Structural Physiology (Medical School, U Tokyo) Sho Yagishita

International Research Institute for Neurointelligence (IRCN, U Tokyo) Haruo Kasai 

We have revealed that our mind is shaped by motility of synaptic connections , and unravel the mysteries of our mind and mental disorders.

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How learning occurs and memory stored in our brain? In the cerebrum, excitatory synapses are made on tiny spiny protrusions of dendrite, called dendritic spines. We have extensively utilized microscopic investigation of cellular and molecular events, which allow labeling of potentiated synapses and optical manipulation of synapses and circuits. We have revealed that the dendritic spines show rapid enlargement in the hippocampus, neocortex, and basal ganglia when they get stronger. Then, we demonstrated that the enlargement underlies memory in vivo. Such dynamic spine motilities are the sites of endogenous neuromodulation, emotional responses, additive drugs, and therapeutic agents for mental disorders. Thus, neuronal circuits made by spines in the brain enable learning, memory, perception, emotion, and their impairments result in various mental disorders. We further clarify the nature of the spine motility, and making new optical, mechanical, molecular probes for a better understanding of learning and cognition and its impairments.


April 1, 2022

Haruo Kasai is assigned as a project professor in WPI-IRCN.

March 16, 2022

Our lab is recruiting graduate students and postdocs.

March 14, 2022

Dr. Haruo Kasai receives the Imperial Prize and the Japan Academy Prize

March 3, 2022

The last lecture of Prof. Haruo Kasai in Faculty of Medicine will be delivered at Tetsumon-kodo and Zoom.

Nov. 24, 2021

Our paper on the mechanical synaptic transmission has been published in Nature. F1000 Recommendation

July 1, 2021

Our review article on spine dynamics has published Nature Reviews Neuroscience.

May 15, 2021

Ms. Yuki Sakata has joined our lab!

March 16, 2021

Tomoki Arima has joined as a graduate student.

March 2, 2021

Dr. Fumihiro Eto has joined our lab!