Professor Osamu Kaneko

Speciality / Research theme / Keywords
Protozoology, Malaria, Molecular and Cellular Biology, Molecular Evolution, Population Genetics
Masters Programme



Personal/work Web page addresses


Research gate or Linked-in account links



  • Department of Protozoology, Institute of Tropical Medicine (NEKKEN), Nagasaki University, Japan.
  • Department of Medical Protozoology, Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, Nagasaki University, Japan


I graduated from Osaka City University Medical School, Japan in 1990 and then trained as an Orthopedic Surgeon for 2 years. Following that, I decided to spend 4 years studying malaria in Osaka City University’s Graduate School of Medicine. After I received my PhD, I worked in the Laboratory of Parasitic Diseases (Louis H. Miller Lab), NIAID, NIH, USA from 1997 to 1999. In 2000, I became a faculty member in the Department of Molecular Parasitology (Prof. Motomi Torii Lab), Ehime University School of Medicine, Japan and joined the Institute of Tropical Medicine, Nagasaki University as a full time professor in 2007. I was inspired to study malaria by the Prof. Kazuyuki Tanabe’s lecture in 1986. For more details, please read my memoir of Kazuyuki Tanabe published in Paraisotl Int (2014).


School of Tropical Medicine and Global Health

I am responsible for lectures and practices on Medical Protozoology, including malaria, African trypanosomiasis (sleeping sickness), American trypanosomiasis (Chagas disease), leishmaniasis, and intestinal protozoan infections.

Other teachings at Nagasaki University

  • Training course of Tropical MedicineI am responsible for lectures and practices on Medical Protozoology.
  • Liberal arts Education “Safety and Security of the Medical Field”I give lectures on Medical Protozoology.
  • School of Medical Sciences, School of Medicine (Medical Microbiology and Parasitology)I give lectures and guide practices on Medical Protozoology.
  • Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences (Infectious Diseases)- I am responsible for lectures (Medical Parasitology) and thesis research in the Program for Nurturing Global Leaders in Tropical and Emerging Communicable Diseases (TECD).- I am responsible for seminars, practices, and thesis research in the Program alongside TECD.


Malaria is a huge burden and responsible for many deaths in large areas of the tropical and sub-tropical world. In order to design and implement effective disease intervention strategies, I believe that one of the key priorities in malaria research should be the strengthening of our understanding of the basic biology of the parasite. My team is currently investigating some fundamental aspects of the parasite’s life cycle, such as the mechanisms behind red blood cell (RBC) invasion and the phenomenon of cytoadherence of parasite-infected RBCs using human malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum, monkey malaria parasite P. knowlesi and rodent malaria parasite P. yoelii. I am also engaged in the field studies conducted in Thailand to understand the P. vivax biology in collaboration with Dr. Jetsumon Sattabongkot (Mahidol Vivax Research Center, Faculty of Tropical Medicine, Mahidol University, Thailand) and molecular epidemiology of P. falciparum in Kenya in collaboration with Prof. Akira Kaneko (Department of Parasitology, Osaka City University, Japan). Recently, we started to conduct a research to establish novel malaria model using ungulate malaria parasites.
kaneko_osamu_document01RBC invasion by P. yoelii. Merozoite-stage parasite (arrowhead) invades into RBC within 30 seconds (0 – 25 s) and deformed RBC to spike-like shape (85 s).kaneko_osamu_document02Recombinant protein (green) expressed in P. falciparum co-localized with Maurer’s cleft protein (red) seen in the RBC cytosol outside of the malaria parasite. Nucleus is visualized with blue color.

The country/countries where you work currently

  • Thailand
  • Kenya

Five MOST IMPORTANT/INTERESTING recent publications

  1. Yahata K, Hart MN, Davies H, Asada M, Wassmer SC, Templeton TJ, Treeck M, Moon RW, Kaneko O. Gliding motility of Plasmodium merozoites. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 118:e2114442118. (2021/11) doi: 10.1073/pnas.2114442118.
  2. Osborne A, Manko E, Takeda M, Kaneko A, Kagaya W, Chan C, Ngara M, Kongere J, Kita K, Campino S, Kaneko O, Gitaka J, Clark TG. Characterizing the genomic variation and population dynamics of Plasmodium falciparum malaria parasites in and around Lake Victoria, Kenya. Sci Rep 11:19809. (2021/10) doi: 10.1038/s41598-021-99192-1
  3. Miyazaki S, Chitama BA, Kagaya W, Lucky AB, Zhu X, Yahata K, Morita M, Takashima E, Tsuboi T, Kaneko O. Plasmodium falciparum SURFIN4.1 forms an intermediate complex with PTEX components and Pf113 during export to the red blood cell. Parasitol Int 83:102358. (2021/04) doi: 10.1016/j.parint.2021.102358
  4. Ishizaki T, Asada M, Hakimi H, Chaiyawong N, Kegawa Y, Yahata K, Kaneko O. cAMP-dependent protein kinase regulates secretion of apical membrane antigen 1 (AMA1) in Plasmodium yoelii. Parasitol Int 85:102435. (2021/08) doi: 10.1016/j.parint.2021.102435
  5. Thawnashom K, Kaneko M, Xangsayarath P, Chaiyawong N, Yahata K, Asada M, Adams JH, Kaneko O. Validation of Plasmodium vivax centromere and promoter activities using Plasmodium yoelii. PLOS ONE 14(12):e0226884 (2019/12). doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0226884


When I was a medical student, I visited many tropical and subtropical countries and recognized that infectious diseases were still huge burdens in the world. Then, one day in a parasitology class, I learned that the disease malaria was a major problem, and thereafter I was fascinated by malaria and its causative pathogen, Plasmodium. Now I am conducting research to elucidate the molecular mechanism of host cell invasion and modification mechanisms by this parasite, toward finding weak points to combat the disease malaria.