Research Centers

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Akito Nakagawa, PhD

Akito Nakagawa researches the identification of small molecules that modulate gas binding properties of human hemoglobin at Massachusetts General Hospital.

Akito Nakagawa, PhD
Instructor in Anaesthesia, Harvard Medical School
Assistant in Chemistry, Massachusetts General Hospital

Research Areas

  • Studies on how small molecules can bind to hemoglobin and modulate the binding affinity of gaseous ligands (oxygen, carbon monoxide and nitric oxide) for hemoglobin and red blood cells
  • Development of high throughput assays to evaluate gas binding properties of hemoglobin and red blood cells
  • Design and synthesis of small molecules modulating gas binding affinity of hemoglobin and red blood cells

Description of Research

My research focuses on identification of small molecules that modulate gas binding properties of hemoglobin and red blood cells. Ongoing projects include:

  1. Development of assays for high throughput screening of small molecules that modulate gas binding affinity of hemoglobin
  2. Identification those small molecules from a compound library
  3. Studies on how they modulate gas binding affinity of hemoglobin
  4. Applications of gas binding modulators of hemoglobin for treating human disease

The projects are conducted in Warren Zapol Lab. We recently identified a small molecule that increases oxygen affinity of hemoglobin and inhibits in vitro hypoxia-induced sickling of red blood cells in patients with sickle cell disease without hemolysis. The identified molecule could be a lead molecule for the treatment of patients with sickle cell disease.

Selected Publications

Nakagawa, A., Lui, F. E., Wassaf, D., Yefidoff-Freedman, R., Casalena, D., Palmer, M. A., Meadows, J., Mozzarelli, A., Ronda, L., Abdulmalik, O., Bloch, K. D., Safo, M. K., and Zapol, W. M. (2014) Identification of a Small Molecule that Increases Hemoglobin Oxygen Affinity and Reduces SS Erythrocyte Sickling, ACS Chem Biol 9, 2318-2325. (ACS Chemical Biology highlighted our paper and interviewed me about the paper. This interview has been reported in ACS Chemical Biology Podcast, October 2014).

Akito Nakagawa, PhD

Phone: 617-726-3030
Email: anakagawa@partners.org