Professor Junichi Nabekura

@ National Institute for Physiological Sciences, Japan

Junichi Nabekura is a Professor of Physiology and Neuroscience and a Vice-Director of the National Institute of Physiological Sciences (NIPS) in Okazaki, one of the top Neuroscience research institutions in Japan. Nabekura graduated from Kyushu University in 1987, undertook a postdoctoral fellowship at Washington University, and held academic posts at various Universities across Japan (Tohoku, Akita, Kyushu) before being appointed Professor at NIPS in 2003.  His research is focused on neuronal circuit wiring and plasticity during development and following injury measured using electrophysiology and in vivo imaging approaches, and he has published over 130 journal articles (with ≈5,000 citations) in this area. This has included discoveries of transmitter switching at single inhibitory synapses and impact of changes in Cl homeostasis on inhibitory transmission in development and injury. Over the past decade Nabekura has been amongst the pioneers in applying two-photon imaging to investigate neural circuit plasticity in the living brain. In particular, the work of his group focuses on how glia contribute to cortical circuit plasticity during development and learning, and during the rewiring that occurs after injury. They have recently reported on microglia as surveyors of cortical synapse integrity in health and ischemic brain, and how astrocytes contribute to synapse and circuit rewiring in chronic pain conditions. Nabekura also plays a prominent role in Science leadership in Japan, having served as a Senior Program Officer for both the Ministry of Education, Sports, Science and Technology and the Japan Society for Promotion of Science.