Hirofumi Morishita MD, PhD

ASSISTANT PROFESSOR


Biography

Hirofumi Morishita is an Associate Professor of Psychiatry, Neuroscience and Ophthalmology at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. He is also a faculty member of interdisciplinary Mindich Child Health & Development Institute, and Friedman Brain Institute. His research focuses on understanding the mechanisms of developmental critical periods for cortical maturation to establish perception and cognition relevant to neurodevelopmental and psychiatric disorders. His laboratory takes an integrated approach, combining molecular, anatomical, imaging, electrophysiological, and behavior methodologies using mouse models.

Hirofumi Morishita received his PhD from Osaka University after Psychiatry residency at National Center Hospital of Neurology and Psychiatry in Tokyo and medical school training at Kyushu University (MD). Before joining Mount Sinai, he was a postdoctoral research fellow at Takao Hensch lab, Children’s Hospital Boston, Harvard Medical School. His postdoctoral work led to the preclinical discovery of therapeutic strategies for functional recovery in adulthood (Morishita et al. Science 2010).

Visit the Morishita Lab homepage for more details.
http://www.morishita-lab.com/
 

Research Topic


Autism, Behavior, Cerebral Cortex, Cognitive Neuroscience, Developmental Neurobiology, Molecular Biology, Neural Networks, Neuromodulation, Neurophysiology, Oxidative Stress, Prefrontal Cortex, Schizophrenia, Synaptic Plasticity, Systems Neuroscience, Vision

Multi-Disciplinary Training Area

Neuroscience [NEU]

Awards

2017
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke R21 NS105119
National Institute of Health

2015
National Eye Institute R01 EY024918
National Institute of Health

2015
Inaugural Faculty Innovative Collaborations-Idea Prize
Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai

2015
National Institute of Mental Health R21 MH106919
National Institute of Health

2015
National Eye Institute R01 EY026053
National Institute of Health

2014
Pilot Grant
Mindich Child Health & Development Institute Pilot Grant

2013
Basil O'Connor Starter Scholar Research Awards
March of Dimes

2012
Young Investigator Award
National Alliance for Research on Schizophrenia and Depression (NARSAD)

2012
Early Career-Starter Research Grant
Knights Templar Eye Foundation

2012
Research Grant
Whitehall Foundation

2012
Travel Award
American College of Neuropsychopharmacology (ACNP)

Research

How much of our behavior and its disorders are determined by our genes and by our environment? This nature-nurture debate has continued for centuries by both philosophers and scientists. We now know our behavior reflects neural circuits sculpted by experience during “critical periods” in postnatal life. Such heightened plasticity declines into adulthood, often limiting recovery of function. On the other hand, the adult brain needs stability. Failed stabilization can disrupt circuit computations by allowing modification by undesirable information, which may lead to mental disorders. How does the brain solve this stability-plasticity dilemma? The goal of our lab is to identify the mechanisms of developmental critical periods to establish (1) perception and (2) cognition relevant to neurodevelopmental and psychiatric disorders. We take an integrated approach combining molecular, anatomical, imaging, electrophysiological, and behavior methodologies using mouse models.

Mechanisms Regulating Experience-dependent Perceptual Development

Experience-dependent cortical plasticity is heightened during developmental critical periods but declines into adulthood, posing a major challenge to recovery of function following injury or disease later in life. The major goal of our research is to identify the mechanisms of experience-dependent cortical plasticity using visual system, a premier model of critical period, we take an integrated approach, combining molecular, anatomical, imaging, electrophysiological methodologies all in vivo by further incorporating advanced techniques such as in vivo viral gene transfer, optogenetics, chemogenetics, and two-photon time lapse imaging. We also take translational bioinformatics approach to identify pro-plasticity drugs and anti-plastic perturbations. Our study would have direct implications for Amblyopia, a condition with limited adult-applicable treatment affecting 2–5% of the human population, but also for brain injury repair, sensory recovery, and the treatment of neurodevelopmental disorders with sensory perceptual deficits such as autism. Currently our focus is on two regulatory systems of cortical plasticity: (1) endogenous nicotinic ACh Receptor regulators, and (2) proteolytic system.

Mechanisms Regulating Prefrontal Cortex-dependent Cognitive Development

Mechanisms driving critical period circuit development are well described in sensory systems—but poorly characterized for complex cognitive behaviors. Identification of a critical period and underlying mechanisms for cognitive circuits and behavior would eventually improve diagnosis, prevention and treatment of psychiatric disorders. Our study aims to examine to what extent a mechanism critical for regulating the critical period for visual cortex development also modulates maturation of frontal cortex-dependent cognitive functions such as attention and social cognition. We combine in vivo circuit-specific manipulations with a translationally-relevant touchscreen behavioral testing system to identify the developmental regulatory mechanism of cognitive function from the molecular, circuit to the behavioral level. For this line of research, we actively collaborate with division of psychiatric genomics, neurodevelopmental disorders, and psychiatric epigenomics at Mount Sinai.

Laboratory Members:
Yury Garkun PhD: Postdoctoral Fellow
Kazuhiko Yamamuro MD PhD: Postdoctoral Fellow
Daisuke Kato MD PhD Postdoctoral Fellow
Milo Smith: PhD Student
Masato Sadahiro: PhD Student
Elisa Nabel: MDPhD Student
Lucy Bicks: PhD Student
Kevin Norman: PhD Student
Susanna Im: Master Student
Julia Kim: Master Student
Priscilla Yevoo: Associate Researcher
Keaven Caro: Research Assistant





H-Index:
  • Scopus: 14 (as of 04/05/2018)
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