Interview with Kotaro Yoshioka
Kotaro Yoshioka, MD, PhD
Department of Neurology and Neurological Science,
Tokyo Medical and Dental University
How did you become interested in the field of oligonucleotides?
I became a neurologist at first after my graduation from Tokyo Medical and Dental University (TMDU). Generally, most neurological diseases are intractable and disease- modifying therapies for those diseases are highly desirable. My desire to overcome these issues led me to a laboratory of Prof. Takanori Yokota, a board member of OTS, well-known Japanese researcher in therapeutic oligonucleotide and neurology, who has challenged the refractory disease by his original platform technique of ASO, “DNA–RNA Heteroduplex oligonucleotide (HDO)”.
Who were your early mentors?
I am grateful to Dr. Kazutaka Nishina (PhD early mentor in TMDU) who is incredibly knowledgeable about ASO and Dr. Tetsuya Nagata (PhD and Post Doc mentor in TMDU) who has taught me about not only the strategy of ASO but also genetics of neurological disease. I appreciate also the opportunity to learn from Prof. Takanori Yokota who has continued to have success in this field and inspired me to challenge new ideas about therapeutic oligonucleotides.
How did you become involved in OTS?
I have attended the meetings of OTS since 2014 to find out new discoveries and catch up on latest progresses of therapeutic oligonucleotides.
Why do you continue to support the OTS?
OTS is the best society where researchers of academia and industry are collaborating effectively to maximize the potential of oligonucleotides. Nucleic Acids Therapeutics Society of Japan (Natsj) has a good relationship with OTS.
What is special about the type of research/work you’ve done?
My work of PhD course at the TMDU was ASO targeting microRNA with our HDO technique and this ensured me that development of therapeutic oligonucleotides was critical for treatment of neurological disease and enabled us to cure those “incurable” diseases.
What do you like to do in your free time?
I walk around many sites with “Pokémon GO” to find new Pokémons.
Any other fun facts/tidbits you’d like us to know?
I’m looking forward to attending the next annual meeting of OTS at Bordeaux for finding new discovery about oligonucleotide therapeutics as well as Pokémons!