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Faculty Detail / 研究室詳細

Susumu Tonegawa, Ph.D.

- How do we form, consolidate, and recall memory and make decisions?

RIKEN-MIT Center for Neural Circuit Genetics


Neuroscience / Behavior, Biology / Biochemistry, Molecular Biology / Genetics

Susumu  Tonegawa

Research Area

Learning and memory are vital for day-to-day living—from finding our way home to playing tennis to giving a cohesive speech. Some of us have personally witnessed the devastating consequences of memory disorders, whether it's the severe inability to form new memories, as seen in Alzheimer's patients, or difficulty in suppressing a recall of a memory of a highly unpleasant experience, as seen in PTSD patients. The main research interest in our laboratory is to decipher brain mechanisms subserving learning and memory.

We seek to understand what happens in the brain when a memory is formed, when a fragile short-term memory is consolidated to a solid long-term memory, and when a memory formed previously is recalled on subsequent occasions.

We also seek to understand the role of memory in decision-making, and how various external or internal factors, such as reward, punishment, attention and the subject's emotional state, affect learning and memory. In summary, we study how the central nervous system in the brain enables our mind, with a focus on learning and memory.

Selected Publications View All

  1. 1

    Ramirez S., Liu X., Lin P.A., Suh J., Pignatelli M., Redondo R., Ryan T.J., and Tonegawa S.: "Creating a False Memory in the Hippocampus", Science, 341, 387-391 (2013)

  2. 2

    Dragoi D. and Tonegawa S: "Distinct preplay of multiple novel spatial experiences in the rat", PNAS, 110(22), 9100-9105 (2013)

  3. 3

    Dolan B.M., Duron S.G., Campbell D.A., Vollrath B., Rao B.S.S., Ko H.Y., Lin G.G., Govindarajan A., Choi S.Y., and Tonegawa S.: "Rescue of fragile X syndrome phenotypes in Fmr1 KO mice by the small-molecule PAK inhibitor FRAX486", PNAS, 110(14), 5671-6 (2013)

  4. 4

    Liu X., Ramirez S., Pang P., Puryear C., Govindarajan A., Deisseroth K., and Tonegawa S: "Optogenetic stimulation of a hippocampal engram activates fear memory recall", Nature, doi:10.1038/nature11028 (2012)

  5. 5

    Nakashiba T., Cushman J., Pelkey K., Renaudineau S., Buhl D., McHugh T.J., Rodriguez Barrera V., Chittajallu R., Iwamoto K.S., McBain C.J., Fanselow M.S., and Tonegawa S.: "Young Dentate Granule Cells Mediate Pattern Separation whereas Old Granule Cells Facilitate Pattern Completion", Cell, 149(1), 188-201 (2012)

  6. 6

    Nakazawa K., Quirk M.C., Chitwood R.A., Watanabe M., Yeckel M.F., Sun L.D., Kato A., Carr C.A., Johnston D., Wilson M.A., and Tonegawa S. : "Requirement for hippocampal CA3 NMDA receptors in associative memory recall", Science, 297, 211-218 (2002)

  7. 7

    Zeng H., Chattarji S., Barbarosie M., Rondi-Reig L., Philpot B.D., Miyakawa T., Bear M.F., and Tonegawa S.: "Forebrain-specific calcineurin knockout selectively impairs bidirectional synaptic plasticity and working/episodic-like memory", Cell, 107, 617-629 (2001)

  8. 8

    Tsien J.Z., Huerta P.T., and Tonegawa S.: "The essential role of hippocampal CA1 NMDA receptor-dependent synaptic plasticity in spatial memory", Cell, 87, 1327-1338 (1996)

  9. 9

    Silva A., Paylor R., Wehner J.M., and Tonegawa S: "Impaired Spatial Learning in a Calcium-Calmodulin Kinase II Mutant Mice", Science, 257, 206-211 (1992)

  10. 10

    Tonegawa S.: "Somatic Generation of Antibody Diversity", Nature, 302, 575-581 (1983)

Press Releases View All