Makoto Asai

Self-introduction message

Hello, everyone. From April 2021, I have began my post as a project professor at KGRI. My expertise is in the self-assembly phenomena of soft matter (a collective term for soft materials). Entropic interactions, caused by softness, are the key to solving the mysteries of various self-assemblies seen in biological phenomena. I aspire to create a new field of soft matter engineering by controlling these entropic interactions. I am currently undertaking a new research project called "Revolutionary and Interdisciplinary Soft Matter Integration (RISΣ)." Over 30 young scientists have come together for this project, which is one of the sub-projects for the Research Project Keio 2040 aiming to solve the national crisis problems that Japan will face in 2040. In the RISΣ project, we will be exploring solutions based on future cutting-edge technologies. This interdisciplinary team of young and talented scientists have already started discussing what kind of sustainable society Soft Matter technology will open up, under the concept of "Human-Machine Fusion/Symbiosis." We are already seeing a collision of talented and creative minds, generating new energies that may, one day, change the world.


Background and career
I was born in 1981. After earning my Ph.D. at Keio University in 2009, I went to Columbia University in New York as a post-doctoral researcher. I started this current position in 2021. During my time at Columbia University, I presided over an association of young researchers, bringing together a total of 4,000 participants from around the world and creating an interdisciplinary network of researchers. Experiencing the dynamism at one of the world's top institutions of higher education, I developed a strong sense of the impending crisis in Japan's academia, and aspired to create an innovative mechanism for industry-academia collaboration that will enable Japan to keep producing cutting edge technologies.

