The ultimate goal of our research is to understand the molecular mechanisms of mental disorders, such as schizophrenia and other associated neuropsychiatric conditions, which may eventually lead to new therapeutic strategies. Recently, there has been significant progress in determining the mechanisms whereby many genetic risk factors impact brain development. Nonetheless, given that the majority of psychiatric disorders have etiological complexities encompassing multiple risk genes and environmental factors, the biological mechanisms of these diseases remain poorly understood.
By employing a multidisciplinary approach, such as genetics, biochemistry, molecular biology, and conditional gene targeting, including in utero electroporation, my laboratory is able to advance understanding of disease mechanisms. We examine how genetic risk factors during brain development may influence neuronal circuit maturation and resultant behaviors. We also investigate how environmental factors and genetic risk factors interact to affect brain development and function.
Kamiya, A., Kubo, K., Tomoda, T., Takaki, M., Youn, R., Ozeki, Y., Sawamura, N., Park, U., Kudo, O., Okawa, M., Ross, C.A., Hatten, M.E., Nakajima, K., Sawa, A.: A schizophrenia-associated mutation of DISC1 perturbs cerebral cortex development. Nature Cell Biol., 7; 1167-1178 (2005) (highlighted as “ 10 major breakthroughs in 2005 in Science 310: 1880-1885 2005”)
Kamiya, A., an, P.L., Kubo, K., Engelhard, C., Ishizuka, K., Kubo, A., Tsukita, S., Pulver, A. E., Nakajima, K., Cascella, N. G., Katsanis, N., Sawa, A.: PCM1 is recruited to the centrosome by the cooperative action of DISC1 and BBS4 and is a candidate for psychiatric illness. Arch. Gen. Psychiatry 65; 996-1006 (2008)
Niwa, M.*, Kamiya, A*., Murai, R., Kubo, K., Gruber, A., Lu, L., Seshadri, S., Hiyama, H., Jaaro-Peled, H., Noda, Y., Cascella, N., O’donnell, P., Nakajima, K., Sawa, A., Nabeshima, T.: Transient knockdown of DISC1 in the developing cerebral cortex leads to dopaminergic disturbance and schizophrenia deficits in young adult mice. *These authors contributed equally to this work. Neuron 65; 480-489 (2010)
Zoubovsky, SP, Pogorelov, VM, Taniguchi, Y, Kim, S, Yoon, P, Nwulia, E, Sawa, A, Pletnikov, MV, Kamiya, A.: Working memory deficits in neuronal nitric oxide synthase knockout mice: potential impairments in prefrontal cortex mediated cognitive function. Biochem Biophys Res Commun 408; 707-712 (2011).
Taniguchi, Y, Young-Pearse, T, Sawa, A, Kamiya, A.: In utero electroporation as a tool for genetic manipulation in vivo in order to study psychiatric disorders: from genes to circuits and behaviors. Neuroscientist 18;169-79 (2012).
Saito, A., Ballinger, M., Pletnikov, MV., Wong, DF., Kamiya, A.: Endocannabinoid system: potential novel targets for treatment of schizophrenia. Neurobiology of Disease 53; 10-17 (2013)