Masamitsu Wada was born on 20.08.1941, in Tokyo, Japan. He studied plant biology from 1963 to 1971 at the Botany Department, University of Tokyo as an undergraduate and graduate student. In 1972 he obtained his doctor of science (Dr. Sc) with experimental works on the photocontrol of the direction of cell division in fern gametophytes. From 1971-1981 he was an assistant professor of the Botany Department, University of Tokyo under Prof. Masaki Furuya. In 1981 he was appointed as an associate professor of Biology Department, Tokyo Metropolitan University, and promoted to a full professor in 1989. Since 1999 he has held an appointment as adjunctive professor at the National Institute of Basic Biology (NIBB) at Okazaki. On leaving the Tokyo Metropolitan University in 2005, he became a professor of the National Institute for Basic Biology until 2008. He is now a professor at Kyushu University.
Masamitsu Wada has received several scientific honors. In 2004 he received a “Research Award” from the Botanical Society of Japan; in 2005 “Corresponding Membership Award” from American Society of Plant Biologists; in 2006 “JSPP Award” from Japanese Society of Plant Physiologists; in 2007 “The Fellow of ASPB Award” from American Society of Plant Biologists; in 2009 the “Humboldt Research Award” from Alexander von Humboldt Foundation and the “Midori Academic Prize” from Cabinet Office, Japan.
Masamitsu Wada has been a member of various editorial boards of scientific journals and president or vice-president of scientific societies or associations. He was the editor of the Botanical Magazine, Tokyo, 1989-1990; Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Plant Research, 1993-1998; Editor of Plant Cell and Physiology, 2002-2003; and Co-Editor of the Plant Cell, 2003-2008. He is presently a member of the advisory committee of the Journal of Plant Research. He has also served scientific societies; for example, the President of the Photobiology Association of Japan, 1997-1998; Vice-President, 2000-2004, and the President, 2004-2009, of the International Union of Photobiology; and the President of Botanical Society of Japan, 2005-2009. He has also served repeatedly as a council member on the board of several societies.
The scientific focus of Masamitsu Wada is the analysis of the mechanisms of photomorphogenesis in green plants, including moss, fern and seed plants. In particular, Masamitsu Wada is interested in the signal transduction pathways and the mechanism of photorelocation movement of chloroplasts in the question how chloroplasts receive the light signal and move. To address this question, he concentrates on the actin filaments localizing between chloroplasts and the plasma membrane. One major project of Masamitsu Wada at FRIAS is to study the fine structure of actin filaments, the possibility of bundling of actin filaments and their polarity. The force-raising mechanism of the actin filaments is the other research focus in chloroplast movement. Another research focus is the phylogeny of a chimeric photoreceptor between phytochrome chromophore binding domain and a full-length phototropin, i.e. neochrome, found in advanced ferns, polypodiaceous ferns in sensu lato. Masamitsu Wada also study the phylogenic aspect and the mechanism of phytochrome transportation into nucleus that is mediated by Far-red elongated HYpocotyl 1 (FHY1) protein in collaboration with Prof. Eberhard Schäfer and Dr. Andreas Hiltbrunner in Biologie II.
- H. Tsuboi, M. Wada: Chloroplasts can move in any direction to avoid strong light J Plant Res, 2011; 124 (1): 201-210
- H. Yamashita, Y. Sato, T. Kanegae, M. Wada, A. Kadota: Chloroplast actin filaments organize meshwork on the photorelocated chloroplasts in the moss Physcomitrella patens Planta (Berlin), 2011; 233 (2): 357-368
- N. Suetsugu, N. Yamada, T. Kagawa, H. Yonekura, T.Q.P. Uyeda, A. Kadota, M. Wada: Two kinesin-like proteins mediate actin-based chloroplast movement in Arabidopsis thaliana PNAS, 2010; 107 (19): 8860-8865
- Y. Kodama, N. Suetsugu, S.G. Kong, M. Wada: Two interacting coiled-coil proteins, WEB1 and PMI2, maintain the chloroplast photorelocation movement velocity in Arabidopsis Proceedings of The National Academy of Sciences of The United States of America, 2010; 107 (45): 19591-19596
- Tsuboi, H., H. Yamashita, and M. Wada. Chloroplasts do not have a polarity for light-induced accumulation movement. J. Plant Research 122: 131-140, 2009.
- N. Inoue, M. Watanabe, T. Nanba, M. Wada, T. Akamizu, Y. Iwatani: Involvement of functional polymorphisms in the TNFA gene in the pathogenesis of autoimmune thyroid diseases and production of anti-thyrotropin receptor antibody Clinical and Experimental Immunology, 2009; 156 (2): 199-204
- Y. Kodama, M. Wada: Simultaneous visualization of two protein complexes in a single plant cell using multicolor fluorescence complementation analysis Plant Mol Biol, 2009; 70: 211-217
- Oikawa, K., A. Yamasato, S.-G. Kong, M. Kasahara, M. Nakai, F. Takahashi, Y. Ogura, T. Kagawa, and M. Wada. Chloroplast outer envelope protein CHUP1 is essential for chloroplast anchorage to the plasma membrane and chloroplast movement. Plant Physiol. 148: 829-842, 2008.
- Tsuboi, H., N. Suetsugu, H. Kawai -Toyooka and M. Wada. Phototropins and neochrome1 mediate nuclear movement in the fern Adiantum capillus-veneris. Plant Cell Physiol. 48: 892-896, 2007
- Kanegae, T., E. Hayashida, C. Kuramoto, and M. Wada. A single chromoprotein with triple chromophores acts as both a phytochrome and a phototropin. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 103:17997-18001, 2006.
- Suetsugu, N., Mittmann, F., WagnerG. , Hughes, J., and Masamitsu Wada. A chimeric photoreceptor gene, NEOCHROME, has arisen twice during plant Evolution. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 102:13705-13709, 2005.
- Kawai, H., T. Kanegae, S. Christensen, T. Kiyosue, Y. Sato, T. Imaizumi, A. Kadota and M. Wada. Responses of ferns to red light are mediated by an unconventional photoreceptor. Nature 421:287-290, 2003.
- Kasahara, M., T. Kagawa, K. Oikawa, N. Suetsugu, M. Miyao, M. Wada. Chloroplast avoidance movement reduces photodamage in plant. Nature 420: 829-832, 2002.
- Kagawa, T., T. Sakai, N. Suetsugu, K. Oikawa, S. Ishiguro, T. Kato, S. Tabata, K. Okada and M. Wada. Arabidopsis NPL1: A phototropin homologue controlling the chloroplast high-light avoidance response. Science 291: 2138-2141, 2001.