UNC Hospitals – Chapel Hill
Education and Training:
PhD, Neuroscience, University of Tokyo, Japan
MS, Biological Sciences, University of Tokyo, Japan
BS, Biological Sciences, University of Tokyo, Japan
The primary research goal of Dr. Kato’s lab is to understand the circuit mechanisms underlying how the brain synthesizes auditory information to extract complex sound features, such as language. Towards this goal, they focus on mouse auditory cortex as the model system, and use multiple cutting-edge techniques in behaving animals to dissect the circuits that connect sound inputs to behavioral outputs. Specifically, they use in vivo whole-cell recordings to study synaptic events in single neurons, two-photon calcium imaging to study neuronal population dynamics in a bigger network, and combine these approaches with neuronal manipulation and behaviors. Through these experiments, they aim to bridge the gap between knowledge at the synaptic level and systems level, and elucidate the neuronal underpinnings of sound processing. Findings in the simple mouse auditory cortex should provide a first step towards the ultimate understanding of the complex human brain circuits that enable verbal communication, and how they fail in psychiatric disorders.