、臨床検体を用いた新規診断・治療法の開発、③内視鏡検体など患者さんの検体からのオルガノイド作製、培養細胞・モデル動物による病態解明・治療法開発、④超高齢社会において、より安全性が高く、侵襲の少ない新規内視鏡治療法や関連機器の開発、の4つを主要な研究テーマとして取り組んでいます。最近の成果として、次世代シークエンサーを用いた網羅的解析により、膵炎の新しい感受性遺伝子としてカルシウムチャネルTRPV6を世界で初めて同定した(プレスリリース1)ほか、遺伝子多型に基づくチオプリン製剤使用時の副作用発現リスク診断法を開発し、すでに保険収載されています(プレスリリース2)。さらに、膵炎全国疫学調査による膵炎診療の実態解明や、超高齢化社会における“体にやさしい”消化器病診療を念頭とした、早期胃がん内視鏡治療後の出血予測システムの開発などの成果をあげています。High volume centerの臨床教室であることを最大限に活用し、臨床検体、臨床データを用いた研究が多いこと、学内外、国内外の施設との共同研究が多いという特徴があります。

●What is your reseach summary?

With the aim of returning the outcomes of our research to patients with gastroenterological diseases, we are working on following major research themes: (1) research based on genetic analysis, (2) development of new diagnostic and therapeutic methods using clinical information such as big data and clinical specimens, (3) elucidation of pathogenesis and development of therapies using organoids created from patient specimens such as endoscopic ones, cultured cells and model animals, and (4) development of new endoscopic treatments and related equipment with higher safety and less invasion for an aging society.
Recent achievements include the identification of the calcium channel TRPV6 as a new susceptibility gene for pancreatitis for the first time in the world through a comprehensive analysis using a next-generation sequencer (press release 1), and the development of a diagnostic method to detect the risk of adverse effects when using thiopurine drugs based on genetic polymorphisms, which has already been covered by insurance (press release 2).
Furthermore, we have achieved to clarify the actual status of pancreatitis treatment through a nationwide epidemiological survey and develop a system for predicting bleeding after early gastric cancer endoscopy treatment with a view to providing “health-friendly” treatment for patients with gastrointestinal diseases in a super-aging society.
Our department takes full advantage of the fact that we are a clinical department in The High Volume Center, which allows us to conduct a lot of research using clinical specimens and clinical data, and to conduct a lot of collaborative research with internal and external, national and international institutions.

press release1.
若年性膵炎の新しい原因遺伝子を発見 -カルシウムチャネルが膵臓を守る-

press release2.

press release3.
体に優しい手術をより安全に -早期胃がんに対する内視鏡治療後の出血予測モデルを開発-


A large proportion of young people and females in an open culture.



●What is the atmosphere in your department?

Although we are a large department with nearly 70 members, the average age of our members is 36 years old, which is quite young for a department that mainly accepts new members after the fifth year of medical school graduation, and our members come from various universities. Since mastering endoscopic techniques and instructing younger  generations are essential to the practice of gastroenterology, I believe that many of our members are good at guiding younger members in research as well.
Although there are four practice groups – upper gastrointestinal tract, lower gastrointestinal tract, biliopancreatic, and liver – the barriers between the groups are low, and the number of research groups collaborating on research is increasing, so there is good openness in the department.
The Division of Gastroenterology has an image of being  busy, but we are also tackling “Reform of work practices” in our department.  In fact, I am an occupational physician myself and a member of the Tohoku University Hospital Working Group on “Working Practices Reform”. Perhaps because of this, the number of female members has been increasing since I took charge of the department, and now 20% of the graduate students are females.
We are conducting a wide range of research, from clinical research to basic research using cells and mice, according to each member’s interests, fields of expertise and lifestyle.


Having Experiences that make you happy on the world stage



●What is your message to prospective students, including what you expect from them?

Our goal is to give back to patients with gastroenterological diseases through research that benefits them. Today, when people tend to value the obtaining of a medical specialist more than PhD, the development of a research mindset that explores questions and problems as a graduate student will become the bedrock of the way of your thinking and living as a doctor.
Instead of the choice of a medical specialist or PhD, why not pursue a medical degree in addition to your specialty? What you can experience only in graduate school is to feel the world. You will be able to present your work at international conferences and other international meetings, and your papers will be read by researchers around the world, so you are truly on the world stage.
We expect you to take the initiative and challenge yourself to try new things with interest, and to be willing to propose and develop your own research, and if possible, I hope that you will be able to  have a successful experience.
I want you to experience the joy brought by good research results, acceptance of papers, high praise at conferences, and awards. We will give you all the support you need to achieve this goal.



