Hirofumi Morishita, MD, PhD
- ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR | Psychiatry
- ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR | Neuroscience
- ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR | Ophthalmology
Research Topics:Autism, Behavior, Cerebral Cortex, Cognitive Neuroscience, Developmental Neurobiology, Molecular Biology, Neural Networks, Neuromodulation, Neurophysiology, Oxidative Stress, Prefrontal Cortex, Schizophrenia, Synaptic Plasticity, Systems Neuroscience, Vision
Hirofumi Morishita is an Associate Professor (tenured) of Psychiatry, Neuroscience and Ophthalmology at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. He is also a faculty member of interdisciplinary Mindich Child Health & Development Institute, and Friedman Brain Institute since 2012. He received his PhD from Osaka University after Psychiatry residency at National Center Hospital of Neurology and Psychiatry in Tokyo and medical school training at Kyushu University (MD). Before joining Mount Sinai, he was a postdoctoral research fellow at Takao Hensch lab, Children’s Hospital Boston, Harvard Medical School.
His research focuses on understanding the mechanisms of developmental critical periods for cortical maturation to establish perception and cognition relevant to neurodevelopmental and psychiatric disorders. His laboratory takes an integrated approach, combining molecular, anatomical, imaging, electrophysiological, and behavior methodologies using mouse models. His research revealed key molecular and circuit level mechanisms of cortical maturation supporting perception (Journal of Neuroscience 2020, 2016, 2015, Science 2010), cognition (Neuron 2021, Science Advances 2021, Sciece Advances 2021, Nature Communications 2020), and social behavior (Nature Neuroscience 2020, Nature Communications 2020).
Visit the Morishita Lab homepage for more details.
Norman KJ, Riceberg JS, Koike H, Bateh, J., Lopez S, Caro, K., Kato D, Liang A, Yamamuro, K., Flanigan M, Nabel E, Brady, D., Cho, C., Riceberg, J., Sadahiro, M., Yoshitake K, Maccario P, Demars M, Waltrip L, Varga A, Russo SJ, Baxter MG, Shapiro, ML., Rudebeck, P., Morishita H.Post-error recruitment of frontal sensory cortical projections promotes attention in mice. Neuron February 19, 2021.
Falk NE, Norman, KJ., Garkun, Y., Demars, MP, Im, S., Taccheri G., Short, J., Caro, K., Lopez, S., Cho, C., Smith MR, Lin, H., Koike, H., Bateh, J., Maccario, P., Waltrip, L., Janis, M., Morishita, H. Nicotinic regulation of local and long-range input balance drives top-down attentional circuit maturation. Science Advances 2021; 7: eabe1527
Yamamuro K, Bicks LK, Leventhal M, Im S, Kato D, Flanigan ME, Garkun Y, Norman KJ, Caro K, Sadahiro M, Kullander K, Akbarian S, Russo SJ, and Morishita H. A prefrontal–paraventricular thalamus circuit requires juvenile social experience to regulate adult sociability in mice. Nature Neuroscience 31 Aug 2020.
Bicks LK, Yamamuro K, Flanigan ME, Kim JM, Kato D, Lucas EK, Koike H, Peng MS, Brady DM, Chandrasekaran S, Norman KJ, Smith M, Clem RL, Russo SJ, Akbarian S, and Morishita H. Prefrontal parvalbumin interneurons require juvenile social experience to establishadult social behavior. Nature Communications 2020 Feb 21, 11, 1003 (2020)
Morishita, H., Miwa, JM., Heintz, N., Hensch, TK..
Lynx1, a cholinergic brake limits plasticity in adult visual cortex.
Science 2010 Nov 26; 330(6008):1238-40.
