Research Projects

From Sensory Perception to Memory
in Health and Disease

 

Imagine that you smell some delicious foods as you walk down a street – and suddenly you start to recall the good old days you had that dish when you were small. This is a typical example showing the powerful link between memory and olfaction – the sense of smell. But how do neuronal circuits in your brain enable that? And why do we have to loose such a precious memory when we get old?

 

We are investigating circuit mechanism of sensory perception and memory, using rodents as model organisms. We are also clarifying what neural circuits are affected and how the impairments of neuronal activities cause memory loss in Alzheimer’s disease.

olf-HPC

We are using ‘olfactory-hippocampal circuits’ as a model system. This system has several advantages including:
– Sensory and memory circuits can be investigated as a continuous system
– Rodents show robust olfactory-guided behaviors
– We can use genetic methods in rodents
– Simpler circuit compared to other sensory systems such as visual system

Our lab uses state-of-the-art systems neuroscience techniques:
– Optogenetic-assisted in vivo multi-unit spike and LFP recordings
– Olfactory-cued memory behavior tasks
– High-resolution functional anatomy

These works are supported by grants from Japan Science and Technology Agency, and Mishima Kaiun Foundation.