Division of Bioengineering and Bioinformatics Graduate School of Information Science and Technology, Hokkaido University | Bioengineering and Bioinformatics Course Department of Electronics and Information Engineering School of Engineering, Hokkaido University


Functional Neuroimaging

Introduction of laboratory

YouTube Preview Image

Laboratory outline

To the laboratory website

The development of biological photon microscopes enabling to observe subtle changes inside the brains of small animals at a higher resolution.

Using lasers and non-linear optical technologies, we develop bioimaging technologies to observe and measure biogenic phenomena that occur deep inside the body. New bioimaging, which employs non-linear optical and multiphoton excitation processes, makes it possible to capture the movement of cells and molecules in the brain and other tissues in the living state. We also develop and apply new nanoimaging (super-resolution imaging) methods that exceed the optical diffraction limit.

We use these cutting-edge imaging technologies to understand the operating principle of brain and body functions, to clarify the functions of various biological tissues, including cancer, osteoporosis and diabetes, and to apply them in a clinical setting.

Introduction of research content

Development of an advanced laser microscope and its application to brain science and physiology

We have developed in vivo two-photon microscopy that makes it possible to observe the morphology and activity of microcells deep inside living organisms. We are now working on imaging in the depth of living organisms by an in vivo multiphoton microscopy, and the potential of light to manipulate and stimulate cells and molecules deep inside organisms to clarify the structure and functional formation of the brain. With a view to expansion to clinical and medical care fields, we apply our technologies not only to the brain and the central nervous system but also to various living tissues and organs. Through imaging, we aim to clarify the molecular mechanism of cancer incidence/metastasis and abnormal bone metabolism.

3D reconstruction of EYFP-expressing neurons in the brain cortex of an anesthetized mouse

3D reconstruction of EYFP-expressing neurons and blood vessels in the brain cortex of an anesthetized mouse

Research on the function of the brain and neural circuits

In addition to multiphoton microscopic imaging, we use the patch-clamp technique and other electrophysiology methods to unravel the mystery of asymmetric localization of brain function despite its symmetry in form.

Electrophysiology technique-based functional analysis of neural circuit synapses in mice

Bilateral differences in the hippocampal neural circuit of mice

Nanoimaging using vector beams, a new type of laser beam

Using vector beams, we explore methodology to achieve nanoimaging that exceeds the classical diffraction limit of light. With the aid of computer image processing, rare earth-based nanoparticle materials are also used to develop new human body-friendly optical microscopes. With new technologies, we aim to observe microstructures and the molecular dynamic state in living cells, which have been impossible to visualize before, with space resolution close to the level of electronic microscopes, thereby clarifying the structure and function of cells and biomolecules.

Research on the molecular mechanism and pathology of neurotransmission and secretory ability of endocrine/exocrine glands

When material is released from cells, the mechanism of exocytosis including the fusion of secretion vesicles and cell membrane is employed. This molecular mechanism is the same as that of the release of chemical messengers during neurotransmission, as well as various hormones, digestive enzymes, and secretions that dissolve osteoclastic bone. The mechanism of biomolecular machinery responsible for this membrane fusion and the developmental mechanism of diseases caused by failure of secretory functions, such as diabetes and osteoporosis, are clarified.

Top of Page

Examples of research equipment


Cell culture room




Knowledge and technologies that will be useful in the future

Basic technologies for bio-related research and development

  • Cell culture technology
  • Imaging technology using multiphoton and confocal microscopes
  • Technology for in vivo experiments on mice

Technologies and knowledge necessary for research and development of optical technology

Laser, new light source development, optical element development, vector beam

Data analysis/device control technology

  • NIS, IMARIS, Volocity, etc. are used to control measurement devices and analyze experimental data.

People who are interested in these key words, please visit this laboratory.

Cerebrophysiologic function, imaging, optical microscope, two-photon microscope, in vivo imaging, electrophysiology, super-resolution imaging, ultrashort optical pulsed laser, vector beam, cancer, diabetes


  • Professor: Tomomi Nemoto
  • Assistant Professor: Terumasa Hibi
  • Assistant Professor: Ryosuke Kawakami
  • Specially Appointed Assistant Professor: Kochiro Iijima
  • Specially Appointed Assistant Professor: Kohei Otomo
  • Technical Assistant: Hibiki Horanai
  • Technical Assistant: Emiko Ito
  • Technical Assistant: Maki Oguro
  • Secretary: Shiho Takafuji
  • Doctoral student: Ayaka Koizumi
  • Master’s student: Kazuki Takeda
  • Master’s student: Sari Ipponjima
  • Master’s student: Kazuaki Sawada
  • Master’s student: Yuka Aoyagi
  • Undergraduate: Hisayuki Osanai
  • Undergraduate: Hirotaka Watanabe
  • Undergraduate: Risa Ito

To the laboratory website


Address: Room 305, 4F Creative Research Institute
Kita 21-jo, Nishi 10-chome, Kita-ku, Sapporo, Hokkaido, 001-0021
Tel.: 011-706-9362
Fax: 011-706-9363


Top of Page