Assistant Professor Hiroshi Makino


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


Dr 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.

Research focus

The broad scope of Asst Prof Makino’s laboratory is to study neural circuit dynamics of the mammalian brain in terms of complexity science. Toward this aim, they seek to integrate diverse disciplines of science including psychology, engineering and machine learning to understand fundamental principles governing the function and organisation of neural circuits in the mammalian cortex. They utilise various technologies, including imaging, electrophysiology, optogenetics, pharmacogenetics and virus-mediated circuit mapping to investigate the link between neural circuits and behaviour. Experimentally obtained data are analysed within a framework of complexity science and existing theories in neuroscience are tested and further refined.

Currently his laboratory is focusing on understanding the nature of learning and sleep-related transformations of the mouse cortex using two-photon calcium imaging. With this approach, thousands of neurons can be simultaneously probed while mice are in different behavioural states. 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 with diverse backgrounds, including biology, math, computer science and AI.

HM_1_png (Custom_650).pngFigure 1. Wide-field calcium imaging during motor learning.

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Figure 2. Two-photon calcium imaging of the premotor cortex.
 Key Publications
  1. Makino H*, Ren C, Liu H, Kim AN, Kondapaneni N, Liu X, Kuzum D and Komiyama T* (2017). Transformation of cortex-wide emergent properties during motor learning. Neuron, 94:880-890. (*Corresponding author)
  2. Makino H, Hwang E, Hedrick N and Komiyama T (2016). Circuit mechanisms of sensorimotor learning. Neuron, 92:705-721.
  3. Makino H and Komiyama T (2015). Learning enhances the relative impact of top-down processing in the visual cortex. Nature Neuroscience, 18:1116-1122.
  4. Makino H and Malinow R (2011). Compartmentalized versus global synaptic plasticity on dendrites controlled by experience. Neuron, 72:1001-1011.
  5. Makino H and Malinow R (2009). AMPA receptor incorporation into synapses during LTP: the role of lateral movement and exocytosis. Neuron, 64:381-390.
  6. Makino H and Gage FH (2007). Experience-specific functional modification of the dentate gyrus through adult neurogenesis: a critical period during an immature stage. Journal of Neuroscience, 27:3252-3259.