FY2011 Annual Report

Human Developmental Neurobiology Unit

Professor Gail Tripp


The research of the Human Developmental Neurobiology Unit focuses on advancing understanding of the nature, causes and management of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Here in Japan and with our collaborators in Brazil we are studying the nature and extent of altered sensitivity to reinforcement in children with ADHD. This includes fMRI and drug studies to help elucidate the neurobiology underlying such altered processing of reinforcement.  Social interaction difficulties are common in children with ADHD.  In a new study we are investigating their social problem solving skills as a contributing factor and possible target for intervention. Psychosocial treatment options for the management of ADHD in Japan are currently limited. We have begun developing a parenting skills program for Japanese parents dealing with ADHD.

1. Staff

  • Dr Emi Furukawa, Researcher
  • Dr Shizuka Shimabukuro, Researcher
  • Ms Waka Teruya, Technician (part time)
  • Ms Aska Pluskal (nee Matsudo), Technician (part time)
  • Ms Amy Nakanishi Lucas, Technician (part time), from October 2011
  • Jaclyn Meredith, Graduate Research Assistant, from December 2011
  • Ms Mayko Kurk, Research Administrator, until June 2011
  • Ms Aya Puca, Research Administrator, from July 2011

2. Collaborations

  • Theme: Altered reward sensitivity and ADHD
    • Collaborative research
    • Researchers
      • Dr Brent Alsop, Department of Psychology, University of Otago
      • Dr Emi Furukawa, OIST
      • Dr Shizuka Shimabukuro, OIST
  • Theme: Language and social information processing in children with ADHD
    • Collaborative research
    • Researchers
      • Dr Tamar Murachver, Department of Psychology, University of Otago
      • Ms Jaclyn Meredith, OIST/Department of Psychology, University of Otago
  • Theme: Cross cultural continuity of altered reward sensitivity in children with ADHD
    • Joint research
    • Researchers
      • Dr Egas Caparelli-Dáquer, Universidade do Estado do Rio de Janerio
      • Dr Emi Furukawa, OIST
  • Theme: Experimental study of altered reward sensitivity: Examining cross-national continuity and environmental influences
    • Joint research
    • Researchers
      • Professor Casela, Erasmo Barbante, Instituo da Criança do Hospital das Clínicas da Faculdade de Medicina da Universidade de São Paulo
      • Dr Emi Furukawa, OIST
  • Theme: Functional imaging of altered reward sensitivity and its relation to human behavior
    • Joint research
    • Researchers
      • Dr Jorge Moll, D’Or Institute for Research and Education, Cognitive and Behavioral Neuroscience Unit
      • Dr Paulo Mattos, D’Or Institute for Research and Education, Neuropsychology Center
      • Professor Jeff Wickens, OIST
      • Dr Emi Furukawa, OIST

3. Activities and Findings

3.1 Research Activities

In addition to our on-going research on altered reward mechanisms and ADHD, here and in Brazil, we have established two new research projects in our unit. Dr Shimabukuro has established the ADHD skills project that is developing and evaluating a parenting program especially for Japanese parents of children with ADHD. With Ms Jaclyn Meredith and Dr Tamar Murachver of the University of Otago we are investigating the social problem solving and language skills of children with ADHD.

3.2 Outreach Activities

Once again our research group was actively involved in the OIST Open Campus with poster presentations, a computerized bilingual quiz (and answers) about ADHD, executive function skill tests and neuroscience inspired arts and craft activities.  We have continued to provide comprehensive assessments and reports for children and families in the community who participate in our research and to give talks about the nature and management of ADHD to parents and teachers.

3.3 Collaborative Research activities

Our joint research projects with colleagues in Brazil have continued to move forward. Data collection for our first imaging study with Dr Jorge Moll of LABS-D’Or is complete and the results were presented at the International Neuroethics Society annual meeting in Washington in November. Participant recruitment and data collection for our studies on the cross-national continuity of altered reward sensitivity in children with ADHD (with Dr Egas Caparelli-Daquer and the University of Sate of Rio de Janerio), including the effects of medication for ADHD on reward sensitivity (with Professor Casella, Erasmo Barbante of the Instituo da Criança do Hospital das Clínicas da Faculdade de Medicina da Universidade de São Paulo) has progressed well in the last 12 months.

4.1 Journals

Shimabukuro, S., & Tripp, G. (in press). Reinforcement sensitivity and ADHD: Where basic science meets clinical practice. Behavioral Science Research, 50(2), 1-14.

Wickens, J. R., Hyland, B. I., & Tripp, G. (2011) Animal models to guide clinical drug development in ADHD: lost in translation? British Journal of Pharmacology, 164, 1107-1128.

Sowerby, P., Seal, S., & Tripp, G. (2011) Working memory deficits in ADHD: The contribution of age, learning/language difficulties and task parameters. Journal of Attention Disorders, 15, 461-472.

Furukawa, E., Tangney, J., Higashibara F. (2012). Cross-cultural continuities and discontinuities in shame, guilt, and pride: A study of children residing in Japan, Korea and the USA. Self and Identity, 11, 90-113.

4.2 Books and Other One-Time Publications

Furukawa, E. & Hunt, J. (2011). Therapy with refugees and immigrants experiencing shame: A multicultural perspective (pp 195-216).  In R. L. Dearing and J. P. Tangney (Eds.), Shame in therapy hour. Washington D.C.: APA

4.3 Oral and Poster Presentations

Tripp, G., & Wickens J. Dopamine, reinforcement & ADHD. Invited talk at the 22nd EUNETHYDIS meeting, Budapest, Hungary, September, 2011.

Furukawa, E., & Iwase N. Psychological impact of a natural disaster: Managing the stress of children and caregivers. Presentation at the Washington Japanese Language School, Kensington, MD, April, 2011.

Furukawa, E., Bado, P., Tripp, G., Mattos, P., Wickens, J., Bramati, I E., Alsop, B., Lima, D., Tovar-Moll, F., Sergeant, J. A., Moll, J. Reward sensitivity in ADHD: Exploring distinctive effects of reward cues and outcomes using functional MRI. International Neuroethics Society, 2011 Annual Meeting, Washingon, USA, November, 2011.

Furukawa, E., McAlpine, C., Alsop, B., & Tripp, G. Cultural differences in reinforcement sensitivity. 21st Meeting EUNETHYDIS, Budapest, Hungary, September, 2011.

5. Intellectual Property Rights and Other Specific Achievements

Nothing to report.

6. Meetings and Events

Nothing to report