●What career paths are available after I completed the program? What are the graduates doing well?

In our department, students join the graduate program after completing their training program for a medical specialist or in the fifth year of their medical specialist.
As a result, many of them tend to return to clinical practice in hospitals as gastroenterologists, especially as experts in their own specialty, after completing graduate school. The department’s affiliated hospitals are mainly core hospitals and have a large number of younger residents. Our graduates are active not only in medical practice but also in guiding younger residents as attending doctors with a research mindset.
On the other hand, there are not a few members who continue to study or return to the university after working at a hospital to further improve their research and practice, or to study abroad.



Is it possible to study while working at a hospital or in a company?

It is possible. At present, seven of the first-year graduate students are doing research while employed as full-time physicians at Tohoku University Hospital.


A research environment where diversity is respected through an open-door policy



What are the advantages of Tohoku University?

As part of our research-first philosophy, we actively foster researchers, and we have a well-established system of support and collaboration within the university. The university has a wealth of human resources, and many of its researchers are among the world’s top-ranked, and through collaboration with them, we are able to conduct higher quality research.
The university is also well-equipped with a full range of research facilities, including a joint experimental facility, and has an excellent research environment. On the other hand, openness is also a philosophy, and I think it’s good that the university values diversity. We can say that our university respects the diversity of its students while complementing each other and developing their individual strengths. Above all, the history and traditions that our predecessors have built up over more than 100 years have given Tohoku University a strong presence at both national and international levels. I am sure that you will be proud to be a member of Tohoku University.

  • 写真1
  • 写真2
  • 写真3



I believe that research, which is published in top journals, is accomplished by a combination of chance and good luck.The identification of the world's first pancreatitis susceptibility gene, which I recently presented, had started with a patient who was referred to me from a distant hospital. He happened to be from the Tohoku region and his parents also visited the hospital, so we were able to perform a trio of analyses, which led to the identification of the susceptibility gene.
My joint research with a German researcher began when I happened to be with him at the baggage checkpoint at Prague airport and was invited to have a beer with him (see photo).
In addition, when I was at a loss as to where to contact for functional analysis, I received an email out of the blue from a professor at Kyoto University, an expert in this field, requesting that we provide him with our pancreatic cancer model mice.
Furthermore, when a knockout mouse experiment was requested for the revision of the paper, a lab just around the corner from my collaborator had that mouse.
It was truly a blessing of good fortune, and a strange match.
However, this kind of thing doesn't happen very often. Most of the time, it might have passed in front of us without notice.


Medical Sciences
消化器病態学分野 教授
Division of Gastroenterology Professor
正宗 淳
Atsushi Masamune

1990年東北大学医学部卒業、福島県厚生連白河厚生総合病院にて研修。1992年東北大学大学院医学系研究科入学、在学中にワシントン大学病態生物学教室留学。1996年大学院修了、大蔵省(現:財務省)仙台国税局診療所内科医師。1999年に帰局し東北大学医学部付属病院第3内科助手。同助教、院内講師、准教授を経て、 2018年東北大学大学院医学系研究科消化器病態学分野分野教授。2019年東北大学医学系研究科長特別補佐、東北大学病院消化器内視鏡センター長。

In 1990, graduated from Tohoku University School of Medicine, and interned at the Fukushima-ken Koseiren Shirakawa Koseisougou Hospital. In 1992, he entered the Tohoku University Graduate School of Medicine and studied at the Department of Pathobiology at the University of Washington. Completed graduate studies at Tohoku University Graduate School of Medicine in 1996, and became a doctor of internal medicine at the Sendai Regional Taxation Bureau of the Ministry of Finance. Returned to Tohoku University Hospital in 1999 to work as an assistant professor at the Third Department of Internal Medicine. After serving as an assistant professor, lecturer and associate professor at the same hospital, he was appointed as a professor at the Division of Gastroenterology, Tohoku University Graduate School of Medicine in 2018. In 2019, he became a special deputy to the Dean of Tohoku University Graduate School of Medicine and Director of the Gastrointestinal Endoscopy Center, Tohoku University Hospital.


研究概要(Research Outline)


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