|Graduate School of Science||Biological Sciences||Professor|
thirano (at) neurosci.biophys.kyoto-u.ac.jp
Synapses are functional contacts between nerve cells (neurons) and are engaged in cell-to-cell communication. The efficacy of information transmission at the synapse changes depending on the previous activities of pre- and/or post-synaptic neurons. Such change is called synaptic plasticity, and has been considered as a cellular basis of learning and memory. I am interested in the molecular and cellular mechanisms of induction, regulation and maintenance of synaptic plasticity, and are also interested in the roles of synaptic plasticity in control of animal behavior. We have paid particular attention to the cerebellar cortex, which shows simple, regular, crystal-like structure. The cerebellar cortex is involved in the motor control and motor learning, and all constituent neurons and their synaptic connections have been well described. We are studying the mechanisms of synaptic plasticity and its role in learning. The techniques we use are molecular biology, biochemistry, cell biology, electrophysiology (patch clamp), live imaging of fluorescent molecules such as GFP (with confocal and two-photon microscopes), production and utilization of mutant (transgenic and knockout) mice, in vivo recording of neuronal activity, behavioral tests including eye movement recording, and computer simulation.
Overview of your research
Fields of research (key words)
Synapse, Plasticity, Learning, Memory, Cerebellum