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Our laboratory studies the molecular mechanisms of synaptic function regulation using neurotransmitter imaging and super-resolution microscopy techniques. Especially, we aim to elucidate the operating principles of neural circuits by focusing on the relationship between the spatiotemporal dynamics of nanometer-scale supramolecular complexes at the synapse and synaptic plasticity. We are also working on the development of fluorescent probes using organic chemistry and protein engineering, and super-resolution microscopy techniques integrating informatics and optics.
Using in vivo two-photon calcium imaging with cellular and synaptic resolution, our laboratory aims to elucidate the basic structure and principles of neural circuits and their development in cortical visual cortex, where information processing occurs through the interaction of local neural circuits and multiple higher-order visual areas. Since our research interests range from development to neural information processing, we welcome students who have studied mathematics and physics as well as biology.
We study synaptic functions and their changes in postnatal development, learning and memory in the cerebellum, hippocampus, striatum, and cerebral cortex by observing neuronal activity in real time using patch-clamp and functional molecular imaging techniques. We focus on synaptic pruning in the developing cerebellum and retrograde synaptic transmission by endogenous cannabinoids in the hippocampus, striatum, and cerebral cortex.
The frontal cortex is the areas that create phenomena that do not exist in the external world, such as behavior and thought. In behaving mice and marmosets, we clarify the inputs, layer-specific local circuits, and outputs in frontal cortical circuits at the single cell level by wide-field imaging and electrical measurement, and map the circuit activity to behavior by optical manipulation. We aim to elucidate the substance and principles of functional brain circuits that realize decision making, motor learning, and brain-machine interface.
Our lab focuses on the research field called systems biology, which considers life as systems and understands target systems from the characteristics and relationships of their components. We are now trying to develop human systems biology using sleep-wake rhythms as a model system. We aim to understand the "biological timing" information of human sleep and wakefulness from the molecular level to the level of individuals living in society. To this end, our lab uses proteomics, mouse genetics, whole-brain imaging, and human behaviral analysis to clarify the causal relationship between gene polymorphisms and phenotypes. Students from various backgrounds are highly welcomed.
In this program, we are investigating neuronal and glial functions in the processes from network formation to degeneration in the nervous system. Through visualization and manipulation of membrane dynamics with state-of-the-art techniques and qualitative/quantitative analyses of membrane lipids using chromatography-mass spectrometry, we will clarify the role of lipid-related signals at cell membranes.