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Yonehara Group

Yonehara Group - Spatially Asymmetric Neural Circuits in Visual System

The Yonehara group investigates the structure, function and development of neural circuits in the visual system. We are interested in the role of different cell types in neuronal circuits and the genetic and molecular mechanisms of how those circuits are assembled during development. The methods used include two-photon imaging, electrophysiology, optogenetics, trans-synaptic virus, genetic labeling, molecular biology, genomics and behavioral analysis.

Research focus
Our research is based on the central hypothesis that functionally important neuronal circuit motifs are repeatedly used across various brain regions and species, and therefore identifying and understanding the structure and function of such motifs could give insights into the functional organisation of the brain. The mouse visual motion circuits, particularly the retina and its direct brain target the superior colliculus, provides us with an approachable substrate to work towards this goal, given its functionally and genetically well-defined cell types, multi-layered organization and tractable visually-guided behaviors. Two key organising principles that characterize not only the visual motion circuits of mammals and insects, but also other neuronal systems, are 1) parallel processing and 2) asymmetry of neuronal connectivity. We have focused, and will continue to focus, on questions relevant to these organising principles (Yonehara et al., Nature, 2011; Yonehara et al., Neuron, 2013).

The research plan is firstly to identify a computation performed by a given neuronal circuit comprising distinct cell types in the adult brain. Secondly, to investigate how the computation is performed by linking the activity and synaptic connectivity of individual cell types in the circuit to the computation that the circuit achieves. Thirdly, to examine the role of individual cell types in transforming the sensory input into output innate behavior or eye movement control. Finally, to study the genetic mechanisms by which the elementary circuit motifs are assembled, and how its dysfunction can result in disease. Ultimately, by these experiments we aim to link genes to behavior. We will also develop new genetic and viral technologies that facilitate probing circuit function in healthy and diseased systems.

Available projects

The Yonehara group currently has projects available for Postdocs, Master and PhD students. Please contact Group Leader Keisuke Yonehara directly, if interested. See current job announcements here

Left picture: Retinal ganglion cell circuits labeled with trans-synaptic rabies virus (magenta) in a transgenic mouse line in which single type of motion-sensitive ganglion cells is labeled with GFP (green). Right picture: Two-photon image (top view) of GCaMP3-expressing bipolar cell axon terminals and ON DS cell dendrites shown as a heat map (Yonehara et al., Neuron, 2013). Regions of interest are marked by colored lines.


Previous news from the research group


Akihiro Matsumoto

2019.07.01 | KeisukeYonehara

Akihiro Matsumoto has been awarded VELUX FONDEN's postdoc fellowship

Akihiro receives DKK 2.421.777 from VELUX FONDEN for his 3-year postdoc project entitled “Simulation-based strategies for restoring retinal motion computation in congenital nystagmus model mice”. Akihiro is postdoc in Keisuke Yonehara's lab.

Group Leader Keisuke Yonehara. Photo: Annabel Darby

2019.03.27 | Research news

Keisuke Yonehara is featured in the latest 'Behind the Scenes' series of The Nordic EMBL Partnership

For the latest Behind the Scenes interview, the joint Communications Officer of the partnership Annabel Darby caught up with DANDRITE Group Leader Keisuke Yonehara to discuss his work, how research life in Denmark compares to Japan, and how he came to move from veterinary science to molecular neuroscience.

Photo of Keisuke Yonehara

2019.02.15 | News from the management

Congratulations to Keisuke Yonehara, who has had his Group Leader extension approved

The Executive Board of DANDRITE has approved the recommendations from the Assessment Committee to extend Keisuke’s appointment at DANDRITE for another four-year period until 2024.

Keisuke Yonehara

2018.12.21 | Research news

Congratulations to Keisuke Yonehara with the grant of DKK 2,991,000.00 from Lundbeckfonden on The NIH Brain Initiative Scheme

The grant is assigned to the project entitled; "Brain circuit mapping using light-inducible recombinase systems”. The project will be initiated early 2019.

2018.11.23 | People

Please welcome Tjasa who is new trainee in Yonehara group

Tjasa Lapanja joined Keisuke Yonehara’s group as a trainee in November. For the next 3,5 months she will be working with Szilard Sajgo on a project that aims to discover molecular mechanisms, important for retinal cell type specification.

Wen-Hsien Hou presenting his poster at the meeting. 
Emma Louth presenting her poster at the meeting.

2018.10.10 | Marco Capogna

Capogna’s and Yonehara’s groups contributed to the Brain Conference “The necessity of cell types for brain function”, Copenhagen, 7-10 October

Capogna’s and Yonehara’s groups contributed to the scientific program of a recent Brain Conference held in Copenhagen aiming to elucidate the role of various cell types in the brain. The program of the conference included the contribution of several internationally known neuroscientists including Brain Prize winners. Capogna’s lab contributed with…

2018.09.12 | Events

DANDRITE mini symposium; lectures by Cornelius Gross, Naoshige Uchida, Rune Berg and Keisuke Yonehara

On the 1'st of October DANDRITE will host a mini symposim and we are very excited to present the 4 speakers: Cornelius Gross, Group Leader, Senior Scientist, ERC Investigator and Deputy Head of Outstation Epigenetics & Neurobiology Unit, EMBL- Rome. Title of talk “Do microglia really eat synapses?" Naoshige Uchida,…

2018.07.03 | KeisukeYonehara

Bjarke Thomsen Continues as Laboratory Technician in Yonehara's Lab

Bjarke Thomsen continues as laboratory technician in Keisuke Yonehara's group per 1 June 2018. Bjarke's responsibilities includes helping group members perform experiments, ordering equipment and materials, preparing common buffers and solutions, organizing shipments of materials between institutes, doing autoclaving, and taking part in the…

2018.06.21 | People

Emma Johannsen is new shared Student Assistant in Yonehara, Denham and Nabavi Group

Emma is a new student assistant shared between Mark Denham, Keisuke Yonehara and Sadegh Nabavi. She will mainly be handling autoclavation in connection to class2 labs. Emma is studying Molecular Medicine on her 4th semester. 

2018.06.15 | People

Simon Arvin is new Student Assistant in Yonehara Group

In Yonehara group, Simon will assemble a virtual reality system in combination with a two-photon imaging system for head-fixed awake mice to explore the functional interaction of vision and locomotion at single neuronal levels in collaboration with the group of Duda Kvitsiani.

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