About the Author
University of Alabama, Birmingham, U.S.A. and Osaka University, JapanSince the 1970s, Professor Kiyono has been investigating and characterizing unique features of the mucosal immune system to establish mucosal immunology as an area of the immunology field as well as to develop effective and safe mucosal vaccines against infectious diseases and mucosal immune therapies against allergic and inflammatory diseases. He recently developed cold-chain- and needle-free rice-based vaccines (MucoRice) with the cooperation of agricultural researchers. The vaccine antigens exogenously expressed in MucoRice are temperature-stable for at least 2.5 years and are resistant to digestive enzymes, thus they effectively induce vaccine antigen-specific protective immunity in both systemic and mucosal compartments against toxins produced by pathogenic microorganisms (e.g., cholera toxins). Additionally, his efforts aim to clarify the immunological cross-talk between the mucosal immune system and mucosal environmental factors (e.g., commensal bacteria and dietary materials) in immunological homeostasis. These studies will lead to the development of novel immune therapies against mucosal immune diseases, such as food allergy, rhinitis, and inflammatory bowel diseases.