Department of Virology

Department of VirologyThis Department has been conducting basic and applied research on arthropod-borne viruses (arboviruses) such as Japanese encephalitis virus (JEV), dengue virus (DENV), Zika virus, Chikungunya virus (CHIKV) and severe fever with thrombocytopenia virus (SFTSV), as well as emerging infectious viruses, such as SARS virus and Nipah virus.


  • Professor Kouichi Morita
  • Associate Professor Moi Meng Ling
  • Associate Professor Shingo Inoue
  • Associate Professor Daisuke Hayasaka
  • Assistant Professor Takeshi Nabeshima
  • Assistant Professor Mya Myat Ngwe Tun
  • Visiting Professor Masanobu Ago
  • Visiting Researcher Toru Kubo
  • Visiting Researcher Yuki Takamatsu
  • Visiting Researcher Reo Uchida
  • Assistant Kazumi Jodai
  • Assistant Hiroko Kawabata
  • Assistant Kimiko Taniguchi
  • Graduate student Aung Kyaw Kyaw
  • Graduate student Phu Ly Minh Huong
  • Graduate student Bui Thu Thuy
  • Graduate student Luz Mark Anthony
  • Graduate student Nguyen Co Thac
  • Graduate student Tsuyoshi Ando

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Molecular epidemiology of arboviruses

We isolate DENV, JEV and CHIKV in Asia and African regions and conduct molecular epidemiological analysis to clarify international and inter-continental movement of these viruses. We also analyze unique genome sequences that are relevant to pathogenicity.

Research on viral pathogenesis and vaccine development using reverse genetics

We have developed infectious clones of JEV and DENV and identified gene functions by modifying various parts of the genes or constructing chimeric viruses. In addition, we are developing genetically engineered viruses as candidates for live attenuated vaccines.

Research on the pathogenicity of arboviruses and in vivo evaluation of therapeutic compounds

We elucidate the mechanism of pathogenicity and infectivity of arboviruses, such as JEV and SFTSV using a mouse model. We also evaluate the therapeutic effects of antiviral drugs and antiserum in vivo. A new dengue vaccine is under development by financial support of GHIT.

Development of rapid diagnostic assay for infectious diseases

Various tools for rapid diagnoses are being developed for flaviviruses and other emerging viruses using PCR, LAMP and nLC/MS technologies. Also, genetically engineered antigens are being developed to provide affordable serological tests for developing countries.

Research on emerging viral infectious diseases

Epidemiological studies on SARS virus, Severe Fever and Thrombocytopenia Syndrome virus (SFTS) and H5N1 avian influenza virus are being conducted in Viet Nam, Japan and other countries in the South East Asia.

Activities as a WHO Collaborating Center

The Department of Virology is designated as a WHO Collaborating Center for Reference and Research on Tropical Viral Diseases since 1993 and has been re-designated until the present. The Department has been collaborating with WHO in training WHO fellows from many developing countries and has deployed experts as WHO short-term consultants. In addition, Dr. Kouichi Morita was dispatched to WHO/WPRO as Regional Adviser on Communicable Diseases from 16 May 1995 to 15 May 1998. Dr. Futoshi Hasebe was also dispatched to WHO for a long term to collaborate in the global emerging infectious disease control program from March 2004 to March 2006. The Department initiated and held the First GOARN/WHO National Training Course in Nagasaki from 25 to 29 February 2008 in collaboration with WHO/WPRO.

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