Multi-Disciplinary Training AreaNeuroscience [NEU]
Maturation of Prefrontal Circuit in Control of Cognitive Behavior
Mechanisms driving critical period circuit development are well described in sensory cortex—but poorly characterized for prefrontal cortex dependent cognitive behaviors. A second major goal of our research is to examine the molecular and circuit mechanisms to prefrontal cortex maturation to establish proper cognitive behavior. We combine in vivo circuit-specific manipulation/monitoring of neural activity and gene expression in behaving mice using a translationally-relevant touchscreen behavioral testing. We recently found that frontal top-down cortico-cortical neurons projecting to visual cortex, which are preferentially recruited after errors to adjust attentional behavior (Neuron 2021), undergo activity-dependent integration of local inputs during adolescence sensitive period (Nature Communications 2020), followed by nicotinic signaling-dependent shift in local and long-range input balance to establish proper attentional behavior in adulthood (Science Advances 2021). Identified circuit-associated mechanisms would promote translation of our basic research findings to clinical research to improve diagnosis, prevention and treatment of neuro-developmental disorders. Currently supported by NIMH R01.
Overview: Cortical Mechanisms of Perceptual, Cognitive & Social Development
How much of our behavior and its disorders are determined by our genes and by our environment? This nature-nurture debate has continued for centuries by both philosophers and scientists. We now know our behavior reflects neural circuits sculpted by experience during “critical periods” in postnatal life. Such heightened plasticity declines into adulthood, often limiting recovery of function. On the other hand, the adult brain needs stability. Failed stabilization can disrupt circuit computations by allowing modification by undesirable information, which may lead to mental disorders. How does the brain solve this stability-plasticity dilemma? The goal of our lab is to identify the mechanisms of developmental critical periods to establish (1) Perception and (2) Cognitive & (3) Social Behavior relevant to neuro-developmental and psychiatric disorders. Our strategy is to use visual system, a premier model of critical period for cortical plasticity, to discover molecular/ circuit mechanisms, and then apply these mechanisms as unique tools to dissect more complicated critical periods for cognitive behaviors such as attention and social cognition. We are an active member of Center for Neurotechnology and Behavior and Center for Affective Neuroscience at Mount Sinai.
Regulation of Critical Period for Sensory Cortical Plasticity
Experience-dependent cortical plasticity is heightened during developmental critical periods but declines into adulthood, posing a major challenge to recovery of function following injury or disease later in life. Our research aims to identify the mechanisms of experience-dependent cortical plasticity. Using visual system, a premier model of critical period, we take an integrated approach, combining molecular, anatomical, imaging, electrophysiological methodologies (e.g. in vivo viral gene transfer, optogenetics, chemogenetics, and two-photon time lapse imaging) (Science 2010, J Neurosci 2015, J Neurosci 2016, eNeuro 2017, Scientific Reports 2018, J Neurosci 2020). Our study would have direct implications for Amblyopia, a condition with limited adult-applicable treatment affecting 2–5% of the human population, but also for brain injury repair, sensory recovery, and the treatment of neurodevelopmental disorders. Currently supported by National Eye Institute R01.
Maturation of Prefrontal Circuit in Control of Social Behavior
Another current line of research aims to examine the mechanisms prefrontal social circuit maturation. Social behavior is commonly dysregulated in neurodevelopmental disorders, yet little is known about the mechanisms governing social behavior development. Studies in humans and animals demonstrate that the prefrontal cortex is important in regulating social cognition (see our recent review Front Psychology 2015). The goal of this line of research is to identify molecular and circuit mechanisms in prefrontal cortex regulating juvenile critical period for experience-dependent development of social behavior. By combining intersectional approaches of behavior, cell-type-specific manipulation of neural activity and gene expression, our recent studies identified the role of specific excitatory and inhibitory cell-types in social behavior development (Nature Neuroscience 2020, Nature Communications 2020). Identification of a critical period and underlying mechanisms for social circuits and behavior would eventually improve diagnosis, prevention and treatment of psychiatric disorders. Currently supported by NIMH R01, One Mind, and Simons Foundation.