Understanding How Early Life Experience Shapes Development

Session Description

Brain development during the early postnatal stage is extremely sensitive and complex, as well as crucial to proper function throughout an individual’s lifetime.

Early in her life, Tomomi Shimogori faced the challenge of learning multiple languages fluently. Over the course of her research career, her interest in understanding the relationship of early brain development and behavior would drive her to study developmental biology and the effects of early life experience, including language learning. Through her research at the RIKEN Center for Brain Science, she now seeks to understand at the molecular level how early embryonic development, during which time genes may exert greater control than environmental cues, changes an animal’s behavior.

Most research related to early life experience has been conducted in rodents, primarily because a large range of genetic tools exists to investigate it, but the human brain is far different from the mouse one. As Shimogori explains in this Meet the Expert, her lab, in collaboration with Japan’s Brain Mapping by Integrated Neurotechnologies for Disease Studies (Brain/MINDS) project, is developing a model in the common marmoset based around the creation of a gene atlas, which will help fill the gap in knowledge between that of the rodent brain and that of the human brain.



Tomomi Shimogori
Tomomi Shimogori, PhD
Tomomi Shimogori is a team leader at the RIKEN Center for Brain Science, where her lab studies mouse thalamus-cortex connections to understand how neuronal circuits are refined by neuronal activity and the underlying molecular mechanisms. Her primary research focus is to understand molecular mechanisms of cortical area patterning in the mouse brain. She completed postdoctoral training in pharmaceutical science with Kazuei Igarashi, studying the molecular mechanisms of protein translation initiation in cancer cells, and in developmental neurobiology with Elizabeth Grove.

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