Tonegawa, Susumu

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Tonegawa,

Susumu, 1939–, winner of 1987 Nobel Prize for work related to antibodies.
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Study author Susumu Tonegawa, Picower Professor of Biology and Neuroscience and director of the RIKEN-MIT Center for Neural Circuit Genetics, said that human studies utilizing behavioral and fMRI (functional magnetic resonance imaging) techniques have not been able to delineate the hippocampal subregions and circuits responsible for generating false memories.
Researchers at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) were looking at how faulty memories can arise and how false memories originate from the same place as a real ones: "Whether it's a false or genuine memory, the brain's neural mechanism underlying the recall of the memory is the same," says Susumu Tonegawa, senior author of the study.
But exactly how neurons in the hippocampus harbor and retrieve memories --and where they go wrong--has been difficult to understand without observing an example in animals, says Susumu Tonegawa, a neuroscientist at MIT.
"Our finding explains, at least partially, why seemingly irrelevant information like the color of the shirt of an important person is remembered as vividly as more significant information such as the person's impressive remark when you recall an episode of meeting this person," said Susumu Tonegawa at MIT's Picower Institute of Learning and Memory.
By looking at the time-specific patterns and sequences recorded from the firing cells, researchers can tell which part of the maze the animal was running at the time.In the current work, research scientist George Dragoi and Susumu Tonegawa, Picower Professor of Biology and Neuroscience and director of the RIKEN-MIT Center for Neural Circuit Genetics, found that some of the sequences of place cells in mice' brains that fired during a novel spatial experience such as running a new maze had already occurred while the animals rested before the experience."These findings explain at the neuronal circuit level the phenomenon through which prior knowledge influences our decisions when we encounter a new situation," Dragoi said.
The study in Nature, led by Susumu Tonegawa of MIT, used a genetic trick to mark memory-making nerve cells with molecules that respond to light.
In their new study, scientists George Dragoi and Susumu Tonegawa found that some of the sequences of place cells in mice' brains that fired during a novel spatial experience such as running a new maze had already occurred while the animals rested before the experience.
In 1987, immunologist Susumu Tonegawa of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology won the Nobel Prize for showing that white blood cells mix and match a handful of genes to make the interchangeable parts that form the millions of different antibodies used by the body to ward off infection.
12, a phone call from a Japanese journalist awakened Susumu Tonegawa at his Newton, Mass., home.
Sharing the $15,000 award for basic research are Leroy Hood, chairman of the Division of Biology at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena; Philip Leder, chairman of the Department of Genetics at the Harvard Medical School in Boston; and Susumu Tonegawa, professor of biology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Center for Cancer Research in Cambridge.