The goal of our laboratory is to reveal the functional design of insect brain, which we have termed “microbrains”. To achieve this goal, we are studying molecular, cellular and neuron-network mechanisms of visual and olfactory learning in insects. One of our research focuses is the role of the mushroom body, an association center of the insect brain, in various forms of learning.
We are also studying the roles of the octopaminergic reward system and dopaminergic punishment system in olfactory and visual learning in crickets, and we are revealing that sophisticated information processing, often called “cognitive” process, underlies learning in insects.
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The goal of our study to open a new field of evolutionary neurobiology. Students and young researchers interested in the brain, behavior and evolution are most welcome to our laboratory.
- Watanabe H., Matsumoto S.C., Nishino H. and Mizunami M. (2011) Critical roles of mecamylamine-sensitive mushroom body neurons in insect olfactory learning. Neurobiol. Learn. Mem. 95:1-13.
- Yamagata N. and Mizunami M. (2010) Spatial representation of alarm pheromone information in a secondary olfactory center in the ant brain. Proc. R. Soc. B.277: 2465-2475.
- Mizunami M., Matsumoto Y. (2010) Roles of aminergic neurons in formation and recall of associative memory in crickets. Frontiers Behav. Neurosci. 4, 172.
- Mizunami M., Yamagata N. and Nishino H. (2010) Alarm pheromone processing in the ant brain: an evolutionary perspective. Frontiers Behav. Neurosci. 4, 28
- Mizunami M., Unoki S., Mori Y., Hirashima D., Hatano A., and Matsumoto Y. (2009) Roles of octopaminergic and dopaminergic neurons in appetitive and aversive memory recall in an insect. BMC Biology 7:46.