Department of Immunology
Graduate School of Medicine
Chiba University, Chiba, JAPAN
Dr. Hirahara graduated from Niigata University school of Medicine in 2001. He was engaged in clinical practice as a physician, specifically in respiratory medicine for more than three years and he started a Ph.D. course supervised by Prof. Toshinori Nakayama in the Department of Immunology at Chiba University in 2004. His project was to study the role of repressor of GATA3, which regulates the expression of Th2-related cytokines and he completed the Ph.D. program in 2008. From 2009 to 2013, he worked as a postdoctoral fellow with Dr. John J. O’Shea at the Molecular Immunology and Inflammation Branch of the US National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases. He identified new immunosuppressive mechanisms of a critical immunoregulatory cytokine, Interleukin (IL)-27. He also identified a crucial link between the role of a transcription factor, BACH2 and the immune balance of CD4 T cells.
In 2013, he joined the Department of Immunology at Chiba University as a faculty member and continued working on IL-27 and IL-6. He found that STAT1 contributes to transcriptomic diversity in response to cytokines and that the functional abnormality of STAT1 is involved in the pathogenicity of human primary immunodeficiency. Dr. Hirahara is now mainly carrying out research on the identification of the pathogenic roles of CD4+ T cells in intractable respiratory diseases, such as pulmonary fibrosis.
Dr. Hirahara acquired a grant from the JSPS Research Fellowship for Japanese Biomedical and Behavioral Researchers at NIH from January 2012 to March 2013. He also received the 10th Young Investigator Award from Japanese Society for Immunology in 2015.