FY2017 Annual Report

Full Unit Name
Assistant Associate Professor First Last


Since the launch in February 2017, Sensory and Behavioural Neuroscience Unit has recruited two post-docs, one technician, a full-time PhD student, and hosted several rotation and intern students. The lab construction finished including curtain partitions, exhaust systems, clean room, as well as experimental setups that allow simultaneous behavioural and physiological observations.

1. Staff

  • Dr. Izumi Fukunaga, Group Leader
  • Dr. Cary Zhang, Researcher
  • Dr. Sander Lindeman, Researcher
  • Dr. Taha Soliman, Technical Staff
  • Aliya Adefuin, Graduate Student
  • Saeko Hedo, Administrative Assistant

2. Collaborations

2.1 Molecular study of the olfactory bulb

  • Researchers:
    • Izumi Fukunaga (OIST), Dr Hiroaki Matsunami (Duke University)

3. Activities and Findings

3.1 Building the lab

Bulk of the time was spent designing an experimental setups (hard and software) and sourcing and assembling custom parts to realise these designs. Some of the examples of custom equipments we built this fiscal year are shown below. These allow mice to be trained to perform a variety of olfactory tasks, such as olfactory discrimination tasks differing on difficulty.

Figure 1: Custom olfactory behavioural set up built around a two-photon microscope.

Figure 2: An example of a custom olfactory behavioural chamber.

3.2 Task dependent tuning of the olfactory bulb

Sensory systems undergo dynamic changes as behavioural demands fluctuate from moment to moment. This is a ubiquitous property of the sensory system, observed in almost all modalities, yet cellular and circuit mechanisms that implement this are far from clear. We investigated if the primary olfactory area of the mammalian brain is subject to dynamic modulation. We devised a novel behavioural paradigm to (1) impose rapid changes in olfactory demands and (2) if olfactory responses in this area is different when task demands change. We used a two-photon microscope to follow the activity patterns from a group of olfactory bulb neurons as mice performed task-switching. This revealed a rapid, yet reproducible, change in olfactory responses that accompanied the task change.

4. Publications

4.1 Journals

Nothing to report

4.2 Books and other one-time publications

Nothing to report

4.3 Oral and Poster Presentations

  1. Izumi Fukunaga Task-dependent modulation of olfactory processing, Sense2Synapse 2017, Rockefeller University, New York, USA, 4th April (2017).
  2. Izumi Fukunaga Task-dependent modulation of olfactory processing, Japan Neuroscience Society Annual Meeting 2017, Makuhari, Japan, 20th-23rd July (2017).

5. Intellectual Property Rights and Other Specific Achievements

Nothing to report

6. Meetings and Events

6.1 Seminar Title in Full

  • Date: May 30, 2017
  • Venue: OIST Campus Lab1
  • Speaker: Dr. Hiroaki Matsunami (Duke University)
  • Title: Mammalian Odorant Receptors: Function and Evolution
  • Date: January 9th, 2018
  • Venue: OIST Campus Lab1
  • Speaker: Dr. Marco Tripodi (LMB, Cambridge University)
  • Title: Encoding of three-dimensional head-displacement vectors for goal-oriented actions in the mouse 

7. Other

Nothing to report.