Dai Watanabe, M.D., Ph.D.Professor
Understanding of the brain is the greatest frontier in life science and medical research. The field of neuroscience has made enormous progress over the past several decades. However, the basic principles of brain function and cognition remain only partly understood. To open the new horizons in this research field, passion and imagination of young people are indispensable. We welcome young students, and hope we can work hard together and develop innovative techniques and novel ideas to solve the complexities of the brain and the mysteries of our mind.
Research and EducationThe brain is the most complex thing we have yet discovered in our universe. This single organ controls all the body activities, including heartbeat, breathing, appetite, sleep and sexual function. The brain produces our ability of sensory perception, motor action, learning and memory; it shapes our emotions, thoughts and behaviors. Importantly, from medical point of view, more than 1,000 brain disorders result in more hospitalizations and lost productivity than any other disease group, including heart disease and cancer.
Our laboratory address how trillions of brain cells grow and organize themselves into functional systems. We also study how factors during early development and aging cause brain dysfunction. To achieve this, we utilize various techniques such as molecular biology, electrophysiology, imaging, gene manipulation of living animals, behavioral analysis and gene profiling. Currently, we focus our research on the neural circuits involved in complex behavioral skills that are acquired through social interaction. Our studies will facilitate the understanding of high-order brain functions such as human language.
① Cortical neurons involved in learned vocal communication
② Laboratory members
Recent Publications1. Matsui, R., Tanabe, Y., and Watanabe, D. (2012). Avian Adeno-Associated virus vector efficiently transduces neurons in the embryonic and post-embryonic chicken brain. PLoS ONE 7, e48730
2. Kinoshita, M., Matsui, R., Kato, S., Hasegawa, T., Kasahara, H., Isa, K., Watakabe, A., Yamamori, T., Nishimura, Y., Alstermark, B., Watanabe, D., Kobayashi, K., and Isa, T. (2012). Genetic dissection of the circuit for hand dexterity in primates. Nature 487, 235–238.
3. Abe, K., and Watanabe, D. (2011). Songbirds possess the spontaneous ability to discriminate syntactic rules.Nat Neurosci 14, 1067–1074.
4. Fujimoto, H., Hasegawa, T., and Watanabe, D. (2011). Neural coding of syntactic structure in learned vocalizations in the songbird. J Neurosci 31, 10023–10033.
Biological SciencesProfessor: Dai Watanabe
Senior Lecturers: Kentaro Abe・Kosuke Hamaguchi
Assistant Professor: Ryosuke Matsui
Program-Specific Assistant Professor：Taku Hasegawa