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Yamanaka Lab started its activities at CIBR in July 2022. The Yamanaka Lab is engaged in research to elucidate the working principles of the hypothalamic neural circuits that regulate instinctive behaviors such as feeding and drinking behavior, sexual behavior and sleep/wakefulness. Among these instinctive behaviors, our research focuses on the neural circuits involved in sleep/wakefulness regulation. The hypothalamic neurons contain many neurons that produce neuropeptides and release them as neurotransmitters. Recent studies revealed that these peptide-producing neurons are known to play an important role in the regulation of instinctive behaviors. Among them, we are focusing our analysis on neurons that produce neuropeptides, such as orexin and melanin concentrating hormone (MCH)-producing neurons. By clarifying the functional linkage between these hypothalamic neurons and neurons in brain regions that control higher order brain functions such as memory, decision making, emotion, motivation and consciousness, we aim to understand the principles that cause the exhibition of various behaviors and to elucidate the mechanisms of pathological manifestations caused by their functional disruption.

 For these studies, we will use mice as model animals and apply molecular biological, electrophysiological, and behavioral pharmacological experimental techniques, handling with molecules, cells, and whole animal level. We aim to elucidate the causal relationship by creating various genetically modified animals, inducing target neuron-specific gene expression by applying viral vectors to them, and analyzing the behaviors that emerge when specific neuronal activities are manipulated by optogenetics and chemogenetics. In addition, we will record neural activities of targeted neurons in animals that are freely behaving under consciousness by using a miniature endoscope (nVista) or fiber photometry. By combining these manipulations and recordings, we try to elucidate detailed causal relationships through conditional perturbations by performing closed-loop operations under various conditions.

 We also train the next generation of researchers to conduct these studies. We aim to nurture researchers who not only possess the techniques and knowledge of cutting-edge experiments, but who are also world-class researchers. We aim to nurture researchers who will develop research that clarifies truth, essence, and universality, rather than short-term research.







About PI
About PI

Akihiro Yamanaka Ph.D.

Educational Experience

1994 B.S. in Pharmacy, University of Shizuoka

1996 M.S. in Pharmacology, University of Shizuoka

2000 Ph.D. in Pharmacology, University of Tsukuba

Professional Experience

2000    Research Assistant at the Department of Pharmacology, Institute of Basic Medical Sciences, University of Tsukuba, Japan

2002    Assistant Professor at the Department of Pharmacology, Institute of Basic Medical Sciences, University of Tsukuba, Japan

2006    Visiting Researcher, Yale University, USA

2008    Associate Professor, National Institute of Physiological Sciences (NIPS), Japan

2012-2022    Professor, Research Institute of Environmental Medicine (RIEM), Nagoya University, Japan

2022-    Investigator, Chinese Institute for Brain Research, Beijing

Honors, Awards and Adjunct Research Positions

2003    Young Investigator’s Award, APSS

2005    Best teacher’s award, University of Tsukuba

2009-2013    Researcher at PRESTO, Japan Science and Technology Agency (JST)

2018-2020    Researcher at CREST, Japan Science and Technology Agency (JST)


Email: yamank[at]cibr.ac.cn

Yu Ohmura Ph.D.

Educational Experience   

2009 Ph.D. in Medical Science, Hokkaido University

2005 M.A. in Behavioral Science, Hokkaido University

2003 B.A. in Sociology, Kanazawa University

Professional Experience

2007–2009    Part-time instructor, Yoshida Gakuen medical and dental school

2009–2010    Postdoctoral Fellow (Seevers Fellow), Department of Pharmacology, University of Michigan

2010–2011    Specially appointed Assistant Professor, Department of Neuropharmacology, Graduate School of Medicine, Hokkaido University

2011–2018    Assistant Professor, Department of Neuropharmacology, Graduate  School of Medicine, Hokkaido University

2017–2021    Part-time instructor, Tenshi University

2018–2023    Senior Lecturer, Department of Neuropharmacology, Graduate School of Medicine, Hokkaido University

2023-    Investigator, Chinese Institute for Brain Research, Beijing


2021 Japanese Society of Neuropsychopharmacology Young Investigator Award

2021 JSNP Excellent Presentation Award for CINP

2019 Excellent Teacher Award, Hokkaido University School of Medicine

2015 Excellent Presentation Award, The 86th Annual Meeting of the Japanese Pharmacological Society

2013 Excellent Presentation Award, The 45th Annual Meeting of the Japanese Society of Neuropsychopharmacology

2009 Maurice H. Seevers Fellow, Michigan University