THE OKA LAB
The Division of Biology and Biological Engineering at Caltech
Our research group aims to understand how the brain and the body cooperate to achieve appropriate internal balance. Maintaining biological balance requires complex regulations involving central nervous systems, peripheral chemosensory systems, and gut-brain communication. We use rodents as model organisms to identify 1) what types of central and peripheral signals are involved in internal state regulation, 2) when these signals are triggered, and 3) how they contribute to behavioral outputs. Some of the current directions in our laboratory are listed below;
Balance between water and sodium
Relationship among appetite, satiation, and reward
Interestingly, sodium ingestion is regulated by an entirely different strategy. Appetite for sodium is rapidly alleviated by sodium taste on the tongue, rather than post-oral mechanisms (Lee et al., Nature 2019). Thus, our studies revealed distinct appetite and satiation mechanisms for different nutrient factors. Our current work is focused on how peripheral satiation and depletion signals are transmitted to and processed in the brain.
Balance between positive and negative valence (value)
We tackle these key questions in neuroscience using modern techniques including neural manipulation, optical recording/imaging, and tracing. We actively collaborate with engineering, chemistry, and neurobiology labs inside and outside Caltech to complement our technical expertise.
|New York Stem Cell Foundation |
|Searle Scholars Program|
|Klingenstein-Simons Fellowship |
|Edward Mallinckrodt, JR Foundation Grant|
|McKnight Scholar Award|
Institute of Technology |
of Biology and Biological Engineering|
1200 East California Blvd, Pasadena, CA 91125