Neurobiology and Development

Synapse Development and Plasticity

Under the direction of Hideto Takahashi

Research Unit

The long-term goal of the Synapse Development and Plasticity Research Unit is to understand how synaptic connections in the brain are formed and mature during development (synapse development), are modified by experience (synaptic plasticity), and are damaged in cognitive and mental disorders (synaptic pathology). 

In particular, the laboratory is interested in specific types of synaptic cell adhesion molecules, called “synaptic organizers”, which can promote synapse connectivity. Members of the research unit are using a comprehensive experimental approach based on molecular and cell biology, biochemistry, electrophysiology, mouse genetics and behavioral experiments to address questions on mechanisms of synapse development and synaptic plasticity, and mechanisms of synaptic pathology in Alzheimer’s disease.

Hideto Takahashi

Research Unit Director

  • Director, Synapse Development and Plasticity Research Unit, IRCM
  • Associate IRCM Research Professor
  • Assistant Research Professor, Department of Medicine (accreditation for the Neurological Science Programs), Université de Montréal
  • Adjunct Professor, Department of Medicine (Division of Experimental Medicine), and Adjunct Member, Integrated Program in Neuroscience, McGill University
  • Research Scholar, Fonds de recherche du Québec – Santé
  • Research Scholar from the John-R.-Evans Leaders Fund, Canada Foundation for Innovation

Other affiliations 

  • Member, Society for Neuroscience
  • Member, International Society for Neurochemistry
  • Member, Canadian Association for Neuroscience
  • Member, Japanese Neuroscience Society
  • Member, Japanese Society for Neurochemistry
  • Member, Japanese Ophthalmological Society

Awards and honours

  • Young Investigator Lectureship Award, International Society for Neurochemistry
  • Brain Star Award, Canadian Institutes of Health Research
  • NARSAD Young Investigator Award, Brain and Behavior Research Foundation

Degrees and relevant experience

  • MD, Gunma University School of Medicine, Japan
  • PhD in neuroscience, Gunma University School of Medicine, Japan
  • Postdoctoral fellowship, Department of Psychiatry, University of British Columbia
Hideto Takahashi
Research Unit Director
Aurélie Fallon
M.Sc. student
Husam Khaled
PhD student
Alfred Lee
PhD student
Yusuke Naito
PhD student
Nicole Rousseau
Administrative Assistant
Cristina Vasuta
Research Assistant

Projects and major discoveries

Publications

2017

  • Naito Y, Tanabe Y, Vasuta C, Lee AK, Soumounou Y, Linhoff MW, Takahashi H. Inhibitory synapse differentiation promoted by a novel neurexin2α-interacting cell adhesion molecule IgSF21, Society for Neuroscience Meeting-2017, Washington, DC, USA, November 11-15, 2017. 
  • Naito Y, Lee AK, Tanabe Y, Hamel E and Takahashi H. Role of Neurexin in Amyloid β-induced Synapse Pathology. The 11th Annual Canadian Neuroscience Meeting, Montreal, Canada, May 28-31, 2017.
  • Takahashi H. Role of synaptic organizer Neurexin on amyloid β-induced synaptic pathology, 12th Annual Canadian Neuroscience Meeting-Parallel Symposium-7, Vancouver, Canada, May 13-16, 2018.

FRQS Research Scholars 2018-2019, Senior (2018-2022). Role: Principal Investigator
Title of project: Les complexes d'adhésion et d'organisation synaptiques : leurs rôles dans le cerveau sain et dans le cerveau malade

Alzheimer Society Research Program (ASRP) Biomedical Research Grant (2017-2019). Role: Principal Investigator
Title of project: Role of the neurexin complex in synaptic pathology in Alzheimer’s disease

CIHR Operating Grant (2014-2019). Role: Principal Investigator
Title of project: Cell-adhesion mechanisms that control GABAergic synapse development

NSERC Discovery Grant (2017-2022). Role: Principal Investigator
Title of project: Trans-synaptic coupling of phosphorylation signalling for central synapse development 

Alzheimer Society Research Program (ASRP) Biomedical Research Grant (2014-2017). Role: Principal Investigator
Title of project: Role of the neurexin complex in synaptic pathology in Alzheimer’s disease

CFI Leaders Opportunity Fund - Funding for research infrastructure. Role: Principal Investigator
Summary of project: We will characterize the functions of a novel synaptogenic molecule on the development of GABAergic synapses.

FRQS Research Scholars (Junior 2) (2014-2018). Role: Principal Investigator
Title of project: Mécanismes d'adhésion cellulaire impliqués dans le développement et la plasticité des synapses du cerveau et leurs implications dans les troubles cognitifs 

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Contact information

Montreal Clinical Research Institute (IRCM)
110, des Pins Avenue West
Montréal, Québec  H2W 1R7

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Neurobiology and Development