Laboratory of Transformational Soft Matter

Transformational research to create new functional materials from a basic understanding of polymer gels

Research Theme

In the Laboratory of Transformational Soft Matter, we create functional polymer hydrogels, understand the mechanism of their functions, and use the knowledge obtained as a guideline for designing the next generation of functional gels. By repeating the cycle to create even more highly functional materials, we can enhance the usefulness of polymer gels as if climbing a spiral staircase. In the middle of the spiral staircase, some technologies lead to biomaterials and new physical property measurement methods, which lead to the exit for “real world” applications. In our laboratory, you can learn about topics ranging from fundamental basics of materials to cutting-edge applications through gel research. Examples of research themes that traverse this range include understanding fundamentals of friction, wear, and fatigue; developing double-network gels with toughness exceeding natural cartilage; and creation and physical property analysis of gels for therapeutic use. The culmination of this work leads to the development of tough soft composite materials with the potential for applied use, and a real impact on society.

For more information about individual topics, click here.




About the information of passing of Dr.King

Dr. Daniel R. King, an assistant professor in our laboratory, passed away on May 1, 2022, while scuba diving at the age of 33. We are very surprised at the sudden news of his passing, and regret the untimely departure of Dr. King, who showed great promise for the future. We, the members of our laboratory, will continue to carry on Dr. King's research philosophy and manifest his goals to leave a living proof of his life in the academic world. We pray for the eternal peace of his soul.


当研究室の助教Dr. Daniel R. Kingが2022年5月1日、スキューバダイビング中に逝去いたしました、33歳でした。突然の訃報に際し、ただ驚くとともに将来を嘱望されたKing先生の早すぎる別れが残念でなりません。我々研究室のメンバーは、King先生の研究哲学を継承し、彼の目指した目標を顕現することで、彼の生きた証を学術界に刻んでまいります。彼の魂の永劫の安寧をお祈りします。


Division of Soft Matter, Graduate School of Life Science, Online Admission Information Session will be held on June 11 at 13:00 (JST). For details, please visit the division website.

Division of Soft Matter




Dr. King has published a Focus Review article on the topic of macroscale double networks in Polymer Journal.


Congratulations to all graduating students of the 2021FY!


Tsuyoshi Okumura

Masters Degree:

Ryotaro Nakamura

Bachelors Degree:

Haruka Mizutani

Thank you all for your hard work!


Dr. King was awarded the ACS PMSE (Polymer Materials: Science and Engineering) Young Investigators Award! He will give an honorary lecture at the ACS Fall Meeting, held from August 21-25 in Chicago, USA.


Takuya Nishimura was awarded an Award for Encouragement of Research at the 31st Annual Meeting of MRS-J. Congratulations Nishimura-san!


We are happy to announce that Tsuyoshi Okumura has successfully passed his Final Defense! Congratulations Dr. Okumura on a fantastic PhD!


We are happy to announce the publication of a highly collaborative a new paper in the Journal of Materials Chemistry A, entitled "High strength hydrogels enable dendrite-free Zn metal anodes and high-capacity Zn–MnO2 batteries via a modified mechanical suppression effect" by R. Zhu, W. Cui, D. R. King, T. Kurokawa, and coworkers. Congratulations Zhu-san!


Happy New Year! あけましておめでとうございます。今年もよろしくお願いします。



We celebrated the end of our first year as a group together in person by eating ジンギスカン (Lamb barbecue, a specialty of Hokkaido). The end of the year party is known as the 忘年会 (bonenkai), and is a common celebration held by all social and work groups in Japan. Thank you everyone for your hard work this year! お疲れさまでした。


We have published a new paper in Macromolecules, entitled "In Situ Evaluation of the Polymer Concentration Distribution of Microphase-Separated Polyelectrolyte Hydrogels by the Microelectrode Technique" by T. Nishimura, T. Kurokawa, and coworkers. Congratulations Nishimura-san!


Takuya Nishimura won an excellent poster presentation award at the 11th CSJ Chemistry Festa. Congratulations Nishimura-san!


We have published a new paper at Matter, entitled "Tiny yet tough: Maximizing the toughness of fiber-reinforced soft composites in the absence of a fiber-fracture mechanism" by W. Cui, D. R. King, and coworkers. This is a collaborative work with the Laboratory of Soft and Wet Matter. Congratulations Cui-san! Please send an email to dking at for reprints of this paper.


Our new paper is now available online (open access) at Scientific Reports, entitled "Improving the strength and toughness of macroscale double networks by exploiting Poisson's ratio mismatch" by T. Okumura, D. R. King, and coworkers. Congratulations Okumura-san!


Our new website is online!


Dr. King has published a preview article in Chem, the chemistry partner journal of Cell. Click here to see the article and abstract, and feel free to email us for a copy of the article!


Our new laboratory has formed!


Contact kurokawa at (日本語) or dking at (English)
to get more information about our laboratory

Funding and Support

We we would like to acknowledge our funding from the following sources: