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                                        Tazu Aoki


“It is amazing that such a complicated process as development in which an egg becomes an embryo with many tissues and organs in their place in precisely controlled by numbers of genes without a mess!” I was so excited by this idea that I have past six years studying developmental biology. My daily life, to be happy or not to be, has been depending on frog or fish embryos. One day I thought that it is now enough to seek for how a creature is made but how it works. It is why I turned to the behavioral neuroscience. After having given a glimpse to flies, I was interested in studying higher animals but still simple and decided to join this lab. Although the behavior assays of zebrafish is not well established yet, I would like to do “studyies that can not be done in other animal models” with zebrafish. In parallel of zebrafish studies, I am doing some conditioning studies with my son who has now 2 years.


Although the emotion is one of the most basic reactions of animals oberved over different species, its biological understanding has just begun recently. Studies on emotional behaviors in mammals, especially on fear-based learning, have revealed the importance of amygdala and surrounding neural circuits. However, understanding as a whole circuit is yet far from complete. Zebrafish (Danio rerio) can provide an ideal model for visualizing neural activities as a whole circuit because of its relatively small sized brain and its transparency at larval stages. Using neural activity indicators such as calcium indicators, I would like to visualize neural activities of fish brain undergoing a fear experience.