Dr. Urayama received his research doctorate in Pharmacology from the University of Shizouka in Japan. He completed Post-Doctoral Fellowships in Internal Medicine and Neurology respectively at the Saint Louis University School of Medicine and the University of Texas Medical School at Houston. He was trained by one of the world’s leaders in blood-brain barrier (BBB) function, Dr. William Banks. He then completed a fellowship and joined the faculty under the mentorship of Dr. Claudio Soto. He learned a great deal through them, and acquired expertise in many different areas, including the BBB and neurodegenerative diseases such as lysosomal storage, Alzheimer’s, and prion diseases.
Currently, Dr. Urayama is affiliated with the cerebrovascular group where he continues investigating the role of the BBB in health and disease. Dr. Urayama is a well-recognized investigator who has constantly given presentations in national and international conferences in his research fields, and his roles include invited speaker and plenary session presenter.
Dr. Urayama has been an effective educator and research mentor for Medical and Graduate School students. He is enthusiastic about teaching introductory and advanced courses with current hypothesis, logic, and proof theory behind biomedical topics. He publishes his research work in first class journals, and serves as a reviewer for professional journals, and research foundations.
Brain function is maintained in a well-controlled environment which is separated from the systemic milieu. The mechanisms that regulate the unique environment of the brain are collectively referred as the blood-brain barrier (BBB) which separates the brain parenchymal environment from the blood and cerebral vasculature. The BBB is mainly made up of microvessel endothelial cells, basal membrane matrix, pericytes, perivascular fluid, astrocytic end feet, and some direct neural projections. The BBB is one of the most impermeable biological barriers. At the same time, it is also the most specialized interface in the body, regulating communication between the central nervous system (CNS) and the peripheral tissues.
Dr. Urayama is interested in understanding the physiology of the BBB and neurovascular niche, and in utilizing the acquired knowledge to provide therapeutic solutions to manipulate pathological brain environments in diseases. His research focuses on receptor trafficking, macromolecule transport, and immune cell infiltration at the BBB in health and disease. His work addresses many issues that are important for CNS diseases, ranging from juvenile disorders such as lysosomal storage disease, to age–related neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease, and post-stroke cognitive impairment.