Research achievements

  1. I. Fujinaga, Takashi Yasuda, M. Asai, U. Chung, T. Sakai. "Cluster growth from a dilute system in a percolation process," Polymer J., doi:10.1038/s41428-019-0279-z, 2019
  2. M. Asai, D. Zhao, S. K. Kumar. "Accurate Estimation of the Polymer Coverage of Hairy Nanoparticles," Soft Matter, vol. 14, no. 38, pp. 7906-7915, 2018 (Journal Cover)
  3. M. Asai, A. Cacciuto, S. K. Kumar. "Surface Fluctuations Dominate the Slow Glassy Dynamics of Polymer-Grafted Colloid Assemblies," ACS Cent. Sci., vol.4, no.9, pp.1179-1184, 2018
  4. M. Asai, D. Zhao, S. K. Kumar. "Role of Grafting Mechanism on the Polymer Coverage and Self-Assembly of Hairy Nanoparticles," ACS Nano, vol.11, no.7, pp.7028-7035, 2017
  5. N. Bachhar, Y. Jiao, M. Asai, P. Akcora, R. Bandyopadhyaya, S. K. Kumar, "Impact of the Distributions of Core Size and Grafting Density on the Self-Assembly of Polymer Grafted Nanoparticles," Macromolecules, vol. 50, no. 19, pp. 7730-7738, 2017 (Editor's Choice)
  6. C. R. Bilchak, E. Buenning, K. Zhang, M. Asai, C. J. Durning, S. K. Kumar, Y. Huang, B. C. Benicewicz, D. W. Gidley, S. Cheng, A. P. Sokolov, F. Doghieri, M. Minelli, "Polymer-Grafted Nanoparticle Membranes with Controllable Free-Volume," Macromolecules, vol. 50, no. 18, pp. 7111-7120, 2017
  7. M. Asai, T. Katashima, T. Sakai, M. Shibayama. "Supercoiling transformation of chemical gels," Soft Matter, vol.11, no.36, pp.7101-7108, 2015 (Journal Cover)
  8. M. Asai, A. Cacciuto, S. K. Kumar. "Quantitative Analogy Between Polymer-Grafted Nanoparticles and Patchy Particles," Soft Matter, vol.11, no.4, pp.793-797, 2014
  9. T. Katashima, M. Asai, K. Urayama, U. Chung, T. Sakai. "Mechanical properties of tetra-PEG gels with supercoiled network structure," J. Chem. Phys, vol.140, no.7, 074902, 2014
  10. K. Takagi, S. Murayama, T. Sakai, M. Asai, T. Santa, M. Kato. "A computer simulation of the networked structure of a hydrogel prepared from a tetra-armed star pre-polymer," Soft Matter, vol.10, pp.3553-3559, 2014
  11. M. Asai, T. Katashima, U. Chung, T. Sakai, M. Shibayama, "Correlation between Local and Global Inhomogeneities of Chemical Gels," Macromolecules, vol.46, no.24, pp.9772-9781, 2013
  12. A. Sugimura, M. Asai, T. Matsunaga, Y. Akagi, T. Sakai, H. Noguchi, M. Shibayama, "Mechanical properties of a polymer network of Tetra-PEG gel," Polymer J., vol.45, no.3, pp.300-306, 2012
  13. Y. Akimoto, M. Asai, K. Koike, K. Makino, Y. Koike, "Poly(styrene)-based graded-index plastic optical fiber for home networks," Opt. Lett., vol.37, no.11, pp.1853-1855, 2012
  14. M. Asai, Y. Yamaki, S. Takahashi, Y. Koike, "High-thermally stable and high-bandwidth graded index plastic optical fiber for vehicle networks," J. Polym. Sci. Part B Polym. Phys., vol.49, no.20, pp.1464-1469, 2011 (Journal Cover)
  15. M. Asai, M. Shibayama, Y. Koike, "Common Origin of Dynamics Heterogeneity and Cooperatively Rearranging Region in Polymer Melts," Macromolecules, vol.44, no.16, pp.6615-6624, 2011
  16. M. Asai, Y. Inuzuka, K. Koike, S. Takahashi, Y. Koike, "High-Bandwidth Graded-Index Plastic Optical Fiber With Low-Attenuation, High-Bending Ability, and High-Thermal Stability for Home-Networks," J. Lightwave Technol., vol.29, no.11, pp.1620-1626, 2011
  17. M. Asai, Y. Mukawa, S. Takahashi, Y. Koike, "Methodological Approach To Control the Refractive Index Profile of Graded-Index Polymer Optical Fiber," Ind. Eng. Chem. Res., vol.50, no.7, pp.3895-3899, 2011
  18. M. Asai, M. Awata, Y. Koike, "Effects of Rotation of Benzene Rings on Diffusion of Solvents in Polymer Melts," Ind. Eng. Chem. Res., vol.50, no.6, pp.3280-3286, 2011
  19. Y. Yamaki, M. Asai, S. Takahashi, Y. Koike, "Novel Dopant for Graded-Index Polymer Optical Fiber with High-Thermal Stability," Applied Physics Express, vol.3, no.7, 2010
  20. Y. Koike, M. Asai, "The future of plastic optical fiber," NPG Asia Mater., vol.1, no.1, pp.22-28, 2009 (Invited Paper)
  21. R. Hirose, M. Asai, A. Kondo, Y. Koike, "Graded-index plastic optical fiber prepared by the coextrusion process," Appl. Opt., vol.47, no.22, pp.4177-4185, 2008
  22. M. Asai, K. Nehashi, Y. Koike, "Control of Refractive Index Distribution for High-Bandwidth Graded Index Plastic Optical Fiber," J. Lightwave Technol., vol.26, no.16, pp.2909-2918, 2008
  23. M. Asai, R. Hirose, A. Kondo, Y. Koike, "High-Bandwidth Graded-Index Plastic Optical Fiber by the Dopant Diffusion Coextrusion Process," J. Lightwave Technol., vol.25, no.10, pp.3062-3067, 2007
  24. Y. Koike, T. Ishigure, M. Asai, R. Hirose, A. Kondoh, S. Takahashi, "The Status of POF Technology," Optical Communication, pp.1-4, 2007
  25. H. Ryoma, M. Asai, A. Kondo, Y. Koike. "Preparation of graded-index plastic optical fiber by co-extrusion process," Organic Photonic Materials and Devices IX, vol. 6470, pp.64700K, 2007
  26. A. Kondo, M. Asai, R. Hirose, T. Ishigure, Y. Koike, "Fabrication process of graded-index polymer optical fiber prepared by co-extrusion process," SPSJ Annual Meeting on Macromolecules, pp. 1351, 2005
  27. R. Hirose, M. Asai, A. Kondo, T. Ishigure, Y. Koike, "Preparation of GI-POF by the co-extrusion process," SPSJ Annual Meeting on Macromolecules, pp. 4053, 2005
  28. A. Kondo, M. Asai, R. Hirose, T. Ishigure, Y. Koike, "GI-POF Prepared by the Dopant Diffusion Co-extrusion Process," Nonlinear Optics Quantum Optics, vol.34, no.1, pp.71, 2006.