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Neurotransmitters: Microscopic substances at the synapse control the balance between mind and body - A Dialog between Prof. Sumiko Mochida and Dr. Noboru Kobayashi

Our mind and body are kept in working order thanks to intricate nerve networks originating in the brain which transmit electrical information throughout our bodies, similar to a high-precision computer. However, unlike a computer, these electrical signals are controlled and shaped by a diverse panoply of chemical substances secreted by specialized units of neurons called synapses. Working together, the electrical and chemical messages produced at synapses control the balance between our mind and body. Our guest in this issue, Dr. Sumiko Mochida, Professor of Physiology at Tokyo Medical University, is a leading researcher on the biology of electrical and chemical messengers at brain synapses.

Table of Contents
1 Mechanism of neurotransmission is the key to understanding human behavior
2 Inactive synapses become silent synapses
3 The balance of excitation and inhibition is a pleasant stimulation that nature offers
4 Neurotransmitters are common to all creatures on earth

Sumiko MOCHIDA, Ph.D.
Professor of Physiology, Tokyo Medical University.
Dr. Mochida was born in Nagano Prefecture. She earned her Bachelor's degree from the School of Pharmaceutical Science Kitasato University and her doctorate from Tokyo Medical College, followed by a postdoctoral work at the University of California, San Francisco. She was a Senior Research Fellow at the National Research Center for Science, Gif-sur-Yvette, France, prior to her current appointment. Professor Mochida received the 19th annual Saruhashi Prize in 1999, awarded to the most distinguished female scientist of year, for her groundbreaking work demonstrating that multiple proteins at the presynaptic nerve terminal function as biological sensors and switches for triggering the release of chemical neurotransmitters.

Noboru KOBAYASHI, M.D.
Born in Tokyo in 1927. Doctor of Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, The University of Tokyo Pediatrician
Director, Child Research Net (CRN)
Director, Children's Rainbow Center (Japan Information and Training Center for Problems related to Child Abuse and Adolescent's Turmoil)
Professor Emeritus, The University of Tokyo
President Emeritus, National Children's Hospital
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Sumiko MOCHIDA, Ph.D.
Professor of Physiology, Tokyo Medical University.
Dr. Mochida was born in Nagano Prefecture. She earned her Bachelor's degree from the School of Pharmaceutical Science Kitasato University and her doctorate from Tokyo Medical College, followed by a postdoctoral work at the University of California, San Francisco. She was a Senior Research Fellow at the National Research Center for Science, Gif-sur-Yvette, France, prior to her current appointment. Professor Mochida received the 19th annual Saruhashi Prize in 1999, awarded to the most distinguished female scientist of year, for her groundbreaking work demonstrating that multiple proteins at the presynaptic nerve terminal function as biological sensors and switches for triggering the release of chemical neurotransmitters.

Noboru KOBAYASHI, M.D.
Born in Tokyo in 1927. Doctor of Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, The University of Tokyo Pediatrician
Director, Child Research Net (CRN)
Director, Children's Rainbow Center (Japan Information and Training Center for Problems related to Child Abuse and Adolescent's Turmoil)
Professor Emeritus, The University of Tokyo
President Emeritus, National Children's Hospital
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