FY2022 Annual Report


Neuronal Rhythms in Movement (nRIM) unit
Assistant Professor Marylka Yoe Uusisaari

nRIM at Ta-waterfalls in May 2022.
Top row (from left to right) : Yoe, Esteban Gabriel Fregoso Fernandez, Deviana David, Lakshmipriya Swaminathan, Bogna Ignatowska-Jankowska, Aysen Gurkan Ozer and her daughter Bilge.
Front row: Salvatore Lacava, Guo Da, Tara Helmi Turkki.


In 2022, nRIM has been shifting from pandemic-era to time of high productivity, and by the end of the fiscal year, we are all rushing to complete publications and take part in conferences - for some of us, the first experiences ever. A few new members joined us - finally, after years of waiting, Hugo re-joined us! 

1. Staff

  • Dr. Da Guo, Postdoctoral Researcher
  • Dr. Bogna Ignatowska-Jankowska, Postdoctoral Scholar
  • Dr. Aysen Gurkan Ozer, Research Unit Technician
  • Mr. Hugo Hoedemaker, Research Unit Technician
  • Mr. Salvatore Andrea Lacava, PhD student (JSPS fellow)
  • Ms. Lakshmipriya Swaminathan, PhD student
  • Ms. Deviana David, PhD student
  • Ms. Tara Helmi Turkki, PhD student
  • Ms. Kayoko Ikeda, Research Unit Administrator

2. Collaborations

External collaborations:

  • The laboratory of Dr. Benjamin Cravatt, The Skaggs Institute for Chemical Biology and Department of Chemical Physiology, The Scripps Research Institute, La Jolla, CA, USA.
  • The laboratory of Dr. Sylvia Fitting at the Department of Psychology and Neuroscience at University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
  • The laboratory of Dr. Katarzyna Bozek, Center for Molecular Medicine, Cologne, Germany
  • The laboratory of Dr. Yosef Yarom, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel
  • Dr. Simo Järvelä, Gamification Group, Faculty of Information Technology and Communication Sciences, Tampere University, and Department of Psychology and Logopedics, Faculty of Medicine, University of Helsinki
  • Collaborative research agreement and consulting agreement with REPS JAPAN Co., Ltd. Innovation Square Incubator, Okinawa Institute of Science & Technology.

Internal collaborations:

  • Neurobiology research unit (Prof. Jeff Wickens)
  • Memory research unit (Prof. Kazumasa Tanaka)
  • Immune signal unit (Prof. Hiroki Ishikawa)
  • Biological physics theory unit (Prof. Greg Stephens)
  • Membrane cooperativity unit (Prof. Akihiro Kusumi)

3. Activities and Findings

  1. Project: Kinematic signatures of endocannabinoid system function (Project leader: Dr. Ignatowska-Jankowska; other participants: Dr. Gurkan Ozer, Ms. Lakshmipriya Swaminathan): in FY22, the team completed the analysis of all datasets, and prepared the manuscript to be submitted for publication.
  2. Project: In vivo fluorescent imaging of inferior olive network activity (Project leader: Dr. Guo: in FY22, the project nears completion, the results were presented at the Japanese Neuroscience Meeting and at the Society for Neuroscience meeting, and a manuscript is preparing for submission. 
  3. PhD project (Salvatore Lacava): A study on the neuronal control of mouse tail in balance. In FY22 a novel neuromotor control pathway for tail reflex in balancing was described. Preliminary chemogenetic and optogenetic manipulation experiments were performed. Finally, a manuscript on the behavioral experiments performed in FY2020 is nearing completion.
  4. PhD project (Lakshmipriya Swaminathan): Elucidating the organisation principles of motor control in mice using the Lagrangian formulation.In FY 2022 a novel mathematical representation of locomotory movements of mice obtained from analysis of data obtained in the previous year and presented at the JNS NEURO 2022 conference held in Okinawa Japan.Large-scale experiments completed in FY2021, results presented at Astrobiology Graduate Conference (FY 2021).
  5. PhD project (Deviana David): Sensory modulation of olivocerebellar system: study of superior colliculus to inferior olive (SC-IO) Pathway. Identification and characterization of novel pathways linking the SC and IO, preparing for behavioral experiments.

