FY2020 Annual Report

Memory Research Unit, Assistant Professor Kazumasa Z. Tanaka


The Memory Research Unit aims to understand how memories are stored and used in the brain. The hippocampus, together with its related structures, plays a unique role in memories of past events. Nevertheless, its specific contribution remains unclear. Our unit aims to reveal the mechanism of memory by using multidisciplinary approaches in rodents.

During FY2020, we set up lab equipment including nVista one-photon calcium imaging system (Inscopix), tetrode recording (Neuralynx), behavioral apparatus, surgery equipment, for example. We have also established some of the analysis pipelines and started analyzing neuronal activity data. During FY2020, Dr. Viviane Saito (a postdoctoral scholar) has joined the team. In addition to her, Tomoka Yoseyama (Research Intern), Miyu Nambu (Research Intern, now Ph.D. student in OIST), Thato Mokhothu (Ph.D. student), Keiko Nakamura(RUA), David Bierbrauer (Ph.D. student), Yu-Ju Lin (rotation student), Josefine Reuschenbach (rotation student), and Reanna Norman (Research Intern) have joined the unit. Lorena Andreoli passed the proposal defense, and she is now a Ph.D. candidate focusing on her Ph.D. project. Now we have many new members and keep working on exciting research projects. Aside from research activities, Dr. Kazumasa Z. Tanaka (PI) received the Young Investigator Award from the Japan Neuroscience Society (July 30, 2020), Excellence in Mentoring Award from OIST (March 2021) and the Young Scientist Award from MEXT (April 2021).


2020年度にはnVista1光子カルシウムイメージングシステム(Inscopix)やテトロード記録装置(Neuralynx)、動物行動実験装置、脳外科手術設備などの実験装置・設備の設置を完了しました。並行して神経活動データの解析パイプラインを確立し、すでにデータ解析に取り組んでいます。2020年度には、Viviane Saito博士(博士研究員)をチームに迎えました。加えて、Tomoka Yoseyama (インターン生), Miyu Nambu (インターン生、現在はOIST博士課程学生), Thato Mokhothu (博士課程学生), Keiko Nakamura(RUA), David Bierbrauer (博士課程学生), Yu-Ju Lin (ローテーション生), Josefine Reuschenbach (ローテーション生), and Reanna Norman (インターン生)が研究室のメンバーに加わりました。また、博士課程学生のLorena Andreoliがproposal defense試験を突破しました。多くの新メンバーとともに面白い研究に取り組んでいきます。研究活動以外では、田中准教授(PI)が若手研究者賞を日本神経科学学会から、メンタリングアワードをOISTから、そして若手科学者賞を文部科学省から受賞しました。

1. Staff

  • Damien Mercier, Staff Scientist (Feb. 2020-)
  • Hiroto Ashitomi, Technician (Mar. 2020-)
  • Keiko Nakamura, Research Unit Administrator
  • Viviane Saito, Postdoctoral Scholar (Jul. 2020-)
  • Kaoru Ohyama, Staff Scientist (Apr. 2021-)

2. Students

  • Lorena Andreoli, Ph.D. student
  • Thato Mokhothu, Ph.D. student
  • David Bierbrauer, Ph.D. student
  • Tomoka Yoseyama, Research Intern
  • Miyu Nambu, Ph.D. student
  • Yu-Ju Lin, rotation student
  • Josefine Reuschenbach, rotation student
  • Reanna Norman, Research Intern

3. Collaborations

3.1 Inter-unit collaborations

  • Physiology underlying different spatial strategies (Wickens unit)
  • Hippocampal representation of social contingency (Froese unit)
  • Behavioral detection of the epileptic seizure (Uusisaari unit)
  • Synaptic plasticity under a specific state (Takahashi unit)
  • Effects of fine-controlled motor commands on hippocampal functions (Yoshida unit)

3.2 Inter-institutional collaborations

3.2.1 Characterization of the dendritic microstructure in the hippocampus

  • Type of collaboration: Joint research
  • Researchers:
    • Professor, Masato Koike, Juntendo University
    • Assistant Professor, Laxmi Kumar Parajuli, Juntendo University
    • Team Leader, Thomas J. McHugh, RIKEN
    • Team Leader, Akiko Hayashi-Takagi, RIKEN

3.2.2 Characterization of local connectivity of the hippocampal neurons

  • Type of collaboration: Joint research
  • Researchers:
    • Team Leader, Thomas J. McHugh, RIKEN
    • Team Leader, Andrea Benucci, RIKEN
    • Research Scientist, Ryo Aoki, RIKEN
    • Research Scientist, Vladislav Sekulic, RIKEN

3.2.3&4 Two more collaborative projects coming soon


4. Publications

4.1 Journals

  1. Tanaka, KZ. The heterogeneous representations in the hippocampus. Neuroscience Research Volume 165, April 2021, Pages 1-5, [invited review paper, featured on the cover image of the issue]
  2. Goode, TD.*, Tanaka, KZ.*, Sahay, A., McHugh, TJ. An Integrated Index: Engrams, Place Cells, and Hippocampal Memory.  Neuron  Volume 107, Issue 5, Pages 805-820, Sep 2020 [invited review paper, *equally contributed]

4.2 Books and other one-time publications

Nothing to report

4.3 Oral and Poster Presentations

  1. Kazumasa Z. Tanaka. Heterogeneous memory traces in the hippocampus, Annual Conference of the Korean Society for Brain and Neural Sciences (KSBNS), Seoul, KOREA/Online, Nov 16  (2020).
    Invited talk.
  2. Kazumasa Z. Tanaka. The hippocampus and memory, 36th Kitasato University Young Scientist Lab Seminar Series, Kanagawa, JAPAN, December 18 (2020).
    Invited lecture.
  3. Kazumasa Z. Tanaka. Electrophysiological recording from memory traces in the hippocampus, Ryukyu University Research Seminar, Okinawa, JAPAN, April 16 (2021)
  4. Kazumasa Z. Tanaka. Heterogeneous Memory Traces in the Hippocampus, Danish Research Institute of Translational Neuroscience (DANDRITE) Seminar Series, Aarhus, DENMARK/Online, April 22 (2021).
    Invited talk.

5. Intellectual Property Rights and Other Specific Achievements

Nothing to report.

6. Meetings and Events

Nothing to report.

7. Other

7.1 Awards

  1. Kazumasa Z. Tanaka. Young Investigator Award, The Japan Neuroscience Society, July 30  (2020).
  2. Kazumasa Z. Tanaka. Excellence in Mentoring Award, OIST, March (2021).
  3. Kazumasa Z. Tanaka. Young Scientist Award, Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT), April(2021).