Research groups

Group of Nutritional Neuroscience
(Section of Industry-Academia-Collaboration)

Group of Nutritional Neuroscience (Industry-academia collaboration) The performance of higher-order brain functions such as cognition, decision-making, as well as memory, is altered by the brain states. Nowadays, age-dependent decline of brain performance is one of the serious social issues. If the aged brain performance can be sustained or improved, our quality of life will be affluent. It is generally accepted that nutritional factors impact on proper brain performance. However, molecular mechanisms of nutritional effect on brain functions are still largely unclear. So here, we have launched Nutritional Neuroscience group. It combined nutritional science and cognitive neuroscience, to address the nature of nutritional effects on higher-order brain functions.

Approach using Model Organisms

Our research goal is to understand neuronal and molecular mechanisms of nutritional effects on higher-order brain functions. To achieve this goal, we take advantage of simple model organisms with small brains, fruit flies and round worms. Although they have simple brain systems, they show relatively complex functions. Our research topics are summarized in the following sections.

Plasticity of the Brain Functions for the adaptive behavior (Hiroshi Ishimoto)

Endocrine system helps our brain properly work by communicating with internal environments such as intestinal flora involved in the brain-gut axis. It may surprise you that fruit fly Drosophila also has hormones such as neurotransmitters, peptides, and steroids that are structurally and functionally quite similar to us human beings. We applied fruit fly Drosophila as a model system to study complex action of endocrine factors on brain functions because of the simple nervous system and powerful molecular genetics tools of Drosophila. Moreover, even with such a tiny brain, fruit flies show higher-order brain functions such as learning & memory, decision making, and sleep. By using this sophisticated model system, we will tackle the mystery of nutritional regulation of cognition function of the brain.

Exploring the Brain-Gut Axis using Worms (Kentaro Noma)

Organisms are affected by genetic factors (nature) and environmental factors (nurture). A round worm, C. elegans, has been widely used to uncover the biological functions of genetic factors. We have been studying the genetic mechanisms underlying the neuronal development and establishing new genetic approaches to address this issue. In Nutritional Neuroscience group, we will utilize C. elegans as a model to study how environmental factors, especially nutrition, can affect brain functions. Moreover, we will use genetic approaches to reveal the molecular basis of those effects.

Section of Industry-Academia-Collaboration Group of Nutritional Neuroscience

Laboratory Members

Designated Associate Professor Hiroshi Ishimoto
Designated Assistant Professor Kentaro Noma
Researcher Shunjirou Kobayashi
Researcher Sachio Tsukada
Researcher Nanae Matsumoto
BS Yuichiro Ito
BS G30 Lai Alison Lok
BS G30 Park Joo Hyun
Technician Yuki Ishikawa
Technician Yasuyo Arai
Visiting Professor Teiichi Tanimura


