Labs and Faculty
Core Laboratories
Laboratory of Plant Functional Analyses

OHTANI Misato Assoc. Prof. Ph.D.

Other Affiliations: RIKEN (Visiting Researcher)・Nara Instituted of Science and Technology(Visiting Associate Professor)

Plant molecular genetics, Wood science, RNA biology


Totipotency, Plant environmental response, Woody biomass, RNA metabolism, Cell wall, Water-conducting cell


"If aliens came to Earth, they would first try to make contact with plants.” − I once came across a passage in a science fiction novel like this. Yes, plants are the dominant species on our earth. We tend to think of plants as quiet and slow because of their low mobility. However, actually, their insides are full of life activities that are dynamic, active, and with unexpected tactics. We are working on plants, to understand why living organisms are able to perform various functions at the molecular levels. If you have interests in our research, let's work together on the mysteries of plants.


Her strong interest in the totipotency of plant cells led her to the plant research. As a graduate student, she performed molecular genetical and molecular biological analyses on a novel Arabidopsis thaliana mutants that showed abnormal organ regeneration, which is one of the examples of totipotency expression. After receiving a Ph.D., she continued the above research as a researcher in RIKEN, along with a research on xylem vessel cell differentiation using a wide range of plant species, such as poplar and Physcomitrella patens, with omics analysis. She has also shown the importance of RNA metabolism in plant organ regeneration and established “Researcher’s Network for Plant RNA in Japan.” After moving to Nara Institute of Science and Technology (NAIST) as an Assistant Professor, she has been conducting research on plant RNA metabolism, and evolutionary developmental studies of water-conducting cell differentiation. As the results, the multifaceted post-transcriptional regulation of gene expression to control plant cell proliferation and differentiation has been revealed. In 2019, she will join the University of Tokyo as Associate Professor of Graduate School of Frontier Sciences, where she run the Laboratory of Plant Functional Analyses. She conducts multi-angled plant researches, from micro level (molecular) to macro level (individual tree), in order to "understand how plants live in terms of molecules.

  • Scene of experiments in the lab

  • Measurement of tree shape at the Botanical Garden (Nikko) of University of Tokyo


2019-Present Associate Professor in Graduate School of Frontier Sciences, The University of Tokyo
2014 Assistant Professor in Nara Institute of Science and Technology
2010 Researcher in RIKEN
2006 Special Postdoctoral Researcher in RIKEN
2005 Received Ph.D. in Science from Graduate School of Science, The University of Tokyo
2000 Graduated from Faculty of Sciences, The University of Tokyo