Anatomy and Embryology
In research, we pursue molecular and cellular mechanisms for synaptic circuit development through neuroanatomical analyses using gene-manipulated mice (we call this MORPHOLOGICAL BIOLOGY). We are particularly interested in how synaptic circuits are modified into functional and mature ones during critical period in an activity- or experience-dependent manner. We are also producing specific antibodies to apply them to immunohistochemical localization of molecules regulating synaptic transmission, plasticity, and development (MOLECULAR ANATOMY). Synaptic circuits To perform the MORPHOLOGICAL BIOLOGICAL and MOLECULAR ANATOMICAL research, we employ in situ hybridization, immunofluorescence with confocal laser scanning microscopy, conventional electron microscopy, and preembedding and postembedding immunogold microscopy. Neural regions of our interest are the cerebellum, hippocampus, and striatum. Molecules of our interest are glutamate receptors (AMPAR, NMDAR, and mGluR), glutamate transporters (GLAST and GLT1), and other signaling molecules (Gq protein-coupled receptor cascade, muscarinic ACh receptor, dopamine receptor, adenosine A2A receptor, endocannabinoids). One of the characteristic features in our lab is the intensive collaboration with other researcher fields, such as electrophysiology, molecular neurobiology, and developmental technology.
In education for School of Medicine, we are teaching 100 students Practice of Human Gross Anatomy (6 credits) and Anatomy & Development (3 credits). These subjects are now given to students in the 1st semester (April-May) of the 3rd grade, but from 2009 will be to those in the 2nd semester (October-February) of the 2nd grade. In Graduate School, we teach how to perform neuroanatomical research, as noted above. We also take part in Graduate Course for Developmental Brain Science in Hokkaido University.
1. Watanabe M: Coordinated molecular organization of 2-arachidonoyl glycerol-mediated endocannabinoid signaling triggered by mGluR activation. 6th International Meeting on Metabotropic Glutamate Receptors. Sicily (Italy), September 14-19, 2008.
2. Watanabe, M: Glutamate transporters provide a 'winner-takes-more' strategy to activity-dependent synapse refinement. The 38th Seiriken/Soukendai International Conference. Okazaki (Japan), March 17-19, 2008.
3. Watanabe, M: Anatomical demonstration of multiple climbing fiber innervation in the cerebellum deficient for synaptic signaling molecules. The 4th Asia-Panpacific International Congress of Anatomy, Kusadasi (Turkey), September 10, 2005.
Prof. Susumu Tonegawa in Massachusetts Institute of Technology (USA), 1995-
Prof. Peter Somogyi in Oxford University (UK), 2000-
Dr. Rafael Lujan in Universidad de Castilla-La Mancha (Spain) 2005-
Dr. Istvan Katona in Hungarian Academy of Sciences (Hungary) 2005-
Prof. David Linden in Johns Hopkins University (USA), 2006-
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