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 - Basic Medicine (Core Departments) - Basic Neuroscience
Integrative Brain Science
In recent years, progress in various methods of research has opened the doors to revealing much about the integrative functions of the brain, such as emotion, consciousness, and the mind. However, there is still much to be learned about the brain. The brain is an organ, acquired in the course of evolution, for information processing, and it is a highly sophisticated system made up of over 100 billion intertwined neurons. It can do the work that not even the most advanced computer could possibly carry out. The study of the brain is not complete unless approached from both the biological (the hardware) and the computational (the software) angles. People proficient in all sorts of disciplines are invited to collaborate in exploring this ultimate theme.

  Kenji Kawano, M.D., Ph.D.
Research and Education
Various techniques employed in neuroscience, such as molecular biology, neuroanatomy, and brain imaging techniques are constantly unfolding and reporting new findings. It is a rapidly advancing field. In our laboratory, we address the brain as an information processing system, and apply neurophysiological techniques to study the function of the intricate neural network that is behind human perception, planned action and thought. (1) We focus on visual tracking responses of the eyes to study the transformation of sensory to motor information. We have recorded neuronal activities in different parts of the brain while monkeys performed visual-oculomotor tasks. We analyzed the data using mathematical methods and revealed the role of the cerebral cortical area MST and cerebellum in controlling the ocular following response. To fully understand the function of the brain, we have found that simultaneously application of two approaches most effective. One is the analytical approach based on the biological properties of the neurons by electrophysiology, and the other is an integrative high level systems approach by computational neuroscience. We will continue to pursue this theme in studying higher brain functions. (2)The aim of another group is to elucidate neural mechanisms underlying visual attention. We examined neuronal activities in multiple cortical areas of macaque monkeys performing a visual search, and have revealed the hierarchical and integrative processing manner over multiple cortical areas.
Education and training of young prospective researchers are also our primary concern. We have a comprehensive series of lectures for graduate school (master course) students and neuroscience seminars for graduate school (doctor course) students.

Integrative Brain Science
Professor Kenji Kawano

Tadashi Ogawa

Takeshi Nishio, Kenichiro Miura
TEL +81-75-753-4675
FAX +81-75-753-4486
Information processing in the brain for ocular following response.
Multidimensional visual search task and neuronal dynamics
of bottom-up and top-down signals in visual area V4
A set-up for a human oculomotor experiment.
Recent Publications
1. Inaba N, Miura K, Kawano K (2011) Direction and speed tuning to visual motion in cortical areas MT and MSTd during smooth pursuit eye movements. J Neurophysiol. 105:1531-45.
2. Ogawa T, Komatsu H, (2010) Differential temporal storage capacity in the baseline activity of neurons in macaque frontal eye field and area V4. J Neurophysiol. 103: 2433-45.
3. Miura K, Kobayashi Y, Kawano K. (2009) Ocular responses to brief motion of textured backgrounds during smooth pursuit in humans. J Neurophysiol. 102:1736-47.
4. Ogawa T, Komatsu H. (2009) Condition-dependent and condition-independent target selection in the macaque posterior parietal cortex. J Neurophysiol. 101:721-36.
5. Miura K, Sugita Y, Matsuura K, Inaba N, Kawano K, Miles FA (2008) The initial disparity vergence elicited with single and dual grating stimuli in monkeys: evidence for disparity energy sensing and nonlinear interactions. J Neurophysiol. 100:2907-18.
6. Hayashi R, Miura K, Tabata H, Kawano K (2008) Eye movements in response to dichoptic motion: evidence for a parallel-hierarchical structure of visual motion processing in primates. J Neurophysiol. 99:2329-46.
7. Inaba N, Shinomoto S, Yamane S, Takemura A, Kawano K (2007) MST neurons code for visual motion in space independent of pursuit eye movements. J Neurophysiol. 97:3473-83.