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Hiroshi Makino

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Nanyang Assistant Professor Hiroshi Makino
Nanyang Assistant Professor
Principal Investigator, Systems Neuroscience Laboratory


Assistant Professor Hiroshi Makino is a Nanyang Assistant Professor at the Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine, Nanyang Technological University. Dr Makino started his scientific career at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies where he studied adult mammalian neurogenesis in the hippocampus. He obtained his PhD from the Watson School of Biological Sciences at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory where he studied AMPA receptor dynamics and synaptic plasticity. He conducted his postdoctoral research at University of California, San Diego where he investigated learning-related transformations of micro- and macro-scale cortical activity. He is a recipient of the NARSAD young investigator grant from the Brain & Behavior Research Foundation and the Young Investigator Award from the Japan Neuroscience Society.

Research Focus

The broad scope of Dr Makino’s laboratory is to study learning in intelligent systems. Toward this aim, he and his team seek to integrate diverse disciplines of science including neuroscience, engineering and artificial intelligence (AI) to understand fundamental principles governing the function and organisation of neural networks in biological and artificial systems. They utilise various technologies in neuroscience, including two-photon imaging, electrophysiology, optogenetics and virus-mediated circuit mapping to investigate the link between neural circuits and behaviour. They also employ tools in AI such as deep reinforcement learning to discover commonalities and differences between animal and machine intelligence.

Currently his laboratory is focusing on understanding neural mechanisms of various kinds of learning using calcium imaging with two-photon random access mesoscope and electrophysiology with Neuropixels probes. With this approach, activity of more than 10,000 of neurons can be simultaneously measured while the mouse is learning a task. Combining optogenetics, they also manipulate activity of behaviourally characterised neurons to establish a causal relationship between neural circuit operations and behaviour.

Because of the nature of their approach and a long-standing interest in developing new experimental and analytical tools, they work closely with researchers from diverse backgrounds.
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Figure 1: With calcium imaging using the two-photon random access mesoscope, we measure the activity of >10,000 neurons across different cortical regions of the mouse during a task.

Selected Publications

Makino H*, Ren C, Liu H, et al. (2017). Transformation of cortex-wide emergent properties during motor learning. Neuron, 94(4):880-890. (*Corresponding author)

Makino H, Hwang E, Hedrick N, et al. (2016). Circuit mechanisms of sensorimotor learning. Neuron, 92(4):705-721.

Makino H, & Komiyama T (2015). Learning enhances the relative impact of top-down processing in the visual cortex. Nature Neuroscience, 18(8):1161-1122.

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