Morphological Brain Science


The focus of our research is to elucidate the design of the neuronal circuitry and to discover the principles of brain circuits that account for the emergence of ‘mind’. Because the cerebral cortex is a key structure which might produce ‘mind’, our efforts are basically focused on the morphological analysis of the neuronal circuitry of the cerebral cortex. We are also testing possible principles, such as information maximization and sparse coding principles, by using a computer simulation technique of a cortical circuitry model with the help of researchers in other Faculties.

Research and Education

Research: Local neuronal circuitry of the cerebral cortex is considered to be the basis of the higher functions executed by the brain. To this end, (1) we are trying to classify cortical neurons based on the functional molecules, such as neurotransmitters and their receptors, and (2) analyzing the design of cortical circuits which are formed between those functional neuron groups. To this end, we use (1) various morphological techniques, such as light- and electron-microscopy, neuronal tracing method, immunocytochemistry and in situ hybridization histochemistry, (2) intracellular and whole-cell recording and labeling techniques in electrophysiology, and (3) molecular-biological techniques of viral vectors and transgenic animals. We also apply the computer simulation method to the cortical circuitry model of the cerebral cortex.
Education: The staffs instruct the graduate students and junior researchers in the general structure of the central nervous system and useful methods for the circuit analysis. However, we hope that young people may find unique research subjects by themselves and advance the research based on their own idea.

A, B: The information input site of cortical interneurons is visualized with somatodendritic membrane-targeted GFP (Eur J Neurosci, 2013).
C: Ihhibitory inputs of various cortical interneurons to parvalbumin (PV)-producing interneurons (J Neurosci, 2013).

Recent Publications

1. Kuramoto E, Furuta T, Nakamura KC, Unzai T, Hioki H, Kaneko T. Two types of thalamocortical projections from the motor thalamic nuclei of the rat: A single neuron tracing study using viral vectors. Cerebral Cortex 19: 2065-2077, 2009.
2. Furuta T, Deschênes M, Kaneko T. Anisotropic distribution of thalamocortical boutons in barrels. The Journal of Neuroscience 31: 6432-6439, 2011.
3. Hioki H, Okamoto S, Konno M, Kameda H, Sohn J, Kuramoto E, Fujiyama F, Kaneko T. Cell type-specific inhibitory inputs to dendritic and somatic compartments of parvalbumin-expressing neocortical interneuron. The Journal of Neuroscience 33: 544-555, 2013.
4. Sohn J, Okamoto S, Kataoka N, Kaneko T, Nakamura K, Hioki H. Differential Inputs to the Perisomatic and Distal-Dendritic Compartments of VIP-Positive Neurons in Layer 2/3 of the Mouse Barrel Cortex. Frontiers in Neuroanatomy 10: Article 124, 2016.

Morphological Brain Science

Associate Professor: Takahiro Furuta, PhD
Program-Specific Senior Lecturer: Wakoto Matsuda, MD, PhD
Assistant Professor: Hiroyuki Hioki, MD, PhD
Program-Specific Assistant Professor: Eriko Kuramoto, PhD
Contact: TEL +81-75-753-4331
FAX +81-75-753-4340