  1. Ishimoto H, Kamikouchi A, A feedforward circuit regulates action selection of pre-mating courtship behavior in female Drosophila. Current Biol. 2020; Jan 2; 30(3) IF= 9.193
  2. Li X, Ishimoto H, Kamikouchi A, Assessing experience-dependent tuning of song preference in fruit flies. DOI: 10.21769/BioProtoc.2932 Bio-protocol Vol 8, Iss 14, July 20, 2018 IF=なし
  3. Ishimoto H, Sano H, Ex Vivo Calcium Imaging for Visualizing Brain Responses to Endocrine Signaling in Drosophila. Journal of Visualized Experiments, Jun 2;(136). doi: 10.3791/57701. 2018 IF=1.108
  4. Yamada D, Ishimoto H, Li X, Kohashi T, Ishikawa Y, Kamikouchi A, GABAergic local interneurons shape female fruit fly response to mating songs. Journal of Neuroscience, May 2;38(18):4329-4347. 2018 IF=6.074
  5. Li X, Ishimoto H, Kamikouchi A, Auditory Experience Controls the Maturation of Song Discrimination and Sexual Response in Drosophila. eLife, Mar 20;7. pii: e34348. doi: 10.7554/eLife.34348. 2018 IF=7.616
  6. Hindle SJ, Munji RN, Dolghih E, Gaskins G, Orng S, Ishimoto H, Soung A, DeSalvo M, Kitamoto T, Keiser MJ, Jacobson MP, Daneman R, Bainton RJ. Evolutionarily Conserved Roles for Blood-Brain Barrier Xenobiotic Transporters in Endogenous Steroid Partitioning and Behavior. Cell Reports. 21(5):1304-16, Oct31 2017 IF=7.815
  7. Sano H, Nakamura A, Texada JM, Truman JT, Ishimoto H, Kamikouchi A, Nibu Y, Kume K, Ida T, Kojima M. The nutrient-responsive hormone CCHamide-2 controls growth by regulating insulin-like peptides in the brain of Drosophila melanogaster. PLoS Genet. Sep 22;11(9) 2015 IF=5.224
  8. Matsuo E, Yamada D, Ishikawa Y, Asai T, Ishimoto H, Kamikouchi A. Identification of novel vibration- and deflection-sensitive neuronal subgroups in Johnston's organ of the fruit fly. Front Physiol. May 9;5:179. 2014 IF=3.201
  9. Ishimoto H, Wang Z, Rao Y, Wu CF, Kitamoto T. A novel role for ecdysone in Drosophila conditioned behavior: linking GPCR-mediated non-canonical steroid action to cAMP signaling in the adult brain. PLoS Genet. 9(10): e1003843. 2013 IF=5.224
  10. Yoon J, Matsuo E, Yamada D, Mizuno H, Morimoto T, Miyakawa H, Kinoshita S, Ishimoto H, Kamikouchi A. Selectivity and plasticity in a sound-evoked male-male  interaction in Drosophila. PLoS One. Sep 24;8(9):e74289. 2013 IF=2.776
  11. Sakai T, Sato S, Ishimoto H, Kitamoto T. Significance of the centrally expressed TRP channel Painless in Drosophila courtship memory. Learning & Memory. Dec 17;20(1):34-40. 2012 IF=4.057
  12. Inagaki KH, Ben-Tabou de-Leon S, Wong A, Jagadish S, Ishimoto H, Barnea G, Kitamoto T, Axel R, Anderson JD. Mapping the chemical circuitry of the brain: dopaminergic gain-control of feeding behavior by starvation in Drosophila. Cell. Feb 3;148(3):583-95 2012 IF=36.216
  13. Ozaki K, Ryuda M, Yamada A, Utoguchi A, Ishimoto H, Calas D, Marion-Poll F, Tanimura T, Yoshikawa H. A gustatory receptor involved in host plant recognition for oviposition of a swallowtail butterfly. Nature communications. Nov. 15;2:542 doi:10.1038/ncomms1548. 2011 IF=11.878
  14. Soshnev AA, Ishimoto H, McAllister BF, Li X, Wehling MD, Kitamoto T, Geyer PK. A Conserved Long Non-coding RNA Affects Sleep Behavior in Drosophila. Genetics. Oct;189(2):455-68. 2011 IF=3.564
  15. Ishimoto H, Kitamoto T. The steroid molting hormone Ecdysone regulates sleep in adult Drosophila melanogaster. Genetics. May;185(1):269-81. 2010 IF=3.564
  16. Aldrich BT, Kasuya J, Faron M, Ishimoto H, Kitamoto T. The amnesiac gene is involved in the regulation of thermal nociception in Drosophila melanogaster. J Neurogenet. Mar;24(1):33-41. 2010 IF=1.536
  17. Ishimoto H, Sakai T, Kitamoto T. Ecdysone signaling regulates the formation of long-term courtship memory in adult Drosophila melanogaster. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. Apr 14;106(15):6381-6. 2009 IF=9.58
Kentaro NOMA
  1. Noma K, Jin Y. Rapid Integration of Multi-copy Transgenes Using Optogenetic Mutagenesis in Caenorhabditis elegans. G3 (Bethesda). 2018 May 31;8(6):2091-2097. doi: 10.1534/g3.118.200158.
  2. Noma K, Goncharov A, Ellisman MH, Jin Y. Microtubule-dependent ribosome localization in C. elegans neurons. Elife. 2017 Aug 2;6. pii: e26376. doi:10.7554/eLife.26376.
  3. Noma K, Jin Y. Optogenetic Random Mutagenesis Using Histone-miniSOG in C. elegans. J Vis Exp. 2016 Nov 14;(117). doi: 10.3791/54810.
  4. Holland SM, Collura KM, Ketschek A, Noma K, Ferguson TA, Jin Y, Gallo G, Thomas GM. Palmitoylation controls DLK localization, interactions and activity to ensure effective axonal injury signaling. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2016 Jan 19;113(3):763-8. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1514123113.
  5. Noma K, Jin Y. Optogenetic mutagenesis in Caenorhabditis elegans. Nat Commun. 2015 Dec 3;6:8868. doi: 10.1038/ncomms9868.
  6. Noma K, Goncharov A, Jin Y. Systematic analyses of rpm-1 suppressors reveal roles for ESS-2 in mRNA splicing in Caenorhabditis elegans. Genetics. 2014 Nov;198(3):1101-15. doi: 10.1534/genetics.114.167841. Epub 2014 Sep 5.
Section Section of Industry-Academia-Collaboration
Group Group of Nutritional Neuroscience
Leader Hiroshi Ishimoto, Ph.D.

Research groups

Section of Nagoya BNC
Section of Industry-Academia-Collaboration