Graduate School of Frontier Biosciences, Osaka University


Study Abroad Program

The followings are the students' reports on overseas activities including poster sessions, oral sessions, or heated discussions at the international meetings. These precious experiences will provide great benefit for their studies, as well as minds.

*This program is supported by "Takuetsu", one of the subsidies of Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology in Japan.

Mika Baba
Mika Baba

Report of Society for Neuroscience 2013 Annual Meeting

2013.11.8 - 15

Mika Baba
( Visual Neurosciene Laboratory, Graduate School of Frontier Biosciences, Osaka University)


I attended the 2013's annual meeting of Society for Neuroscience held in San Diego, California, during November 8th to 15th. It was my first time to attend an international meeting, and also first time to go abroad. San Diego was really pleasant place. People there were all kind. Although it was slightly cold at night, climate was warm and comfortable.

At the meeting, I presented my study about the property of binocular neurons in the primary visual cortex. Binocular neurons in the primary visual cortex are known to work as a first stage of stereoscopic depth discrimination. It is well known that those neurons respond well to the small difference between the images projected on left and right retina. They are called as a 'disparity detector'. In my study, I found that multiple units of such detectors tuned to the different spatial frequencies are pooled into a single neuron, keeping encoding the same disparity. Due to such pooling, responses of neurons to the non-preferred disparity may be reduced. Many researchers came to listen to my poster, and some of them gave me useful advices. One of them pointed out that the population data I plotted in my poster seems to have nonlinear relationship. I calculated them as a ratio of some values, so I was advised to make logarithmic axial figure. Another researcher asked me whether it was reasonable to consider the ideal detector, or a neuron in the primary visual cortex just works as a filter, so we discussed about it. Moreover, other researcher from the computational field said to me that he wants to refer to my physiological study for his own work about stereoscopic vision. And even after I came back to Japan, some researcher sent E-mail to me. He asked some question and also gave me suggestion about my data analysis.

At the meeting, I learned about several new topics in the neuroscience field. Especially, research using optogenetics technique was the hottest one. Optogenetics is a biological research tool that uses a combination of techniques from optics and genetics to control the activities of individual neurons. One of the posters introduced the research about glia cells by using this optogenetics method, and I was surprised to hear that glia cells have strong influences on the death of neurons causing excessive firing of them. Although my study field is far from glia cell research, it was impressive. In my research field, I listened to some oral presentations about the latest knowledge on higher visual cortical areas. Several researches showed achievement to visualize complex shaped filters to detect higher features from image. I was surprised to see that such filters were actually obtained from neural responses. I also listened to several posters about the primary visual cortex, psychological experiment about retinal photoreceptors, and some of them were good reference.

Other than scientific things, I experienced many events in San Diego. Every day, I got to know new people in a broad range of neuroscience field, and some of them took me to the dinner. They taught me many things, gave me interesting talks, so I could spend really good time. I was gratitude to those acquaintances. As a whole, I could spend great time in San Diego. Finally, I really want to thank to this 'Takuetsu' support program, which gave me great opportunity.