Researcher Information

MIZUNAMI Makoto

Professor

Exploring basic design of insect microbrains

Department of Biological Sciences, Behavioral Neurobiology

basic_photo_1
Theme

The goal of our study is to elucidate elution of brain and behavior of animals, by using insects as model animals. To achieve this goal, we are studying the mechanisms of Pavlovian learning in insects and examining how they differ from, or analogous to, those of mammals, including humans.

FieldNeuroscience, Neuroetholgy, Learning and Memory, Neurophysiology, Animal Psychology, Behavioral Neurobiology, Animal Behavior
Keywordinsects, microbrain, Learning, memory, behavior, brain evolution, mushroom body, olfaction, vision, Pavlovian conditioning, octopamine, dopamine, error-correction learning, reward, punishment, habit formation, cockroaches, crickets

Introduction of Research

We are interested in elucidating functional design of the insect brain, which we have termed “microbrains”, and comparing it to that of the brains of mammals, including humans. One of our research focuses is the role of the mushroom body, a multisensory association center of the insect brain, in various forms of learning. We use crickets and cockroaches as model animals.
Our recent focus is the roles of the octopaminergic reward system and dopaminergic punishment system in olfactory and visual learning in crickets, and we showed that these neurons participate in highly sophisticated information processing, often called “cognitive” process, to achieve Pavlovian conditioning in insects.
For more details, visit our website: https://www.sci.hokudai.ac.jp/~mizunami/MICROB~2/E-index.htm

study-image-0
A cricket is exploring a learned odor
study-image-1
A cricket is exploring a learned visual pattern
study-image-2
A neural circuit model for Pavlovian conditioning and performance of conditioned response in crickets
study-image-3
A photograph of the brain of American cockroach
study-image-4
GABAergic neuron of the cockroach muchroom body
study-image-5
Photographs of the cockroch mushroom body and its extrinsic neuron

Representative Achievements

Mizunami M., Hirohata S., Sato A., Arai R., Terao K., Sato M. and Matsumoto Y. (2019). Development of behavioral automaticity by extended Pavlovian training in an insect. Proc. R. Soc. B. (in press).
Terao K, Mizunami M. (2017) Roles of dopamine neurons in mediating the prediction error in aversive learning in insects. Sci. Rep. 7:14694.
Takahashi N, Katoh K, Watanabe H, Nakayama Y, Iwasaki M, Mizunami M, Nishino H. (2017) Complete identification of four calycal giant interneurons supplying mushroom body calyces in an insect brain. J. Comp. Neurol. 525:204–230.
Takahashi N, Katoh K, Watanabe H, Nakayama Y, Iwasaki M, Mizunami M, Nishino H. (2017) Complete identification of four calycal giant interneurons supplying mushroom body calyces in an insect brain. J. Comp. Neurol. 525:204–230.
Terao K, Matsumoto Y, Mizunami M (2015) Critical evidence for the prediction error theory in associative learning. Sci. Rep. 5: 8929.
basic_photo_2
Academic degreePh.D.
Self Introduction

Sudents who are intersted in the study of brain, behavior and evolution of insects are most welcome to our lab.

Academic background1980 Graduated from Faculty of Science, Kyushu University.
1982 Received Master of Science from Graduate School of Science, Kyushu University.
1984-1993 Research associate, Faculty of Science, Kyushu University.
1993-2002 Associate professor, Research Institute for Electronic Science, Hokkaido University.
2001-2009 Associate professor, Graduate School of Life Sciences, Tohoku University.
2009-2010 Professor, Faculty of Advanced Life Science, Hokkaido University.
2010- present
Affiliated academic societyThe Zoological Society of Japan, Japanese Society for Comparative Physiology and Biochemistry, International Congress of Neuroethology, American Society of Neuroscience
Room addressGeneral Research Building 5 5-911