Intelligent Cooperative Systems Kanzaki Laboratory
Understanding the mechanisms of information processing in brains is one of the major challenges in biology and is predestined to initiate significant breakthroughs in engineering. We aim at understanding the principles of operation of insect brains by reconstructing neural circuits from their basic units, single identified neurons and interpreting neural activity in relation to its relevance for internal and behavioral states. Furthermore, we have been developing novel olfactory sensors using insect olfactory receptors employing genetic engineering. The study of insects is thus predestined to lead to significant breakthroughs in neuroscience and engineering.
Whole insect brain simulation and the understanding of insect intelligence
Our target is the understanding of insect intelligence through largescale simulation of the insect brain that contains 104-106 neurons. To unravel mechanisms of information processing of insect brains, we use a combination of experimental and computational approaches. The properties of individual neurons and neural circuits are investigated with morphological, electrophysiological, and functional imaging techniques in conjunction with behavioral experiments that set a context for interpretation and meaning. Such data are used to reconstruct connections between neurons and to develop a largescale neural network model. We employ the K/post-K supercomputer for model simulation and this allows us to replay activities in insect brains in real time.
Development of odor biosensors and odor-source searching robots based on insect olfaction
Insects have sophisticated olfactory systems that detect odorant molecules in the air with high sensitivity. We have successfully reconstructed the functions of several insect-derived odorant receptors in cultured insect cells and olfactory receptor neurons of silkmoths using genetic engineering. By applying these technologies, we aim to develop a “sensor cells” for visualizing various odorant molecules as fluorescence, and a “sensor moth” for finding an odor source on demand. We also investigate and develop biohybrid robots that combine insects or insect antennas and robot parts for understanding insect adaptive behavior. Moreover, we are developing drone system with insect antennas based on the electroantennogram (EAG) technique.
Specialized field：Neuroethology, Biohybrid system