We are interested in axon guidance, a research field that deals with everything about how the neuronal network in our brain is built and refined during early development and matures and changes throughout the entire lifetime. By combining molecular, cellular, histological, genetic, and electrophysiological approaches, our laboratory seeks to comprehensively understand the formation and modification of brain circuits. Mouse is the main model system utilized to address these issues, but we had experiences in using other model organisms such as chick, ferret, and C. elegans as well.
One of the fundamental questions we would like to understand is the intricate regulatory processes to generate the neuronal network that on one hand is stereotyped enough to allow universal human brain functions, but on the other hand is plastic enough to create individual differences. Such passion has led to our recent focus on the issues concerning how the adult-generated neurons functionally integrate into the mature circuits in the hippocampus and how aging processes can alter this integration. Given the known role of hippocampus in learning and memory, we hope our research will ultimately provide basic insight into the fundamental understanding of memory loss in aged population – a question that is highly related to human mental health in general.