4. Publications

4.1 Journals​

  1. Justus M. Kebschull, Filippo Casoni, G. Giacomo Consalez, Daniel Goldowitz, Richard Hawkes, Tom J. H. Ruigrok, Karl Schilling, Richard Wingate, Joshua Wu, Joanna Yeung, and Uusisaari M.Y. (2023) Cerebellum Lecture: the Cerebellar Nuclei—Core of the Cerebellum. Springer Nature https://doi.org/10.1007/s12311-022-01506-0

  2. Jankowski MM, Ignatowska-Jankowska BM, Glac W, Wiergowski M, Kaźmierska-Grębowska P,  Świergiel AH.  (2023) Intravenous haloperidol and cocaine alter the distribution of T CD4+ and B lymphocytes and NKT cells in rats. Clinical and Experimental Pharmacology and Physiology https://doi.org/10.1111/1440-1681.13762


4.2 Oral and Poster Presentations​

  1. Poster presentation at the 2022 Eliahu Youdim annual symposium of The National Institute for Psychobiology in Israel. Nora Vrieler, Oren Amsalem, Idan Segev, Marylka Yoe Uusisaari, Yosef Yarom. Action potentials in Inferior Olive neurons are triggered by localized intrinsic regenerative events. June 2022

  2. Oral blitz presentation and poster at ICRS2022:
    Positive allosteric modulator of CB1 receptor: a potential therapeutic target for HAND. Yadav-Samudrala BJ, Kim E, Ramineni S, Gorman B, Lu D, Poklis J, Lichtman A, Ignatowska-Jankowska BM and Fitting S. 25-30 June 2022, Galway, Ireland.

  3. Talk at Neuro2022, 45th Annual Meeting of Japan Neuroscience Society: Distinct behavioral phenotypes induced by endocannabinoid modulation in high-precision marker-based 3D motion capture of freely moving mice. Ignatowska-Jankowska BM, Gurkan-Ozer A, Kuck A, Niphakis MJ, Ogasawara D, Cravatt BF, Uusisaari MY. Symposium “New tools to target the endocannabinoid system for therapeutic benefit” (symposium chair and organizer Bogna Ignatowska-Jankowska) 30th  June - 3rd July 2022, Okinawa, Japan

  4. Poster presentation at the 45th Annual Meeting of the Japan Neuroscience Society: Da Guo, Marylka Yoe UusisaariThe diverse effect of cerebellar nuclei input on inferior olive neurons. JNS, June 30  - July 3, 2022

  5. Poster presentation at the 45th Annual Meeting of the Japan Neuroscience Society: Soheil Keshmiri, Bogna Ignatowska-Jankowska, Aysen Gurkan-Ozer, Alexander Kuck, Micah Niphakis, Daisuke Ogasawara, Benjamin Cravatt, Marylka Yoe Uusisaari. Interplay between entropy and integration quantifies drug-induced changes in mice behavioural complexity. JNS, June 30  - July 3, 2022.

  6. Poster presentation at the 45th Annual Meeting of the Japan Neuroscience Society: Salvatore Andrea Lacava, Marylka Yoe Uusisaari. An anatomical investigation on the vestibulospinal projections to the tail motoneurons in mice. JNS, June 30  - July 3, 2022

  7. Poster presentation at the 45th Annual Meeting of the Japan Neuroscience Society: Lakshmipriya Swaminathan, Bogna Ignatowska-Jankowska, Aysen Gurkan Ozer, Marylka Yoe Uusisaari. Detecting step cycles using embedding techniques on high-precision 3D kinematics of freely locomoting mice. JNS, June 30  - July 3, 2022

  8. Poster presentation at the 45th Annual Meeting of the Japan Neuroscience Society: Deviana David, Marylka Yoe Uusisaari. The anatomical study of the superior colliculus to inferior olive pathway. JNS, June 30  - July 3, 2022

  9. Talk at the Indian Institute of Science: Lakshmipriya Swaminathan "Detecting step cycles using embedding techniques on high-precision 3D kinematics of freely locomoting mice". August 10th 2022. Venue: Main Seminar Hall, Centre for Neuroscience, Indian Institute of Science, Bengaluru, Karnataka, India.

