Nagoya Research Center for Brain & Neural Circuits

About the Center

About the Center

The aim of the Center is to reveal basic principles of the operating systems that confer plasticity to the brain on the basis of the novel elements “local domains”. Various small laboratory model animals – C. elegans, Drosophila and small fishes allow us to fully utilize a wide range of experimental techniques such as genetics, molecular biology, imaging and optogenetics. In conjunction with theoretical studies involving imaging data analysis and mathematical modeling of biological phenomena, we seek to uncover the cross-species basic principle of neural information processing, that leads to better understanding of the nature of plasticity performed by our brains. The outcome of our research is expected to extend beyond the field of neuroscience, towards application in a wide range of fields such as the development of sophisticated artificial intelligence mimicking the brain, novel approaches in medicine and medical treatments, as well as in the fields of psychology, art, and linguistics.

Message from Unit Leader, Prof. Ikue Mori

Prof. Ikue Mori

We humans are equipped with superior mind of great flexibility and the ability to behave differently according to various circumstances, whereby enabling to live through constantly changing environment. Besides, artists produce their work, composers create musical pieces, novelists write stories, and scientists conduct creative researches. Innumerable creative human activities that underlie the driving force for the accomplishment of “breakthrough”, “originality”, “innovation”, “persistence” and so forth are implemented in our brain. How are flexibility and plasticity expressed in the brain? Our research unit challenges to address this long-standing mystery in history, through the elucidation of the mechanisms underlying information processing of the neural circuits in small brain model animals. Nagoya University owns an unprecedented scientific environment, where many scientists are gathered to work on information processing of the nervous systems using small-scale model organisms such as C. elegans, fruit fly and zebrafish. We hope to bring the groundbreaking concepts into the field of brain science, by making our research unit act as a hub of the worldwide exchange among excellent scientists. In the future perspective, we expect to expand our researches to understand the biological bases of possibly all human activities including vocal and non-vocal communications, entrepreneurship, changes in economical and political trends, and artistic activities. The research activities in our unit also should provide the mechanistic insights into the onset of mental and neurological disorders that are caused by the breakdown of the brain functions. Please come and visit our center, and let’s commence discussing about the brain!


Researches at the Center will be led by the following core members: four experimental biologists working with small model animals (Ikue Mori, studying C. elegans; Azusa Kamikouchi, studying Drosophila; Hiroko Bannai and Tsunehiko Kohashi, studying small fishes, all at Nagoya University) and a theoretical biologist working on the establishment of data analysis methods and theoretical modeling (Rex Kerr at the University of California, San Francisco). In addition, in collaboration with associated research projects at Nagoya University as well as institutions both domestic and international, we will continue, as an interdisciplinary, integrated hub of brain research, to promote unique leading edge researches.

Relating Projects

  • Program for Advancing Strategic International Networks to Accelerate the Circulation of Talented Researchers, JSPSCenter for Integrative Imaging Science from Subatomic Dynamics to Brain Function, Nagoya University
  • World Premier International Research Center Initiative (WPI), MEXT
    Institute of Transformative Bio-Molecules, Nagoya University

Cooperating Institutes

- National Institute for Physiological Sciences (Japan)
- Toyohashi University of Technology (Japan)
- University of Tokyo (Japan)
- Kyoto University (Japan)
- Harvard Medical School (USA)
- HHMI Janelia Farm Research Campas (USA)
- Inha University (Republic of Korea)
- University of Freiburg (Germany)

Back to Top