Planned Research

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A01Basic technology for dynamics and control of neural circuit

Kazuto Kobayashi (Fukushima Medical University) (Representative)

“Technology for pathway-specific manipulation and control of neural circuit”

Our research group will develop the novel technology for genetic manipulation and control of neural circuit functions in the central nervous system. In particular, the highly efficient/neuron-specific retrograde gene transfer vector systems are useful for pathway-specific manipulation of the circuit functions in a wide range of brain science fields. In this project, our genetic technology will be extended further to control the activity of selective neuronal types in the circuit and applied for the study of neural mechanisms underlying the functional shift of the cortico-basal ganglia circuit during processes of operant learning…

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Hirotaka Onoe (National Institute for Physiological Sciences)


Noninvasive imaging technologies for measuring neural circuit activity

The overall goal of our team is to contribute to understanding pathological processes in the nervous system caused by changes in functional structures and to improve diagnostic and treatment strategies by using Positron Emission Tomography (PET) and Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI). To accomplish our goal, we aim to develop three methods: (1) dynamic imaging for complex biological and cellular functions in the living state, (2) clarification of the spatio-temporal processes…

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Yasuharu Koike (Tokyo Institute of Technology)

“Technology for computational modeling that connects behavior and brain neural activity”

Musculoskeletal system model is the basis of the body movement, and is intended to connect the behavior and neural activity. In order to understand the the functional shift of brain neural circuit for behavioral adaptation, this model plays crucial role for analyzing the behavioral and neural activities through the dynamics of the body. In this study, a mathematical model analysis technique is applied to learning process, including the recovery from the damage of neural circuit…

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A02Development of transition of neural circuit for behavioral adaptation

Yoshikazu Isomura (Tamagawa University)

“Adaptive circuit shift for behavior acquisition and adaptation during operant learning “

Animals often acquire an appropriate behavior for their optimal goal by operant learning, and the behavior will be adapted and changed as a habit eventually after its heavy repetition. Although this process has been believed to be accomplished by a functional shift in parallel cortex-basal ganglia loops, little is known about the circuit mechanism itself in detail. So far, we have established a useful behavioral task system in which rats operantly learn a lever manipulation with their forelimb in a head-fixed condition, …

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Fumino Fujiyama (Doshisha University)

“Structural foundation of neural circuits that are involved during the acquisition and consolidation of a skill”

In motor learning, there exist two phases: a phase for acquiring skills through trial and error (early phase) and a phase for further improving the skill after proficiency (late phase). Recent studies have reported that for the process of this motor learning, the functional shift between different regions of the striatum is involved (Yin et al., 2009)…

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A03Injury and recovery of neural circuit for behavioral adaptation

Tadashi Isa (Kyoto University / National Institute for Physiological Sciences)

“Dynamic transition of large-scaled network operation during recovery from brain and spinal cord injury”

Operation of the large-scaled network of the brain is dynamically and flexibly regulated depending on its inner status and environmental impact. Recovery after the brain and/or spinal cord injury is its typical example and understanding the functional recovery at large-scaled network would be help designing the effective neurorehabilitation therapies. We have been working on the neural mechanism of functional recovery of dexterous finger movements after the partial spinal cord injury in macaque monkeys…

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Hidenori Aizawa (Hiroshima University)

“Adaptation of neural pathways regulating monoamine metabolism in stress-coping behaviors”

When the animals face the environmental challenge as stress, they are supposed to cope with stress by decision making in behavior. In such conditions with stress, we observe the mouse exhibits alternation of two coping behaviors, i.e., struggling and immobility. Despite the significance of these adaptive choices of behaviors in survival, neural mechanism underlying it remains unclear…

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Ken-Ichiro Tsutsui (Tohoku University)


“Adaptive dynamics of the cortico-cortical neural networks controlling emotion and attention”

We use transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) as a tool for investigating the function of the brain in animal experiments. Application of TMS facilitates or inhibits the local neural activity, which in turn leads to the change of the network dynamics of the whole brain and the change of emotional or attentional state.

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