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Tsukasa Kamigaki

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Assistant Professor Tsukasa Kamigaki
Principal Investigator, Systems Neuroscience


Tsukasa Kamigaki is an Assistant Professor at LKCMedicine. He obtained a Ph.D. (Medicine) in 2010 at the University of Tokyo School of Medicine, where he investigated the cellular mechanisms for behavioral flexibility in monkeys. After graduation, he worked as a postdoc at the University of California, Berkeley (UC Berkeley), and successfully established a behavioural paradigm to test working memory in mice. Taking advantage of cell-type specific calcium imaging and optogenetic manipulations in mice, he identified the functional roles of each inhibitory interneuron subtype in the prefrontal cortex.

He is a recipient of a several awards and scholarships including the Human Frontier Science Program (HFSP) Long-Term Fellowship, Uehara Memorial Foundation, Japan Neuroscience Society Young Investigator Award, and Molecular & Cell Biology Outstanding Postdoc award in Neurobiology at UC Berkeley.

Research Interests

What comes to your mind when planning for the next move? How can you make up the plan and keep it in mind after cessation of sensory inputs from the environment? Our lab is interested in how the brain circuits are organised to implement such "executive function". We are especially interested in the following questions:

Prefrontal cortex organisation and the neural codes for executive function

The prefrontal cortex (PFC) is situated on the top hierarchy in the brain to orchestrate the other brain regions, and each PFC subregion is connected to distinct repertories of regions (Kamigaki, 2019). How does the PFC specify the relevant neural pathways and what do the neural signals encode for implementing executive function? We will investigate subregion- and pathway-specific roles and the neural code in the PFC. On top of the large-scale circuit mechanism, we are also interested in studying the local circuit organisations with focussing on the neuron-type specific functions.

Learning-related change in the neural circuits

Our previous work has revealed an interesting circuit organisation in the PFC that supports working memory, such that VIP interneurons facilitate the memory coding in the nearby pyramidal neurons through inhibiting other GABAergic interneuron types (Kamigaki and Dan, 2017). How are such functional circuits formed and sculptured during learning? We will study learning-related changes in the multi-scale neural circuits in combination with neuron-type specific manipulations to understand the underlying principles.

Ageing and psychiatric disorder model

Patients with psychiatric disorders (e.g., schizophrenia SZ) show cognitive impairments, which is typically accompanied by the abnormalities in the interneuron systems and the brain-wide connectivity. Ageing is also closely associated with cognitive declines and the deterioration of working memory ability is one of the severest and earliest-onset symptoms. We aim to identify the abnormalities of the microcircuits and the brain-wide networks in the disorder model mice and examine how they lead to cognitive declines. Identifying the exact relation between cognitive retardations and the structural/physiological dysfunctions will not only lead to the development of treatments for patients but also deepen our understanding of the normal brain mechanisms.

Selected Publications 

Kamigaki T., and Dan Y. (2017).
Delay Activity of Specific Prefrontal Interneuron Subtypes Modulates Memory-Guided Behavior. Nature Neuroscience, 20, 854-863.

Zhang S., Xu M., Kamigaki T., et al. (2014).
Long-Range and Local Circuits for Top-Down Modulation of Visual Cortex Processing. Science, 345, 660-665.

Kamigaki T. (2019).
Prefrontal circuit organization for executive control. Neuroscience Research, 140, 23-36. 

Kamigaki T., Fukushima T., Tamura K., and Miyashita Y.
(2012). Neurodynamics of cognitive set shifting in monkey frontal cortex and its causal impact on behavioral flexibility. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 24, 2171-2185.

Kamigaki T., Fukushima T., and Miyashita Y.
(2011). Neuronal signal dynamics during preparation and execution for behavioral shifting in macaque posterior parietal cortex. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 23, 2503-2520.

Kamigaki T., Fukushima T., and Miyashita Y. (2009). Cognitive set reconfiguration signaled by macaque posterior parietal neurons. Neuron, 61, 941-951.

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