Takanari Inoue, Ph.D.

Headshot of Takanari Inoue
  • Professor of Cell Biology

Research Interests

Synthetic cell biology


Dr. Takanari Inoue is a professor of Cell Biology Department and a director of Center for Cell Dynamics at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

His research focuses on synthetic cell biology to dissect and reconstitute intricate signaling networks and dynamic cytoskeletal events.

The Inoue Lab develops a kind of actuator, converting energy to motion, at the molecular level with the high temporal and spatial precision to move and probe actions in live cells, such as chemotaxis, phagocytosis and degranulation, as well as the function of cilia, microtubules and stress granules. 

The findings have implications in treatment of neurodegenerative diseases, cancers, and polycystic kidney diseases.

Dr. Inoue received both his undergraduate degree in chemical biology and his Ph.D. in pharmaceutical science from the University of Tokyo. He completed postdoctoral training in chemical and systems biology at Stanford University. He joined the Johns Hopkins faculty in 2008.

He is a member of the American Society for Cell Biology, the Biophysical Society and the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

...read more


  • Professor of Cell Biology
  • Professor of Biological Chemistry
  • Professor of Biomedical Engineering
  • Professor of Pharmacology and Molecular Sciences

Departments / Divisions

Centers & Institutes



  • B.S.; University of Tokyo (Japan) (1998)
  • Ph.D.; University of Tokyo (Japan) (2003)

Additional Training

  • Stanford University, Palo Alto, CA, 2008, Chemical and Systems Biology

Research & Publications

Research Summary

Dr. Inoue and his lab have developed a series of chemical-molecular tools that allow for inducible, quick-onset and specific perturbation of various signaling molecules. Using this novel technique in conjunction with fluorescence imaging, microfabricated devices, quantitative analysis and computational modeling, the Inoue Lab is dissecting intricate signaling networks. They investigate positive-feedback mechanisms underlying the initiation of neutrophil chemotaxis (known as a symmetry breaking process), as well as spatio-temporally compartmentalized Ras signaling. In parallel, the lab also tries to understand how cell morphology affects biochemical functions in cells. Ultimately, the team’s research seeks to generate completely orthogonal nano-machinery in cells that can achieve existing, as well as novel, cellular functions.


Synthetic cell biology: total synthesis of cellular functions such as neutrophil chemotaxis and ciliary mechano-sensation

Our research focuses on "synthetic cell biology" to dissect and reconstitute intricate signaling networks. In particular, we investigate positive-feedback mechanisms underlying the initiation of neutrophil chemotaxis (known as a symmetry breaking process), as well as spatio-temporally dynamic information processing at various compartments in living cells. In parallel, our lab also tries to understand how cell morphology affects biochemical functions. Ultimately, we will generate completely orthogonal nano-machinery in artificial cells that can achieve existing, and even novel, cellular functions.

Our research is conducted in an open lab style building that embodies a multidisciplinary research approach. Students who are enthusiastic about learning diverse disciplines, developing innovative techniques and challenging fundamental biological problems would enjoy the environment. Students are always welcomed to our lab for discussions about potential research projects.

Lab Website: Inoue Lab

Selected Publications

View all on PubMed

Deb Roy A, Gross EG, Pillai GS, Seetharaman S, Etienne-Manneville S, Inoue T Non-catalytic allostery in α-TAT1 by a phospho-switch drives dynamic microtubule acetylation Journal of Cell Biology 2022;221:11:e1-20

Nihongaki Y, Matsubayashi HT, Inoue T. A molecular trap inside microtubules probes luminal access by soluble proteins Nature Chemical Biology 2021;17:888-895

Wu HD, Kikuchi M, Dagliyan O, Aragaki AK, Nakamura H, Dokholyan NV, Umehara T, Inoue T Rational design and implementation of a chemically inducible hetero-trimerization system Nature Methods 2020;17:928-936

Nakamura H, Lee AA, Afshar AS, Watanabe S, Rho E, Razavi S, Suarez A, Lin YC, Tanigawa M, Huang B, DeRose R, Bobb D, Hong W, Gabelli SB, Goutsias J, Inoue T Intracellular production of hydrogels and synthetic RNA granules by multivalent molecular interactions Nature Materials 2018;17:79-89

Phua SC, Chiba S, Suzuki M, Su E, Roberson EC, Pusapati GV, Schurmans S, Setou M, Rohatgi R, Reiter JF, Ikegami K, Inoue T Dynamic Remodeling of Membrane Composition Drives Cell Cycle through Primary Cilia Excision. Cell 2017;168:264-279

Contact for Research Inquiries

855 N. Wolfe Street
Rangos Building
Baltimore, MD 21205 map
Phone: 443-287-7668

Academic Affiliations & Courses

Graduate Program Affiliation

Biochemistry, Cellular and Molecular Biology Graduate Program

Biological Chemistry

Biomedical Engineering

Activities & Honors


  • The Young Scientists' Prize, Commendation for Science and Technology by the Ministry of Education Science Sports and Culture, 2014
  • PRESTO Investigator, Japanese Science and Technology, 2013
  • Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award, Quantitative Chemical Biology Program, 2004 - 2006
  • Young Investigator Award, American Association of Anatomists , 2014
  • Award for Young Scientists, The Pharmaceutical Society of Japan , 2013


  • American Society for Cell Biology, 2005
  • Japanese Society for Pharmaceutical Sciences, 1998
Is this you? Edit Profile
back to top button