Postdoctoral Alumni - Hiroshi Kurosaka
When Hiroshi Kurosaka joined the Stowers Institute as a postdoctoral researcher, he brought along something rather uncommon among Stowers postdocs—a D.D.S. degree. “Before joining the Institute, I was working as an orthodontist and conducting research related to tooth development at Okayama University in Japan,” he says.
But Kurosaka wanted more. “I also wanted to be at a place where I could dedicate myself to basic research,” he says. The Stowers Institute became that place after Kurosaka attended the 2010 Gordon Conference on Craniofacial Morphogenesis & Tissue Regeneration in Italy. During the meeting, Daisuke Sakai, Ph.D., a Stowers postdoctoral scientist in the laboratory of Paul Trainor, Ph.D., gave a research presentation.
“Because the research was impressive, I became interested in the Institute,” says Kurosaka, who subsequently traveled to meet with Trainor and his team. “It didn’t take long to make a decision because of the lab’s excellent research environment,” he recalls. In early 2011, Kurosaka joined the Institute.
During his more than three years in the Trainor lab, Kurosaka studied a mouse model of human cleft lip, which is marked by a fissure in the upper lip and is the most common physical birth defect. Before returning to Japan in 2014, Kurosaka was the first author of a Journal of Clinical Investigation paper reporting that interactions between two signaling pathways (sonic hedgehog and WNT) play a role in the abnormal fusion of the left and right sides of the fetal lip that results in cleft lip.
“Working in the Trainor lab was a precious experience since I could truly dedicate myself to performing science,” recalls Kurosaka, who praises the contributions of the Institute’s core centers as well as the collegial environment. “You could go to any lab at anytime to chat with various scientists and expand and improve your ideas,” he says. “Additionally, excellent scientists give weekly seminars at the Institute, and postdocs like myself had the opportunity to talk with them over lunch. As a result, I became aware of the significance of communication and interaction when you want to perform good science.”
While at the Stowers Institute, Kurosaka also held appointments as Adjunct Assistant Professor and then Assistant Professor in the Department of Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopedics at the University of Missouri-Kansas City.Today, Kurosaka is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopedics in the Graduate School of Dentistry at Osaka University. In addition to treating patients, he teaches and conducts research.