Ph.D., Neuroscience, Kanazawa University School of Medicine, Ishikawa, Japan (1997)
Research Fellow, Japanese Ministry of education, Japan (1991-1993)
Post Doctoral, Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia, PA (1997-2003)
MONBUSHO, Japanese Government Scholarship, Japan (1991-1997)
NRSA (National Research Service Award), Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia,
Research Associate, Department of Neuroscience, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine,
Philadelphia, PA (2003-2006)
Senior Research Investigator, Department of Neuroscience, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, Philadelphia, PA (2006-2010)
Instructor, Department of Neuroscience, Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia, PA (2010-present)
Research and Clinical Interests
The focus of my research is to understand the molecular mechanism underlying insulin release in Drosophila melanogaster fruit fly brain. A group of neurons, pars intercerebralis (PI), in the brain of fruit fly produce insulin, which parallels the role of beta cells in human. Another group of cells, corpora cardiaca (CC), make adipokinetic hormone (AKH), similar to human glucagon. These two organs (PI and CC) could be seen to represent a primitive pancreatic islet, and could serve as a simple model to explore sugar regulation at a very basic level.
I investigate the in-vivo properties of voltage-gated ion channels expressed in PI neurons which governs the insulin secretion in the neurons. Unlike human pancreas, PI and CC do not clamp together but PI neurons project their axons to CC and get connected, and I am interested to explore how the PI and CC communicate each other to maintain the sugar level in fly hemolymph. Note that, besides insulin production, PI neurons are also involved in development, metabolism, circadian rhythm and sleep in fruit fly. It would be interesting to explore how PI neurons interact to the neighboring neuron networks to perform these jobs done. The research platform of my work is based on in-vivo patch clamp recording on neurons in brain of living fruit fly, pharmacology and molecular genetics. The above studies would impact in understanding human diabetes, and at the end, these neurons could be the potential target of drug development.