  10. RAM 2022 Scientific Talks : Hugo Hoedemaker (nRIM Visiting Researcher) "Refinement of surgical procedures in laboratory animals", October 20, 2022

  11. OIST Internal Seminar Series : Lakshmipriya Swaminathan "Of Movement and Mice". October 21, 2022

  12. OIST RAM 2022 BLITZ talk
    Deviana David "An endeavour to study the neurobiological basis of behavior." October 31, 2022

  13. OIST RAM 2022 BLITZ talk
    Salvatore Lacava “Follow the tail: a story on what mice can teach us about balance." October 31, 2022

  14. Poster presentation at the 2022 Annual Meeting of the Society for Neuroscience (SfN): Da Guo, Marylka Yoe Uusisaari. Nucleo-olivary pathway bidirectionally modulates inferior olive activity in living mice. Neuroscience 2022, November 11-16, 2022, San Diego, USA.

  15. Talk at OIST/Humanoids 2022 Joint Workshop: Uusisaari MY "Animal intelligence: what and where is it", December 1, 2022

  16. University of Helsinki Neuroscience Seminar Series: Tara Turkki "The Effects of AAV-delivered GCaMP6s Expression in the Inferior Olive on Mouse Motor Function”. December 21, 2022
    Venue: Biomedicum 1, University of Helsinki, Finland

  17. Lecture as a guest speaker at the Faculty of Human Sciences, Waseda University (早稲田大学 人間科学部「暗黙知」の科学): Marylka Yoe Uusisaari. February 10, 2023
    Venue: Faculty of Human Sciences, Waseda University, Tokyo

  18. Special Lecture at Tokyo Medical and Dental University "Investigation of the inferior olive to understand cerebellar function": Marylka Yoe Uusisaari. March 3, 2023
    Venue: Graduate School Lecture Room 2, Tokyo Medical and Dental University, Tokyo

5.  Other Specific Achievements

5.1 Grants

  • Prof. Uusisaari: Kakenhi Grant-in-Aid for Scientific Research (A): 身体モジュレーションと神経モジュレーションによる心身機能の改善 / as a co-Investigator of Prof.Rieko Osu

  • Prof. Uusisaari: Kakenhi  Grant-in-Aid for Scientific Research (C):  High-resolution spatiotemporal analysis of harmaline-induced tremor and inferior olive activity in living mice

  • Dr. Ignatowska-Jankowska: Kakenhi Grant-in-Aid for Scientific Research (C): In vivo imaging of endocannabinoid-regulated neuronal network activity coupled with 3D movement analysis in freely behaving mice

  • Guo D: Kakenhi grant (early career): The correlation and contribution of spatiotemporal firing pattern of inferior olive neurons to the cyclical movement

  • S.Lacava: Kakenhi Grant-in-Aid for JSPS Fellows : Understanding balance using mouse tail

5.2 Awards

  • Dr. Ignatowska-Jankowska: Junior Researchers’ Symposia (150,000 Yen) for Symposium “New tools to target the endocannabinoid system for therapeutic benefit” at Neuro2022 annual meeting of Japan Neuroscience Society 30th June - 3rd July 2022, Okinawa, Japan
  • Da Guo, 2022 JNS-CNS Travel Award, May 2022
  • Salvatore Lacava: NCM(Neural Control of Movement) 2022 Satellite Meeting Travel Award, 25-29 July 2022, Dublin, Ireland
  • Salvatore Lacava: OIST Research Appreciation Month (RAM) Award for Best Presentation
  • Deviana David : OIST Research Appreciation Month (RAM) Award for Best BLITZ Presentation

6. Other

6.1 Symposia during the 45th Annual Meeting of the Japan Neuroscience Society.

In July 2022, the 45th Annual Meeting of the Japan Neuroscience Society was held in Okinawa, Japan. All members of the nRIM lab took part in several different symposia, seminars, and poster presentations.

