Integrated Biology Laboratories

Laboratory for Stem Cell Homeostasis

Assoc. Prof. MORITA Ritsuko Assoc. Prof. MORITA Ritsuko


Skin, Hair follicle stem cells, Homeostasis, Live imaging, Single cell omics

Elucidate the basic principles of the stem cell-based homeostatic system which maintains our bodies

The tissues and organs in our body are a cellular society composed of a wide variety of cells. Homeostasis of their structure and function is maintained by regulating the balance between self-renewal and differentiation of tissue stem cells, replenishing lost differentiated and damaged cells daily. Using skin and hair follicles as models, we will elucidate how the stem cell-based homeostatic system is emergent during development and understand the basic principles of the development of the multicellular system.

Development of hair follicles and the underlying stem cell system

Lineage analysis using the long-term live imaging of hair follicle development


Assoc. Prof. MORITA Ritsuko morita.ritsuko.fbs[at] Resarchmap
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What is your hot research topic?
The basis of the homeostatic system of tissue stem cells is generated during morphogenesis and is thought to be inherited after birth; however, the process of how and when the homeostatic system is established is still unclear. We aim to clarify the mechanisms for the establishment and initiation of the homeostatic system by focusing on the transitions of stem cells and organs from the embryonic stage (morphogenesis) to the adult stage (homeostasis).
Have you had any breakthroughs or significant research progress in the recent years?
Recently we identified the developmental origin of hair follicle stem cells by combining two comprehensive and unbiased single-cell methods: lineage analysis using the long-term live imaging of hair follicle development and time-course single-cell transcriptomes. Furthermore, we also proposed a "telescope model" to explain the mechanism of coordinated constituent cell fate determination and hair follicle development.
Do you collaborate with other institutions and universities?
We work closely with RIKEN to conduct basic research.
How do you develop your research?
We will understand the establishment of the homeostatic system in skin and hair follicles and develop new technologies to apply our results to research and medical fields.
What kind of background do your lab members have?
As this is a newly established laboratory, we are currently recruiting members. We welcome everyone with any background, expertise, or major.
What kind of careers do your Lab's alumni go on to?
As this is a newly established laboratory, we hope many students will become leaders in the fields they pursue in the future.

Research Highlights

Publications (Research Articles, Reviews, Books)


Ritsuko Morita and Hironobu Fujiwara

Tracing the developmental origin of tissue stem cells.

Dev Growth Differ. 64(9):566-576  2022 PMID:36217609 DOI:10.1111/dgd.12816


Ritsuko Morita, Noriko Sanzen, Hiroko Sasaki, Tetsutaro Hayashi, Mana Umeda, Mika Yoshimura, Takaki Yamamoto, Tatsuo Shibata, Takaya Abe, Hiroshi Kiyonari, Yasuhide Furuta, Itoshi Nikaido, and Hironobu Fujiwara

Tracing the origin of hair follicle stem cells.

Nature 594: 547_552  2021 PMID:34108685 DOI:10.1038/s41586-021-03638-5

Ko Tsutsui, Hiroki Machida, Asako Nakagawa, Kyungmin Ahn, Ritsuko Morita, Kiyotoshi Sekiguchi, Jeffrey H. Miner & Hironobu Fujiwara

Mapping the molecular and structural specialization of the skin basement membrane for inter-tissue interactions.

Nature commun. 12(1):2577  2021 PMID:33972551 DOI:10.1038/s41467-021-22881-y


Hironobu Fujiwara, Ko Tsutsui, Ritsuko Morita.

Multi-tasking epidermal stem cells: Beyond epidermal maintenance.

Dev Growth Differ. 60(9):531-541  2018 PMID:30449051 DOI:10.1111/dgd.12577


Ritsuko Morita, Miho Kihira, Yousuke Nakatsu, Yohei Nomoto, Miho Ogawa, Kazumasa Ohashi, Kensaku Mizuno, Tetsuhiko Tachikawa, Yukitaka Ishimoto, Yoshihiro Morishita, Takashi Tsuji.

Coordination of Cellular Dynamics Contributes to Tooth Epithelium Deformations.

PLoS One. 11(9):e0161336  2016 PMID:27588418 DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0161336

Our ideal candidate (as a graduate student)

We are looking for highly motivated people to work on our research topics. Our lab welcomes people who love living things, enjoy delicate work with their hands, and creating things. We welcome everyone with any background, expertise, or major.
In our laboratory, we will conduct research using a variety of advanced technologies, including live imaging, single cell genomics, and gene editing technology. If you love challenges and want to explore with intellectual curiosity, please contact us.
Let’s enjoy science and take advantage of the research environment offered by the Graduate School of Frontier Biosciences.


Laboratory for Stem Cell Homeostasis, Graduate School of Frontier Biosciences, Osaka University,
1-3 Yamadaoka, Suita, Osaka 565-0871 Japan.

TEL: +81-6-6105-5240 (Assoc. Prof. MORITA Ritsuko)

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