Nagasaki University School of MEDICAL SCIENCES

Research Areas

Department of
Neurobiology and Behavior

Professor Kazuyuki Shinohara

Social and emotional functions form the basis of adaptive human behavior. Importantly, there are great individual differences in these functions, and disorders/subclinical level impairment in socio-emotional function lead to mal-adaptive behaviors such as social withdrawal and abusive relationships. The primary goal of our lab is to clarify the cause of individual differences in socio-emotional function including pathological one. Based on the findings from basic research, we ultimately aim to develop novel diagnostic and therapeutic techniques for impairments and disorders in neural and behavioral functions in socio-emotional domain. Multiple projects are currently under way to achieve our goals. Below are examples of ongoing projects.

1) Gene x Environment interaction in social development
It is well established that genetic and environmental factors influence the developmental course of social behavior. However, little is known about potential gene x environment interaction in social development. We are tackling this problem by interdisciplinary approach including genetic polymorphism analysis, cross-cultural comparison and multi-site birth-cohort study.

2) Neural basis of intimate relationships
In order to clarify the biological basis of interpersonal intimacy, we are carrying out non-invasive measurement of brain function and morphology of parents and romantic partners using near-infrarred spectroscopy, EEG and fMRI. So far, we reveled the role of fronto-polar region in sustainment of attachment relationship between children and their parents.

3) Development of Wearable Devices for early intervention to emotional dysregulation
As an attempt to establish novel technique useful for early intervention to problem in emotional regulation, we are developing wearable-device to detect early signs of mood problems in females in collaboration with experts of information-engineering.