Yukiko Kimura

Exploratory Research Center on Life and Living Systems, National Institutes of Natural SciencesAssistant Professor*Profile is at the time of the award.

2018Inamori Research GrantsBiology & Life sciences

Research topics
Study of spinal neurons regulating switching of motor circuits in the spinal cord during changes in locomotor speed
When vertebrate animals undertake locomotive action, their body movements may change as the speed of locomotion changes. For instance, when humans walk and run, their step patterns differ, and so does the activation of muscles used. It is thus assumed that the nerve circuit that controls the motions of different speeds functions in different ways, but its detailed mechanism remains unknown. For this proposed research, I am hoping to locate a spinal neuron that plays an important role in switching the nerve circuit in accordance with the speed of motion and to elucidate how it works. For the purposes of this research, I will use the zebrafish, a small tropical fish, as a model organism. The zebrafish has a simple nervous system and so is suitable for analysis of nerve circuits. I will use a gene recombinant fish with nerve cells of a specific kind that can be identified to analyze nerve circuits at the single-cell level -- something which is difficult for mammals -- so that I can explore the neural basis for controlling motions with different speeds.

Message from recipient

Please accept my heartfelt gratitude for the selection of my research proposal for the Inamori Research Grants Program. I will make the most of this generous support to work on the elaborate mechanisms of animal nervous systems that control their motions, thus sharing the appeal of basic biology.

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Biology & Life sciences