The

Hige Lab

From synaptic plasticity to behavior

UNC-Chapel Hill

Research

 

How do animals make appropriate action selections based on their past experience and the current situation?

We use the small, simple brains of fruit flies to draw out general circuit principles that underlie this process. We combine multiple physiological techniques to study synapses, circuits and behavior.

Our mission

Animals show different behavioral responses to the same sensory input depending on their past experience or current context.  How does the brain enable such flexibility?  Our goal is to understand the mechanisms of this process at the levels of synaptic plasticity, neural circuit and behavior.  Our lab uses the fruit fly, Drosophila melanogaster, as a model organism.  We employ multiple physiological techniques including in vivo whole-cell patch-clamp recording, two-photon calcium imaging and behavior assays.  Previously, we demonstrated the long-term synaptic plasticity that underlies associative olfactory learning in this system (Hige et al., 2015, Neuron).  We ask how these synaptic changes are integrated by the circuit and ultimately alter the animal’s action selection.  We also address molecular basis of synaptic plasticity by using genetic tools.

Why flies?

The Drosophila’s brain consists of 100,000 neurons, 1000 times less than the mouse’s.  Nonetheless, some of the important circuit motifs are conserved between these animals both in sensory circuits and higher-order brain areas.  With this small brain, flies indeed exhibit a range of sophisticated adaptive behaviors.  Furthermore, genetic tools that label a specific cell type of neurons are becoming available in nearly every brain area.  This allows us to record from a particular neuron reproducibly in different animals as well as to manipulate the activity of as small as a single pair of neurons in behaving animals.  Finally, the whole-brain connectome data is becoming available.  Overall, the compact architecture of the brain together with the enormous community effort in the field collectively makes Drosophila an extremely attractive model system for systems neuroscience.  We believe that our goal of linking synaptic plasticity to behavior by understanding circuit logic at each relay would be a finite, rather than infinite, endeavor in this system.

People

Toshihide Hige, Ph.D

Principal Investigator

Toshi received his Ph.D. from Kyoto University in Japan, where he studied synaptic physiology using rat brain slices. He switched to the Drosophila system when he started his postdoc in Glenn Turner's lab at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (and later at Janelia Research Campus). While in the lab, Toshi enjoys one-to-one conversations with a neuron through a glass pipette. When outside the lab, he is constantly looking for an opportunity to eat good food.

Daichi Yamada, Ph.D

Postdoctoral Fellow

Daichi studied auditory circuits in the fly brain at Nagoya University in Japan, before joining the Hige lab. His Ph.D. thesis was on the neuronal processing of the courtship songs. Now he is eager to learn new physiological techniques and tackle questions in learning and memory. Daichi graduated from the same high school as 'Godzilla' Matsui, MVP of the World Series 2009, and he is also a good baseball player.

Carlotta Martelli, Ph.D

Visiting Scientist

Postdoctoral fellow or Ph.D. student

We are looking for enthusiastic people to join our lab! Please see the detail here.

 

People

Toshihide Hige, Ph.D

Principal Investigator

Toshi received his Ph.D. from Kyoto University in Japan, where he studied synaptic physiology using rat brain slices. He switched to the Drosophila system when he started his postdoc in Glenn Turner's lab at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (and later at Janelia Research Campus). While in the lab, Toshi enjoys one-to-one conversations with a neuron through a glass pipette. When outside the lab, he is constantly looking for an opportunity to eat good food.

Drew Davidson, Ph.D

Postdoctoral Fellow

Drew earned his PhD at Tulane University in New Orleans, LA, where he used in vivo imaging to study the effects of aging on structural plasticity in the rodent motor cortex. He joined the Hige lab to use similar imaging techniques to explore basic questions in neuroscience. He is particularly interested in the subcellular processing of sensory input. Outside of the lab, Drew enjoys playing and watching basketball with his wife and trail running with his dog.

Daichi Yamada, Ph.D

Postdoctoral Fellow

Daichi studied auditory circuits in the fly brain at Nagoya University in Japan, before joining the Hige lab. His Ph.D. thesis was on the neuronal processing of the courtship songs. Now he is eager to learn new physiological techniques and tackle questions in learning and memory. Daichi graduated from the same high school as 'Godzilla' Matsui, MVP of the World Series 2009, and he is also a good baseball player.

Postdoctoral fellow or Ph.D. student

We are looking for enthusiastic people to join our lab! Please see the detail here.

Samantha Chery

Former Rotation Student

Carlotta Martelli, Ph.D

Former Visiting Scientist

Carlotta is currently a Research Fellow at University of Konstanz in Germany. Since her postdoc in Thierry Emonet's lab at Yale, she has been working on early processing of olfactory information in Drosophila. Supported by Zukunftskolleg Mentorship Program, she visits our lab to learn in vivo electrophysiology and to seek for possible collaborations.

Publications

A connectome of a learning and memory center in the adult Drosophila brain.

Takemura, S-Y., Aso, Y., Hige, T., Wong, A., Lu, Z., Xu, C.S., Rivlin, P.K., Hess, H.F., Zhao, T., Parag, T., Berg, S., Huang, G., Katz, W., Olbris, D.J., Plaza, S., Umayam, L., Aniceto, R., Chang, L-A., Lauchie, S., Ogundeyi, O., Ordish, C., Shinomiya, A., Sigmund, C., Takemura, S., Tran, J., Turner, G.C., Rubin, G.M. and Scheffer, L.K.

Elife e26975. (2017)

What can tiny mushrooms in fruit flies tell us about learning and memory?

Hige, T.

Neurosci. Res., (2017)

 

Direct neural pathways convey distinct visual information to Drosophila mushroom bodies.

Vogt, K., Aso, Y., Hige, T., Knapek, S., Ichinose, T., Friedrich A.B., Turner, G.C., Rubin, G.M., and Tanimoto H.

Elife e14009. (2016)

Heterosynaptic plasticity underlies aversive olfactory learning in Drosophila.

Hige, T., Aso, Y., Modi, M.N., Rubin, G.M., and Turner, G.C.

Neuron 88, 985-998. (2015)

Plasticity-driven individualization of olfactory coding in mushroom body output neurons.

Hige, T., Aso, Y., Rubin, G.M., and Turner, G.C.

Nature 526, 258-262. (2015)

Learning: The good, the bad, and the fly.

Hige, T., and Turner, G.C.

Neuron 86, 343-345. (2015)

 

Evidence for lateral mobility of voltage sensors in prokaryotic voltage-gated sodium channels. 

Nagura, H., Irie, K., Imai, T., Shimomura, T., Hige, T., and Fujiyoshi, Y.

Biochem. Biophys. Res. Commun. 399, 341-346. (2010)

Neurosteroid pregnenolone sulfate enhances glutamatergic synaptic transmission by facilitating presynaptic calcium currents at the calyx of Held of immature rats.

Hige, T., Fujiyoshi, Y., and Takahashi, T.

Eur. J. Neurosci. 24, 1955-1966. (2006)

Vesicle endocytosis requires dynamin-dependent GTP hydrolysis at a fast CNS synapse.

Yamashita, T., Hige, T., and Takahashi, T.

Science 307, 124-127. (2005)

 

Contact

Department of Biology

Department of Cell Biology and Physiology

IBGS (Integrative Program for Biological & Genome Sciences)

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

250 Bell Tower Drive,

Room# 3157 Genome Sciences Building,

Chapel Hill, NC 27599

+1-919-962-4736