[Multisensory Integration] Year Started : 2021

Qi An

Clarification of rehabilitation skill of sensory intervention and development of assistive device

Researcher
Qi An

Associate Professor
Graduate School of Frontier Sciences
The University of Tokyo

Outline

Children with cerebral palsy are unable to form “body representations,” which show the relationship between sensory inputs and muscle activity, and their movement is impaired. To improve their motor functions, this study will first elucidate the rehabilitation skills that physical therapists intervene on the sensory systems of children with cerebral palsy and their effect on the infant’s movement. Then assistive orthotics will be developed that promote the formation of body representations based on the skill of physical therapist. It is expected that the orthotic devices and methodologies that improve the body representation in the brain will improve the motor functions of not only children with cerebral palsy but also the elderly and brain-injured patients.

Yuki Ishikawa

Regulatory mechanism of target recognition using a multisensory system in a small brain

Researcher
Yuki Ishikawa

Lecturer
Graduate School of Science
Nagoya University

Outline

Animals can recognize specific targets in a complex environment. My research project focuses on one of such phenomena, a flower-visiting behavior of insects, to investigate how they recognize flowers with small brains. By introducing genetic tools into flower-visiting Drosophila, I will identify the sensory modalities and signals used for target recognition to flowers, as well as the underlying neural mechanisms. By mimicking the sensory inputs, I aim to understand the reguratory mechanisms that integrate multiple sensory signals.

Shinya Ohara

Elucidating the sensory gating mechanism of the medial temporal lobe

Researcher
Shinya Ohara

Assistant Professor
Graduate School of Life Sciences
Tohoku University

Outline

Our brain receives various types of sensory information through sensory organs, and associate these information in the medial temporal lobe to form memory. Although we receive large amounts of sensory information in daily life, only part of that information that is necessary for survival is stored as memory. The aim of this study is to clarify this sensory gating mechanism of the medial temporal lobe involved in the selection of necessary information. In addition, we will also focus on monoamine neurotransmitters to understand how emotion regulates this sensory gating mechanism.

Jun Kunimatsu

The effects of respiration on multisensory information processing

Researcher
Jun Kunimatsu

Assistant Professor
Faculty of Medicine
University of Tsukuba

Outline

It is known that athletes can regulate their breathing patterns to facilitate high athletic performance. This may suggest that humans can control the acuteness of their senses by manipulating their breathing. In this study, we examine in detail the effects of respiratory patterns on multisensory perception, and reveal the undergirding neuronal mechanisms at the neural circuit level by using an animal model. Through this study, we aim to develop a novel concept of respiration to the algorithm of sensory information processing and to create a novel technology to manipulate sensory sensitivity.

Kunio Kondoh

Innovative analysis method development for neural circuits from sensory organs to peripheral tissues

Researcher
Kunio Kondoh

Assistant Professor
National Institute for Physiological Sciences
National Institute of Natural Sciences

Outline

Our body has a mechanism called “homeostasis” that maintains a stable internal state in response to challenges from the external or internal environment. In homeostasis, the brain uses information from sensory organs to regulate the functions of peripheral tissues. However, the mechanism by which information is transmitted from sensory organs to peripheral tissues is not well understood. In this study, I will develop new methods that enable us to analyze neural circuits that transmit information from sensory organs to peripheral tissues through the brain. With this method, I will elucidate the mechanism by which the brain controls energy homeostasis.

Ryo Sasaki

Neural circuits of multimodal spatiotemporal integration during flexible foraging navigation

Researcher
Ryo Sasaki

Assistant Professor
Graduate School of Medicine
Kyoto University

Outline

The main goal of this project is to understand the neural mechanisms underlying spatiotemporal integration/switching of processing across multiple brain areas during foraging navigation. First, a multi-scale behavioral paradigm will be developed to quantify a series of cognitive behaviors (i.e., sensory-decision-motor). A large number of brain regions will be observed simultaneously from behaving animals to identify the dynamics of each brain network. Additionally, a multi-layered network decoder that flexibly integrate/switch multiple factors from the multi-brain neural activities will be constructed to estimate the animal’s choice in real time. Furthermore, optogenetics will be utilized to selectively manipulate neural computations to unveil the mechanisms of the brain that integrate/switch the multi-scale information actively at the neural circuit level.

Genichi Tasaka

Dissecting neural circuits for multisensory processing in the parental brain

Researcher
Genichi Tasaka

Senior Research Scientist
BDR
Riken Institute

Outline

Animals are constantly exposed to a wide variety of sensory stimuli. The brain is required to gate multimodal sensory information to make the right decision and actions. However, underlying mechanisms of how multimodal sensory stimuli are processed to drive behaviors in the brain are largely unknown. To tackle this question, I will study multisensory processing using parental behaviors as a model that are driven by their pup’s multisensory stimuli. In this project, I will record the neural activity during parental behaviors from thousands of neurons across multiple brain areas to elucidate the neural circuits to process multimodal sensory information.

Ken-ichiro Nakajima

Novel gut-brain axis for the formation of acquired food preference

Researcher
Ken-ichiro Nakajima

Professor
Graduate School of Bioagricultural Sciences
Nagoya University

Outline

Taste and food preferences are not fixed but often change in animals including human. However, the mechanism of how originally non-attractive food become attractive (Food Revaluation, FR) remains unclear. In this study, I focus on a novel gut-brain axis to sense vitamin B1 that is known to play a pivotal role in energy homeostasis in all animals as a co-factor for multiple enzymes in TCA cycle. By characterizing roles of the relay points (gut, vagal afferents, brainstem, higher brain region) forming this gut-brain axis in a recovery process from B1 deficiency-induced appetite loss in details, my goal is an identification of key neurons to trigger FR.

Hiroyuki Manabe

Elucidation of information integration map in olfactory cortex and its application

Researcher
Hiroyuki Manabe

Associate professor
Faculty of Medicine
Nara Medical University

Outline

The circuit mechanisms by which sensory inputs are converted into behavioral outputs are unknown. In this project, I test the hypothesis that each olfactory cortex subregion associates odor input and top-down input from higher regions in a specific manner and construct an olfactory cortical information integration map. Next, I clarify the causal relationship between the circuit mechanisms in the map and the behavioral outputs. Then, based on the knowledge, I aim to elucidate the common principles of multisensory network mechanisms.

Hiroshi Yamaguchi

Multisensory integration in torpor

Researcher
Hiroshi Yamaguchi

Specially Appointed Assistant Professor
Research Institute of Environmental Medicine
Nagoya University

Outline

In this research, I aim to clarify the operating mechanisms of multisensory systems that control fasting induced torpor in mice by using virus tracing technology, in vivo gene editing technology, and optogenetics.

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