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Research & Development

Hideki KAMBARA, Ph.D.

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Hideki KAMBARA, Ph.D.

Emeritus Fellow,
Hitachi, Ltd.


Hideki KAMBARA, Ph.D. was appointed as a Fellow of Hitachi in 2003, and to his current position as Emeritus Fellow on his retirement in April 2015.

Kambara joined Hitachi’s Central Research Laboratory as a researcher in April 1972 after completing his Ph.D. in Chemistry in the Faculty of Science at the University of Tokyo. At the Central Research Laboratory, Kambara contributed to the development of new ionization technologies for biomaterials through research and development of the atmospheric pressure ionization mass spectrometer (APIMS), field ionization, matrix SIMS, LC/MC (liquid chromatograph/mass spectrometer) integrated equipment. In particular, the matrix SIMS pioneered matrix-assisted ionization which was used in the later MALDI-TOF (matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization time-of-flight) MS. From 1982, he led the world in research on a fluorescent DNA sequencer, developing the first commercial fluorescent DNA sequencer in Japan. He then went on to develop a high-throughput capillary gel array DNA sequencer which enabled the early completion of the Human Genome Project. The importance of his work was covered as “Unsung Hero” in the special issue of Science on Genome, as well as in “Stars of Asia” in Business Week magazine. These systems have been used worldwide for over 20 years as basic equipment in life as well as medical science and biotechnology fields.

Kambara then went on to develop various technologies for analyzing gene expression profiles, genetic mutations including SNPS and a probe array technology using beads. Since 2006, he has been pioneering research in single cell analysis as a representative of a MEXT* “Grant-in-Aid for Scientific Research on Priority Areas” project of the Ministry of Science, Japan, and has continued to host many international conferences in this area.

Although Kambara assumed the position of Emeritus Fellow on his retirement from Hitachi in 2015, he continues to be an active in leader in technology development. Believing that location specific analysis of biological tissue is important to understand tissue function, he pioneered the development and practical use of a micro-dissection device to collect minute sections of biomaterial, and is using these new tools to realize his new goal of a bio-information system similar to a biological version of Google Earth.

To date he has published many papers and patents including 127 original papers, 54 reports including commentaries, and more than 300 patent applications of which over 100 have been granted.

He has hosted the International Forum on Post Genome Technology since 2002, the International Workshop on Approaches to Single Cell Analysis since 2006, and the Africa International Biotechnology and Biomedical Conference (AIBBC) since 2014.

Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, Japan

Related links

Research interests

  • Atmospheric pressure ionization mass spectrometry: Mass spectrometry using ionization at atmospheric pressure to efficiently produce molecular ions. (Holds the patent for this method.)
  • Field desorption ionization and collision induced decomposition mass spectrometer for biological molecules.
  • Molecular secondary ion mass spectrometry: molecular ion production and mass spectrometry by ion bombardment ionization for non-volatile bio compounds. (1983 IR100)
  • Combined system of liquid chromatograph and mass spectrometer. (1994 R&D 100)
  • Fluorescent DNA sequencer
  • Capillary array DNA sequencer. (Holds many patents on DNA detection systems)
  • Technologies for analyzing gene expressions as well as DNA diagnostics.
  • Technologies and instruments for single cell and tissue analysis.

Construction of an information system just like Google Earth for the human body.

Major research activity

1982-present Development of DNA analysis technology
Development of the DNA sequencer, gene expression profile analysis method, gene mutation measurement technology, capillary array DNA analysis equipment, SNPs-oriented DNA mutation analysis methods, probe array method using beads, etc.
1973-1989 Development of ionization technology for biological samples
Development of Atmospheric Pressure Ionization Mass Spectrometry, Field Ionization, Molecular-SIMS, LC/MS (Liquid Chromatography/Mass Spectrometer combined device), etc.

