Our laboratory studies neural circuit mechanisms underlying various advanced brain functions such as cognitive learning and decision making using molecular techniques for neural circuit specific manipulation. We use several mouse models to reveal molecular pathologies of neuropsychiatric diseases. We focus on molecular mechanisms of gene-environment interaction in the pathogenesis of mental disorders. We also promote translational research for targeting mental disorders.
Figure. Cognitive learning tasks for mice
Current Research Programs
1. Analysis of neural circuit mechanisms in advanced brain functions
2. Molecular analysis of neuropsychiatric pathologies
3. Translational research of mental disorders
1. Dopamine D2L receptor is required for visual discrimination and reversal learning. Morita et al. (2016) Mol. Neuropsychiatry, 2: 124-132.
2. Nucleus accumbens dopamine D2-receptor expressing neurons control behavioral flexibility in a place discrimination task in the IntelliCage. Macpherson et al. (2016) Learn. Mem., 23: 359-364.
3. Distinct roles of segregated transmission of the septo-habenular pathway in anxiety and fear. Yamaguchi et al. (2013) Neuron, 78: 537-544.
4. Pathway-specific modulation of nucleus accumbens in reward and aversive behavior via selective transmitter receptors. Hikida et al. (2013) Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A., 110: 342-347.
5. Distinct roles of synaptic transmission in direct and indirect striatal pathways to reward and aversive behavior. Hikida et al. (2010) Neuron, 66: 896-907.
Dominant-negative DISC1 transgenic mice display schizophrenia-associated phenotypes detected by measures translatable to humans. Hikida et al. (2007) Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A., 104: 14501-14506.