Home >> News

Prof.Toru Takahata's Lecture - Revealing ocular domains in the striate cortex of various species by immediate-early gene expression

Title: Revealing ocular domains in the striate cortex of various species by immediate-early gene expression

Speaker: Prof. Toru Takahata, Zhejiang University

Chair: Prof. Tianzi Jiang, Brainnetome Center, CASIA

Time: 09:00-10:00, Jan.30, 2018

Venue: The 8th meeting room, 17th floor of the Intelligence Building


It is considered that the cerebral cortex of primates is consisted of “cortical columns”. Researchers has thought cortical column is a fundamental unit of computation in primate cerebral cortex, but its evolutionary origin and functional significance remain elucidated. The driving inputs from the right and left eyes are segregated in a columnar manner in the striate cortex (V1), forming “ocular dominance columns (ODCs)” in Old World macaques. The ODC is a most distinct and typical example of cortical column, but it has been thought that it is a structure without functional importance. The reason is that many of New World primates are apparently lack of ODCs, whereas all of them are capable of stereopsis. Here, I show that the previous observation of apparent lack of ODCs in New World primates was merely due to technical limitations, and it is likely that ODC is a universal structure among primate species. My major method is histological examination of expression patterns immediate-early genes, c-FOS and ZIF268, after monocular inactivation treatment. This method is robust enough not only revealing ODCs in New World primates, prosimian primates, and even in rats, but also capable to reveal more detailed functional architecture within ODCs. With my findings, I will re-evaluate about function and evolution of cortical columns.


Dr. Takahata acquired V.M.D. at the Veterinary School in Hokkaido University, Sapporo, Japan in 2002. He received Ph.D. for basic biology from The Graduate University for Advanced Studies (SOKENDAI), Okazaki, Japan in 2005. During the Ph.D. program, he studied characteristic heterogeneous gene expressions in the primate cerebral cortex, mentored by Prof. Tetsuo Yamamori. He extended his research in the Department of Psychology at Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tennessee from 2008 to 2014. He engaged studies for comparative neuroanatomy of the primate visual cortex there for postdoctoral training under supervision of Prof. Jon H. Kaas. He is currently working as a principal investigator at Zhejiang University, Interdisciplinary Institute of Neuroscience and Technology (ZIINT), Hangzhou, China, since November 2014. His goal is to comprehend evolutionary history and development of primate brains at the molecular level. He published many research papers in Proc Natl Acad Sci USA, Cerebral Cortex, Journal of Comparative Neurology and so on. He was selected for Zhejiang Province Foreigner Thousand People in 2016.