Academic Profile : Faculty

atashiro_1_2.JPG picture
Asst Prof Ayumu Tashiro
Assistant Professor, School of Biological Sciences
2012- current Assistant professor School of Biological Sciences, NTU
2006-2013 Researcher Kavli Institute for Systems Neuroscience, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Trondheim, Norway
2003-2006 Postdoctoral fellow, Salk Institute for Biological Studies, La Jolla, USA
2002-2003 Postdoctoral fellow, Columbia University, New York, USA
Our lab studies the function of hippocampus circuitry through an interdisciplinary approach combining virus-mediated genetic manipulation, optogenetics and unit recording techniques in behaving rodents. The hippocampus is well known for its functions in memory formation. We are interested in how neuronal circuits in the hippocampus mediate these functions. We particularly focus on two distinct phenomena occurring in the adult hippocampus.

The first is adult neurogenesis (generation of new neurons), which occurs exclusively in a hippocampal subregion called the dentate gyrus and a few other area outside the hippocampus. We are interested in 1) how neural processing/activity in the dentate gyrus determines birth of new neurons and their subsequent functional integration into existing circuits and 2) how those new neurons integrated into circuits contribute to the hippocampal functions.

The second focus is the cellular mechanism of place-cell activity. Place cells are electrophysiologically-defined cell types found in multiple subregions of the hippocampus. When animals explore environments, place cells fire at specific locations in the environments, which suggests that place-cell activity mediates spatial memory processing in the hippocampus. We investigate cellular mechanism underlying properties of place-cell activity using virus-mediated local genetic manipulations.

Our goal is to understand physiological mechanisms in the hippocampus and to provide basic information which is critical to treat and cure brain disorders including dementia, neurodegenerative disease and depression.
  • Connect choline deficiency during pregnancy with unfolded protein response and Alzheimer diseases
  • Investigating temporal information processing in the hippocampus during a trace eyeblink conditioning task
  • Neurophysiological study of the neural circuits underlying working memory ageing
2008 Gruber International research award in Neuroscience