The University of TOkyo Pandemic Preparedness, Infection and Advanced Research Center

The University of TOkyo Pandemic Preparedness, Infection, and Advanced Research Center (UTOPIA) was established on 18 October 2022, as the third research organization of the University of Tokyo Institutes for Advanced Study (UTIAS).

With a mission to protect people from infectious diseases and pandemics, UTOPIA brings together top researchers, transcending disciplinary boundaries, to advance infectious disease prevention and vaccine development.

In addition to experts in the fields of infectious diseases, immunology, and vaccines, UTOPIA gathers researchers from diverse fields such as artificial intelligence, structural biology, social sciences, and others who have not previously been involved in infectious disease research. Collaborative networks with international institutions have also been established, fostering a global cooperation framework.

By directly connecting academia, industry, and clinical settings, we aim to establish a robust infrastructure for the rapid delivery of effective and safe vaccines in response to emerging infectious diseases.

The ”U" in UTOPIA

--Saving the World--

A symbol of cutting-edge research that serves as a platform for innovation. 

Steering Committee


Yoshihiro Kawaoka

Managing Director

Jun-ichiro Inoue

Deputy Director

Vaccine & Immunology Research

Ken Ishii

Deputy Director

Infectious Disease Research

Yasushi Kawaguchi

Deputy Director

Liaison with Companies and Governments

Masahiko Kikuchi

Deputy Director

Clinical Research

Sakae Tanaka

Research Groups

 Basic Research on Immuno-Vaccines Group 

• Elucidation of tissue-specific immune responses in innate immunity

• Understanding immune memory mechanisms in acquired immunity

• Comprehensive omics analysis of immune responses in infection and vaccine response

• Investigation of the mechanisms underlying the diversity of human immunity

• Research on antigen discovery, delivery systems, and adjuvants 

Multidimensional immunomics (K Ishii) 

 Basic Research on Infectious Diseases Group 

• Molecular basis of pathogen replication, virulence, transmissibility, and host range

• Mechanisms of host response and evasion

• Analysis of antigenicity 

• Analysis of mutant strains, prediction of emergence, and spread 

Targeted pathogens:
SARS-CoV2, Influenza Virus, Herpesviruses, Paramyxoviruses, Flaviviruses, Ebola Virus, SFTS Virus, HIV, Malaria, Entamoeba histolytica etc. 

Live imaging technology (Y Kawaoka)
(M Imai & M Ujie)

 Multidisciplinary Research Group 

• Elucidation of molecular mechanisms of infection through structural and functional sciences

• Ultra-sensitive detection using digital bioassay techniques

• Detection and observation through wearable devices

• Creation of artificial nucleic acids and proteins for diagnostics and treatments

• AI analysis 

SHIROKANE supercomputer
(S Imoto)

Biosensing (T Someya)

 Clinical Industry-University Cooperative Research Group 

• Evaluation of clinical trials and human challenge studies for vaccines

• Overcoming ethical, legal, and societal challenges for rapid vaccine development

• Establishment of infectious disease surveillance systems 

UTOPIA in the media

Japan moves to bolster vaccine R&D after COVID-19 exposed startling weakness: Major funding effort aims to rebuild an infectious disease and vaccine research and manufacturing infrastructure

DOI: 10.1126/science.adh0968

Japan’s $2-billion initiative to prep pandemic vaccines in 100 days: A new centre will invest in shots for a range of infectious diseases so the country is ready for future outbreaks.

DOI: 10.1038/d41586-022-03000-3