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Learning and Memory Project

Molecular Physiology of Memory Network

Project Leader Minoru Saitoe

Project Leader
Minoru Saitoe

Minoru Saitoe is the vice-director of TMIMS, the head of the Learning and Memory Project, the director of the Center for Basic Technology Research, and a visiting professor at Tokyo Metropolitan University. Dr. Saitoe received his B.A. in Organic Chemistry from Osaka University, his M.S. in Biochemistry from the Tokyo Institute of Technology, and his Ph.D. from the University of Tokyo for studying physiological functions of gap junctions during Ascidian neural development. Currently, his research focus is to elucidate mechanisms involved in Drosophila learning and memory and synaptic plasticity. He is especially interested in glial-neuron networks, functional diversity of the monoamine system, and age-related memory impairments. Other interests include the molecular and neural bases of psychological phenomenon such as empathy and causality.

Backgrounds

Learning and memory are important higher brain functions that represent fundamental mental activity and the maintenance of proper learning and memory function is necessary for maintaining quality of life.

This project aims to understand how the brain memorizes, stores, and as necessary, recalls important information by elucidating the activity of neural and molecular pathways responsible for storage. Simultaneously, it explores at the molecular and circuit levels the causes of memory dysfunction that arises due to aging and neuropsychiatric disease to provide basic data that may contribute toward apposite countermeasures.

Objectives

  • To identify the genes responsible for learning and memory in a Drosophila model and attempt the visualization of the memory process using state-of-the-art imaging and light manipulation technology
  • To clarify the basic principles of learning and memory by verifying the findings from Drosophila model in mammalian models
  • To identify and abstract the molecular and neural basis of various memory impairment conditions from the complementary analysis of Drosophila and mammalian models

Members

Project Leader Minoru Saitoe

  • Kohei Ueno
  • Motomi Matsuno
  • Tomoyuki Miyashita
  • Takahiro Ishikawa
  • Shintaro Nagano
  • Yoshinori Suzuki