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Molecular & Cell Biology & Genetics (MCBG) Faulty Highlight - Eishi Noguchi

Eishi Noguchi, PhD

2019-2020 Faulty Highlight

Eishi Noguchi, PhD, is an associate professor of biochemistry and molecular biology and the director of the graduate program in Molecular & Cell Biology & Genetics.

Dr. Noguchi was recruited to the Department of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology in 2004 after his productive postdoctoral studies at the Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, California. His research focuses on understanding the molecular mechanisms that ensure accurate transmission of genetic information from parent(s) to offspring. Defects in this control system result in genomic instability associated with accelerated aging and carcinogenesis.

Dr. Noguchi has extensive experience in molecular cell biology, biochemistry and genetics. He has received prestigious awards and grants from the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science, Uehara Memorial Foundation, Human Frontier Science Program, Leukemia Research Foundation, W. W. Smith Charitable Trust and NIH. As a PI of several private and NIH-funded grants during the past 16 years, he published 36 papers (out of total 56 publications) in the field of genome maintenance mechanisms. He also edited several books for research communities (Cell Cycle Control: Mechanisms and Protocols, Methods in Molecular Biology, Vol. 1170, Humana Press/Springer; and DNA replication Controls, Volumes I & II, Genes, MDPI).

Currently, Dr. Noguchi’s lab investigates the mechanisms of alcohol-mediated genomic instability and esophageal carcinogenesis. He pursues the role of alcohol consumption as a DNA-damaging carcinogen in the human esophagus. For these purposes, Dr. Noguchi has a longstanding collaboration with Dr. Hiroshi Nakagawa of Columbia University to understand the biology of esophageal squamous cell carcinogenesis and associated genomic instability. Using innovative approaches that employ genetically engineered esophageal keratinocytes, Dr. Noguchi’s goal is to provide mechanistic insights into the functional interplay between DNA repair pathways and cancer phenotypes in esophageal squamous cell carcinogenesis.

Another major direction of Dr. Noguchi’s laboratory is to understand how genomic instability regulates lifespan. It is widely known that the mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) pathway controls aging processes and that mTOR inhibition extends lifespan. However, its downstream effectors for aging regulation are elusive. Dr. Noguchi found that Maf1, the master inhibitor of RNA polymerase Pol III, is a downstream effector of the mTOR pathway for lifespan regulation. His investigation revealed that Maf1 is required for lifespan extension by calorie restriction and mTOR inhibition (Aging Cell, 2020). This work is the result of collaboration with MCBG faculty members Drs. Christian Sell and Joshua Mell. Dr. Noguchi’s studies are expected to establish the role of the mTOR-Maf1-Pol III axis as an important pharmacological target to modulate lifespan and improve late-life function.

Dr. Noguchi’s mission is to nurture the next generation of scientists who make great leaps in understanding important biological processes. He values: research and academic excellence; education for professional and personal growth; student-oriented education and research activities; collaboration and partnership; and diversity. He integrates these values into his research and educational activities within the MCBG program.

Dr. Noguchi has demonstrated a strong commitment to science education. He has trained many research assistants, postdoctoral fellows and graduate students, including those from underrepresented minority groups. He has graduated three PhD and 18 master's students. All of his PhD students have given platform presentations at Drexel's annual Discovery Day and also at international scientific conferences. His students have also received graduate fellowships including NIH F31 (Adam Leman and Jasmine Peake) and the Drexel Aging Initiative Graduate Fellowship (Adam Leman and Mariana Gadaleta).

Dr. Noguchi continuously recruits undergraduates from the Drexel Co-op, Drexel STAR and Drexel SURF programs to provide research opportunities to students from Drexel, neighboring universities and overseas. He has also initiated an institutional cooperative agreement between Drexel and the Universidad Francisco de Vitoria Biotechnology Program in Spain. Dr. Noguchi spends considerable time in guiding students’ research projects. As a result, many lab members have won prizes at university-wide research days for their presentations (total of 24 awards). Most undergraduate students trained in the laboratory have decided to pursue higher education in graduate or medical programs. Dr. Noguchi has also directed the graduate core curriculum and won the College of Medicine’s Young Investigator Award in 2009 for his excellence in research and education.

Dr. Noguchi was born and raised in Japan and received his undergraduate and master's degrees in biology and his PhD in molecular biology from Kyushu University. His mother was an avid mountain hiker and his father was a highly experienced angler. As a result, the family spent almost every weekend hiking and fishing, often in mountain streams. Dr. Noguchi carries on this tradition, enjoys fly fishing and fly tying, and spends a great amount of time with his family fishing and hiking. He also gave a lecture on “tenkara,” Japanese-style fly fishing. Dr. Noguchi always carries a fly-fishing rod with him, trying to find time, even five minutes, to cast his flies.

A Molecular & Cell Biology & Genetics program graduate student working in a laboratory at Drexel University College of Medicine.