Integrative Life Sciences :
Brain and Nervous System


Associate Professor YAMAGATA Nobuhiro
Campus Katahira campus
Laboratory Neuroethology
Tel +81-22-217-6224
E-mail nobuhiro.yamagata.a5@tohoku.ac.jp
Website http://www.lifesci.tohoku.ac.jp/neuroethology/

My main research interests are adaptive animal behaviors and their underlying neural mechanism, particularly in insects. I address this theme by using behavioral, genetic and physiological approaches. Currently I focus on neural circuitry that realizes olfactory learning in fruit flies, Drosophila melanogaster. I expect this powerful model organism would help me to understand fundamental principles of nervous system that govern behavioral plasticity of animals.


Graduated, Department of Biology, Faculty of Science, Tohoku University; completed doctoral course and obtained doctorate (Life Sciences), Graduate School of Science, Tohoku University.
Post-doctoral study grants, Fondation Fyssen;
Post-doctoral Fellow, French National Centre for Scientific Research;
Post-doctoral Fellow, Humboldt Research Fellowships;
Post-doctoral Fellowship for Research Abroad, JSPS, Max Plank Institute of Neurobiology, German;
Assistant Professor, Graduate School of Life Sciences, Tohoku University since October 2013.
current position as Associate Professor,  Graduate School of Life Sciences, Tohoku University since April 2018. 

Selected Publications
(Recent major papers)
  1. Yamagata N, Ichinose T, Aso Y, Plaçais PY, Friedrich AB, Sima R, Preat T, Rubin GM, Tanimoto H. Distinct dopamine neurons mediate reward signals for short- and long-term memories. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2015. 112(2):578-83.
  2. Aso Y, Sitaraman D, Ichinose T, Kaun KR, Vogt K, Belliart-Guérin G, Plaçais PY, Robie AA, Yamagata N, Schnaitmann C, Rowell WJ, Johnston RM, Ngo TT, Chen N, Korff W, Nitabach MN, Heberlein U, Preat T, Branson KM, Tanimoto H, Rubin GM. Mushroom body output neurons encode valence and guide memory-based action selection in Drosophila. Elife. 2014 Dec 23;3.
  3. Galili DS, Dylla KV, Lüdke A, Friedrich AB, Yamagata N, Wong JY, Ho CH, Szyszka P, Tanimoto H. Converging circuits mediate temperature and shock aversive olfactory conditioning in Drosophila. Curr Biol. 2014 Aug 4;24(15):1712-22.
  4. Liu C, Plaçais PY, Yamagata N, Pfeiffer BD, Aso Y, Friedrich AB, Siwanowicz I, Rubin GM, Preat T, Tanimoto H. A subset of dopamine neurons signals reward for odour memory in Drosophila. Nature, 2012. 488:512-6.
  5. Mota T, Yamagata N, Giurfa M, Gronenberg W, Sandoz JC. Neural organization and visual processing in the anterior optic tubercle of the honeybee brain. J Neurosci. 2011. Aug 10;31(32):11443-56.
Activities in Academic Societies

The Japanese Society for Comparative Physiology and Biochemistry The Zoological Society of Japan Japanese Drosophila Research Conference International Society for Neuroethology

Advanced Integrative Life Sciences I (Brain and Nervous System), Advanced Cell Biology

Recent Activities

By using behavioral genetic approach, we are conducting functional dissection of a cluster of dopamine neurons which convey reward upon learning in Drosophila. Recently, we have discovered two independent subgroups of dopamine neurons which induce appetitive short-term and long-term memories, respectively. Currently, we are trying to uncover how these dopamine neurons act during learning to from appetitive memory. Fig.1 Subsets of dopamine neurons which induce appetitive short-term (stm-PAM, left magenta & middle)and long-term memory(ltm-PAM left green & right), respectively (after Yamagata et al., PNAS, 2015). White shadows depict the shape of the mushroom body, where associative learning takes place in an insect brain.