Masashi Tabuchi (Kanzaki Lab.)
After I got my degree at AIS, I have been working as a research scientist at John Hopkins University in the United States since April, 2013. During my time at RCAST, I did research under Professor Ryohei Kanzaki, and my theme for the doctoral thesis was “The Physiological Study of Optogenetics and Nerves Relating to the Olfactory System Function Network of Silkworm Moths”. The neural network for olfactory systems has a research model with an established efficacy to learn about the brain’s information processing mechanism. However, because smell was the form of stimulus used, it was difficult to make a time-based analysis. Therefore, I began to think that it might be possible to solve the problem if I could use a stimulus with a higher time resolution such as light, and so started my research. To be more specific, I incorporated a nervous activity’s light control system called optogenetics into the olfactory system of the silkworm moth and established a method of research in olfactory senses using light. By applying this method in my research, I found that there were neural mechanisms that could be integrated at certain time periods by adding a smell stimulus at different timings.
I was able to present this accomplishment to the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, a peer reviewed international magazine. My research was full of continuous failures and there were only a handful of successes. What’s more, I had to painstakingly analyze the experimental data from various aspects, compile them into a thesis, and do additional experiments that were sometimes absurd so as to satisfy the desires of the peer reviewers. The whole process until the publication finished was hard. However, once I experienced the accomplishment of a thesis publication, I strongly thought that I wanted to experience it many times again and continue to do research throughout my life. I believe that those of you who will join the course will also experience the same fulfillment while you work on your research for your doctoral thesis here.