Major publications

  1. T.Yoda, M.Hosokawa, K.Takahashi, C.Sakanashi, H.Takeyama and H.Kambara, “Site-specific gene expression analysis using an automated tissue micro-dissection punching system,” Scientific Reports 7: 4325(2017).
  2. T.Kajiyama, A.Fujii, K.Arikawa, T.Habu, N.Mochizuki, A.Nagatani and H.Kambara, ”Position-Specific Gene Expression Analysis Using a Microgram Dissection Method Combined with On-Bead cDNA Library Construction,” Plant & Cell Physiology 56 (2015): pp. 1320-1328.
  3. H.Matsunaga, M.Goto, K.Arikawa, M.Shirai, H.Tsunoda, H.Huang and H.Kambara, “A highly sensitive and accurate gene expression analysis by sequencing (“bead-seq”) for a single cell,” Anal. Biochem 471, pp. 9-16 (2015).
  4. K.Taniguchi, T.Kajiyama and H.Kambara, “Quantitative analysis of gene expression in a single-cell by qPCR,” Nature Method 6, pp. 503-506(2009).
  5. G.Zhou, M.Kamahori, K.Okano, K.Harada and H.Kambara, ”Miniaturized pyrosequencer for DNA analysis with capillaries to deliver deoxynucleotides,” Electrophoresis 22(2001): pp. 3497-3504.
  6. G.Zhou, M.Kamahori, K.Okano, G.Chuan, K.Harada, and H.Kambara,”Quantitative detection of single nucleotide polymorphisms for a pooled sample by a bioluminometric assay coupled with modified primer extension reactions (BAMPER),” Nucleic Acid Res. 29(2001): No. 19 e93.
  7. Y.Kohara, H.Noda, K.Okano and H.Kambara, ”DNA hybridization using “Bead-Array”: Probe-attached beads arrayed in a capillary in a predetermined order” Nucleic Acid Res. suppl 1 (2001): pp. 83-84.
  8. T. Anazawa, S.Takahashi and H.Kambara, “A capillary array gel electrophoresis system using multiple laser focusing for DNA sequencing,” Anal. Chem. 68 (1996): pp. 3699-2704.
  9. H.Kambara and S.Takahashi, “Multiple-sheath flow capillary array DNA analyser”, Nature 361, pp. 565-566 (1993).
  10. U.S. Patent US6224733 B1, Japanese Patent P2974495(Priority claim date: 24th April 1992: DNA detector and DNA detection method, by S. Takahashi and H. Kambara.
  11. M.Sakairi and H.Kambara, “Atmospheric Pressure Spray Ionization for Liquid Chromatography/Mass spectrometry,” Anal. Chem. 61 (1989): pp. 1159-1164.
  12. H.Kambara, T.Nishikawa, Y.Katayama and T.Yamaguchi, ”Optimization of parameters in a SNA sequenator using fluorescence detection” Bio/Technology 6, 816-821(1988).
  13. Japanese Patent P2013548 (Priority claim date: 1st February 1984) JP1994043135: Device for determining base sequence of nucleic acids, by H. Kambara, O. Okada, et al. (9th February 1994 Patent Application Notification No. 特公平6-10665; 1st February 1984 Patent Application No.特願昭59-15226)
  14. M.Sakairi and H.Kambara, “Characteristics of a Liquid Chromatograph/Atmospheric Pressure Ionization Mass Spectrometer”, Anal Chem 60 (1988): pp. 774-780.
  15. K.Harada, M.Suzuki and H.Kambara, “Diethanolamine Assisted Secondary Ion Mass Spectrometry of Naturally Occurring Complex Oligosaccharides,” Org. Mass Spectrom. 17 (1982): pp. 386-391.
  16. H.Kambara and S.Hishida, “Secondary Ion Mass Spectra of Nonvolatile Bioorganic Compounds,” Anal Chem. 53 (1981): pp. 2340-2344.
  17. H.Kambara and I.Kanomata, “Determination of Impurities in Gases by Atmospheric pressure Ionization Mass Spectrometry,” Anal. Chem. 49 (1977): pp. 276-275.

Kambara has received numerous recognitions for his contributions to the field of analytical instruments, in particular for his contributions to the development of the capillary array DNA sequencer.

Awards & Recognitions

Order of the Rising Sun. Gold Rays with Rosette
61st (FY2008) CSJ Award for the "development of capillary array DNA sequencer for genome analysis“
(The Chemical Society of Japan)
The Asahi Prize for "development of a high-performance DNA sequencer"
National Medal of Honor with Purple Ribbon
Selected as one of BusinessWeek's "Star of Asia"
2002.03 (joint)
48th Okochi Memorial Grand Technology Prize for "development of the capillary array DNA sequencer”
Commendation by the Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science & Technology to Persons of Scientific & Technological Research Merits, for "research on fluorescence detection method DNA base sequencing device"
1994.09 (joint)
R&D Magazine, R&D100 Award for "development of LC/MS system"
1989.04 (joint)
Commendation by the Minister of State for Science & Technology for Noteworthy Inventions, for "side entry laser irradiation method for DNA sequencer"
1983.09 (joint)
Industrial Research & Development IR100 Award for "development of molecular SIMS"
Japan Mass Spectrometry Society Award for "new ionization technology“


Ph.D., University of Tokyo, Faculty of Science, Chemistry
M.Sc., University of Tokyo, Faculty of Science, Chemistry
B.Sc., University of Tokyo, Dept. of Pure and Applied Science

Employment & Professional Activities

2017.04 - present
Founder & CEO, Frontier Biosystems, Inc.
2015.04 - present
Emeritus Fellow, Hitachi, Ltd.
2011.04 - present
Distinguished Guest Research Professor, Waseda University
2010.05 - 2015.03
Visiting Professor, Medical School of Nanjing University
2005.07 - 2015.03
Visiting Professor, Graduate School of Frontier Science, University of Tokyo
2003.06 - 2015.03
Fellow, Hitachi Ltd.
2000.04 - 2015.03
Visiting Professor, Tokyo University of Agriculture and Technology
2000.02 - 2003.06
Senior Chief Scientist - Corporate Technology, Hitachi Ltd.
1994.08 - 2000.02
Senior Chief Researcher, Central Research Laboratory, Hitachi Ltd.
1990.02 - 1994.08
Chief Researcher, Central Research Laboratory, Hitachi, Ltd.
1989.08 - 1990.02
Chief Researcher, Advanced Research Laboratory, Hitachi, Ltd.
1985.04 - 1989.08
Senior Researcher, Advanced Research Laboratory, Hitachi, Ltd.
1981.08 - 1985.04
Senior Researcher, Central Research Laboratory, Hitachi, Ltd.
1977.10 - 1979.01
Visiting Researcher at Univ. of California, Berkeley, Space Sciences Lab.
Joined Central Research Laboratory, Hitachi Ltd.