Monday, May 6, 2013A new researcher in the Neurobiology and Development research division
Dr. Hideto Takahashi has agreed to join the IRCM as Assistant IRCM Research Professor and Director of the new Synapse Development and Plasticity research unit in the Neurobiology and Development research division.
Dr. Takahashi received an MD and a PhD in neuroscience from Gunma University School of Medicine in Maebashi, Japan. He is now a postdoctoral fellow at the University of British Columbia, Department of Psychiatry, in Vancouver. During his career, Dr. Takahashi has received several honours and awards including the Brain Star Award from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and the NARSAD Young Investigator Award from the Brain and Behavior Research Foundation. He has published in distinguished scientific journals such as Nature Neuroscience, Neuron, Nature and Journal of Neuroscience.
Dr. Takahashi’s research interests focus on how chemical synaptic connections in the brain are formed and modified by experience for higher brain functions such as learning, memory and cognition. Chemical synapses are neuronal cell-cell adhesion sites fundamental for information processing in the brain. They function by exciting and inhibiting neuronal activity at excitatory and inhibitory synapses, respectively. Through unique cell-biological screening methods, Dr. Takahashi discovered several novel genes involved in synapse development. These findings provide new insights to better understand how the balance between neuronal excitation and inhibition (E/I) is established and maintained for normal brain functions, and how the E/I imbalance is involved in the etiology of neurodevelopmental and neuropsychiatric disorders such as epilepsy, autism and schizophrenia.
At the IRCM, Dr. Takahashi will pursue his research on characterizing another novel gene selectively involved in inhibitory synapse development in order to create new animal models with E/I imbalance. In addition, he will work on further characterizing the functions of the TrkC-PTPσ complex, which he discovered as a new factor involved in excitatory synapse development. This study will provide a new molecular basis for synaptic plasticity, the experience-dependent change in connectivity between neurons, and may help to develop new therapeutic strategies for cognitive dysfunctions in diseases of the nervous system.
Dr. Hideto Takahashi brings valuable new expertise to the IRCM, which will reinforce our well-established basis of knowledge in neurobiology and developmental biology. We are very proud to welcome Dr. Takahashi to our institute. His expertise will help ensure our institute’s position at the cutting edge of biomedical research. His hiring will become effective on July 1, 2013.
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