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Project Assistant Professor

Contact information
Email: nhitora(at)
Mailing address: Graduate School of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Kumamoto University, 5-1 Oehonmachi, Chuo-ku, Kumamoto 862-0973, JAPAN
Phone: +81-96-371-4738

Research interests
– Neural mechanisms of learning and memory
– Appetitive and aversive information coding in the brain

Research theme
“Neural mechanisms of appropriate behavioral selection in a conflict environment”
We are all facing the question of “to do or not to do” in our daily lives. An appropriate behavioral choice is important for survival, and its disruption can cause mental disorders such as depression, anxiety disorders, addiction, and ADHD. Using in vivo, free-moving neuronal manipulation (optogenetics, DREADD, pharmacology…) and observation (calcium imaging, fiber photometry…), we are investigating the neuronal mechanisms underlying an appropriate behavioral choice.

何をすべきか、何をすべきでないか。これは私たちが日々向き合っている問題です。生物にとって、周りの環境や自分の状況に応じた適切な行動を選択することは、生存に直結する重要な能力です。こうした脳機能の破綻は、うつ病や不安障害をはじめとする精神疾患の病態に深く関わっています。私たちは、環境が変化した時やリスクと隣り合わせの状況における行動を決定する神経メカニズムを解明したいと考えています。オプトジェネティクスやカルシウムイメージング法など最先端の手法を駆使して、in vivo、free-moving で神経活動を観察・操作することにより、神経活動と行動表出の因果関係を解明します。


  • Li H, Namburi P, Olson J, Borio M, Lemieux M, Beyeler A, Calhoon G, Hitora-Imamura N, Coley A, Libster A, Bal A, Jin X, Wang H, Jia C, Choudhury S, Shi X, Felix-Ortiz A, Fuente V, Barth V, King H, Izadmehr E, Revanna J, Batra K, Fischer K, Keyes L, Padilla-Coreano N, Siciliano C, McCullough K, Wichmann R, Ressler K, Fiete I, Zhang F, Li Y, Tye K. Neurotensin orchestrates valence assignment in the amygdala. Nature 2022, 608: 586–592.
  • Sadahiro Y, Hitora Y, Kimura I, Hitora-Imamura N, Onodera R, Motoyama K, Tsukamoto S. Colletofragarone A2 Inhibits Cancer Cell Growth In Vivo and Leads to the Degradation and Aggregation of Mutant p53. Chem Res Toxicol. 2022, 35:1598-1603.
  • Kanai M, Kamiizawa R, Hitora-Imamura N, Minami M. Exposure to hot and cold environments activates neurons projecting from the paraventricular thalamic nucleus to brain regions related to approach and avoidance behaviors. J Therm Biol. 2022, 103:103157.
  • Suzuki H, Otsuka T, Hitora-Imamura N, Ikeda H, Fukuda H, Shuto S, Deyama S, Minami M. Resolvin E1 attenuates chronic pain-induced depression-like behavior in mice: Possible involvement of chemerin receptor ChemR23. Biol. Pharm. Bull. 2021, 44(10):1548-1550..
  • Suzuki H, Hitora-Imamura N, Deyama S, Minami M. Resolvin D2 attenuates chronic pain–induced depression-like behavior in mice. Neuropsychopharmacol Rep. 2021, 41(3):426-429.
  • Nomura H, Mizuta H, Norimoto H, Masuda F, Miura Y, Kubo A, Kojima H, Ashizuka A, Matsukawa N, Baraki Z, Hitora-Imamura N, Nakayama D, Ishikawa T, Okada M, Orita K, Saito R, Yamauchi N, Sano Y, Kusuhara H, Minami M, Takahashi H, Ikegaya Y. Central Histamine Boosts Perirhinal Cortex Activity and Restores Forgotten Object Memories. Biol Psychiatry. 2019, 86(3):230-239.
  • Okamoto K, Hitora-Imamura N, Hioki H, Ikegaya Y. GABAergic malfunction in the anterior cingulate cortex underlying maternal immune activation-induced social deficits. J Neuroimmunol. 2018, 321: 92-96.
  • 野村洋、人羅(今村)菜津子、不安障害に関わる神経回路、分子精神医学、2018, 18(2):88-93. ISBN: 978-4-86550-330-2
  • Deyama S, Shimoda K, Suzuki H, Ishikawa Y, Ishimura K, Fukuda H, Hitora-Imamura N, Ide S, Satoh M, Kaneda K, Shuto S, Minami M. Resolvin E1/E2 ameliorate lipopolysaccharide-induced depression-like behaviors via ChemR23. Psychopharmacology. 2018, 235(1):329-336.
  • Poirier GL, Hitora-Imamura N, Sandi C. Emergence in extinction of enhanced and persistent responding to ambiguous aversive cues is associated with high MAOA activity in the prelimbic cortex. Neurobiol Stress. 2016, 31;5:1-7.
  • Hitora-Imamura N, Miura Y, Teshirogi C, Ikegaya Y, Matsuki N, Nomura H. Prefrontal dopamine regulates fear reinstatement through the downregulation of extinction circuits. eLife 2015; 4.
  • Nomura H, Hara K, Abe R, Hitora-Imamura N, Nakayama R, Sasaki T, Matsuki N, Ikegaya Y. Memory formation and retrieval of neuronal silencing in the auditory cortex. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U. S. A.2015; 112:9740-9744.
  • Nonaka A, Toyoda T, Miura Y, Hitora-Imamura N, Naka M, Eguchi M, Yamaguchi S, Ikegaya Y, Matsuki N, Nomura H. Synaptic plasticity associated with a memory engram in the basolateral amygdala. J Neurosci. 2014; 34:9305-9309.
  • Poirier GL, Imamura N, Zanoletti O, Sandi C. Social deficits induced by peripubertal stress in rats are reversed by resveratrol. J Psychiatr Res. 2014; 57:157-164.
  • Shen H, Igarashi H, Imamura N, Matsuki N, Nomura H. N-methyl-D-aspartate receptors and protein synthesis are necessary for reinstatement of conditioned fear. Neuro Report 2013; 24:763-767.
  • Nomura H, Nonaka A, Imamura N, Hashikawa K, Matsuki N. Memory coding in plastic neuronal subpopulations within the amygdala. Neuroimage 2012; 60:153-161.
  • Imamura N, Nonaka A, Yamamoto H, Matsuki N, Nomura H. Experience-dependent Homer1a expression in excitatory and inhibitory neurons. Neuro Report 2011; 22:353-357.

2021.7 – Current: Project Assistant Professor, Graduate School of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Kumamoto University
2015.5 – 2021.6:  Assistant professor, Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Hokkaido University
2016.9 – 2017.3: Research scholar, The Picower Institute for Learning and Memory, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (USA)
2015.4: Project Researcher, Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences, The University of Tokyo
2012.4 – 2015.3: JSPS Research Fellow (DC1), Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences, The University of Tokyo