Kenji Mizuseki, M.D., Ph.D.

Senior Scientist

Kenji Mizuseki joined the Allen Institute in 2012 to study the mechanism of information processing in the visual system using large-scale electrophysiological recording. Before joining the Allen Institute, Mizuseki served as a staff scientist at RIKEN and a postdoc at Kyoto University, where he studied the mechanism of neural development using mouse embryonic stem cells. As a postdoc and an assistant research professor at Rutgers University and as an assistant research professor at New York University, Mizuseki studied the mechanism of memory in the hippocampus-entorhinal cortex circuitry using large-scale recording in behaving rats in the lab of Professor György Buzsáki. Mizuseki's current interest is to quantitatively characterize and mechanistically explain the phenomenon of information processing in terms of the dynamics of neuronal circuits in both awake and sleeping animals. Mizuseki received a M.D. and a Ph.D. in physiology from Kyoto University in Japan, where he studied the molecular mechanism of early neural development in the frog.



  • Electrophysiology
  • Behavior
  • Quantitative neuroscience
  • Molecular neurobiology

Research Programs

  • Neural coding

Research Interests

Coordinated patterns of neural activity spanning a vast range of spatial and temporal scales underlie information processing in the brain. How are these patterns of activity generated from the intrinsic cellular properties, synaptic interactions, neuromodulatory systems and network dynamics? How do these patterns implement the computational operations in the brain? How are the internally-generated and self-organized (a.k.a. spontaneous) activity patterns perturbed by the external world (a.k.a. stimulus), the results of which causes perception and recognition? My goal is to understand how the brain processes, transfers, stores and retrieves information and guide behaviors at the mechanistic level, with focus on network dynamics in neuronal circuits.

In pursuit of my interest, my research at the Allen Institute targets the thalamocortical circuitry. In the visual thalamocortical system, anatomical connectivity and in vitro physiological properties of single neurons are relatively well known, and correspondences between "stimuli" and "responses" or "representations" have been intensively studied at single cell level in each anatomical stage. However, how the thalamus and cortex cooperate to process and store information and guide natural behaviors, such as navigation, is not well known. Possible mechanisms serving this process include spike timing and synchrony, precisely structured sequences of activity, and the grouping of neuronal assemblies by network oscillations. These possibilities are testable only if we can simultaneously monitor activities of many neurons in multiple regions in the intact brain at the relevant time resolutions. To achieve this goal, I employ large-scale recording of neuronal ensembles from various regions in the visual system and subsequent quantitative analyses. Further, I combine electrophysiology and optogenetics to understand distinct roles of neuromodulatory systems in network dynamics and pathway- and cell-type-specific roles in information processing.