  • Dr. Bogna Ignatowska-Jankowska organised and chaired the symposium titled: New tools to target the endocannabinoid system for therapeutic benefit. The symposium featured talks by Ethan Budd Russo, Katarzyna Starowicz, Sylvia Fitting, and Bogna Ignatowska-Jankowska.
  • Dr. Marylka Yoe Uusisaari organised and chaired the symposium titled: Organization and development of the cerebellar nuclei. The symposium featured talks by Daniel Goldowitz Goldowitz, Justus M Keschull, Abigail L Person, and Richard Hawkes.
  • Dr. Marylka Yoe Uusisaari, acting as a co-chair for the symposium, organized a Diversity Luncheon Seminar, titled "「ひとりひとりが輝く人材育成」Cultivating Human Resources for Individual to Shine". The event featured several speakers and attracted large audience (standing room only!) of both Japanese and International community members.
Salvo presenting his poster at JNS
Salvatore's poster presentation
Ana poster
Ana's poster presentation
Guo-da poster
Guo-da's poster

Yoe's lunchtime talk

Yoe giving an introduction on "What is diversity in academia and why should we care?"

6.2 Activities during OIST Researcher Appreciation Month (RAM)

Researcher Appreciation Month (RAM) was held in October 2022 by OIST Researcher Community (ORC), and nRIM members contributed greatly to various aspect of the program, from being an event committee, volunteering in giving lab tours, poster presentation, and giving a blitz presentation.

Figure 1: Fig. 1: DrIgnatowska-Jankowska as part of the event organizing committee, leading one of the Research Blitz Sessions during RAM.

Figure 2: Lakshmipriya and Dr. Gürkan-Özer as the judges for RAM Blitz talk.

Figure 3.: nRIM laboratory technician, Hugo Hoedemaker, giving a talk on how to improve animal surgical procedures.

Figure 4.: nRIM PhD students, Lakshmipriya and Deviana leading the lab tours of nRIM motion capture system and robot stereotaxic surgical equipment.

Figure 5.: nRIM PhD students during poster presentation in RAM 2022.

Figure 6.: Salvatore Lacava and Deviana David received an award for the best BLITZ presentation for students .


6. 3 Academic service

6. 3.1 Teaching Assistant positions

  1. Salvatore was a TA for the Neural Dynamics of Movement course, taught by Prof. Marylka Yoe Uusisaari (held from May 2022 - August 2022), during which he gave presentation on markerless based motion capture and gave broad overview of several software options to quantify behavior;
  2. Dr. Ignatowska-Jankowska gave a lecture in the Neural Dynamics of Movement course, taught by Prof. Marylka Yoe Uusisaari (held from May 2022 - August 2022), titled "Basics of Behavioural Training in Rodents".
  3. Lakshmi was a TA for the Neural Dynamics of Movement course, taught by Prof. Marylka Yoe Uusisaari (held from May 2022 - August 2022), during which she gave a presentation on marker-based tracking of movement and discussed its applications in the field of neuroscience.
  4. Lakshmi was a TA for the Physics for the Life Sciences course, taught by Prof. Bernd Kuhn (held from January 2023 - April 2023), during which she was involved in teaching students the mathematic concepts underlying different data analytic methods used in the field of neuroscience.

6. 3. 2 Seminar/Journal club organization

  • Lakshmi was part of the organizing committee of the OIST Inter Unit Neuroscience Journal Club during FY 22. Along with the other members of the committee she was involved in organizing monthly journal clubs where members from the different neuroscience units at OIST presented. 
  • Lakshmi was also part of the OIST Internal Seminar Series organizing committee. The committee organized talks by a student and researcher once every two weeks, aimed at a general science audience.

6. 3. 3 Membership in Committee/Council

nRIM members are engaged in various workgroups aiming to improve OIST as a place to study and work.

  • Lakshmi served as the Academic Officer in the OIST Student Council. She served as a liason between the student assembly and the other divisions of OIST regarding academic matters. In her time as academic officer she took part in the Academic Research Committee meeting during the annual OIST BoG meeting. She also organised the Students' Choice Teaching Award and chaired the awards committee.
  • Yoe served in Faculty council in 2022. 
  • Aysen served as a committee member for Safety and Health Committee (SHC) in 2022.
  • Dr. Ignatowska-Jankowska served as OIST researcher community representative at Gender, Equity, Inclusivity Committee. 

6.4 Community Outreach

  • Lakshmi took part in tree planting held at OIST, during Feb 27 - Mar 3.
  • Aysen has been continuously supporting Onna Local Community with two activities:
    • by taking part in "Morning Time Story Reading" in different languages on Tuesday mornings at Onna Elementary School since 2018.
    •  in providing safe walking corridor for the students as parental duty assigned by the Onna Elementary School Management.