Sakurai, Takeshi

(April 1, 2016 ~ March 31, 2020)


Born in Aichi prefecture (1963). Sapporo Minami High school, Nagoya University School of Medicine, obtained MD (1988). Internal medicine residency at St. Luke’s International Hospital in Tokyo (1988-89), Nagoya University Graduate School of Medicine, obtained PhD (1993). Research Assistant Professor of Keck Center for Collaborative Neuroscience at Rutgers University in New Jersey (2000-01). Assistant Professor of Departments of Psychiatry, Pharmacology, Neuroscience, and Neurology at Mount Sinai School of Medicine (2001-11). Associate Professor of Medical Innovation Center at Kyoto University Graduate School of Medicine (2011-16). Professor of Department of Drug Discovery Medicine, Medical Innovation Center at Kyoto University Graduate School of Medicine (2016-), Adjunct faculty of Department of Pathology and Cell Biology at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons (2015-).


I studied biochemistry and molecular biology of mammalian DNA replication as my graduate work. After completion of my PhD work in1993, I went to the US and have begun research on molecular mechanisms of brain wiring using molecular biology, cell biology and mouse genetics at Department of Pharmacology of NYU Medical Center. After brief stint at Keck Center for Collaborative Neuroscience at Rutgers, I moved to Mount Sinai School of Medicine and have shifted the research focus to more translational aspects of brain wiring, i.e., molecular mechanisms of developmental neuropsychiatric disorders, namely autism and schizophrenia, which are caused by disruption of brain wiring processes during development and maturation. Through large collaborative studies of human genetic analyses of autism and schizophrenia, I have chosen several genes that might be strongly associated with these disorders and characterized mouse models that have genetic alterations of those genes from the context of disease relevance in humans. After 18 years of stay in the US, I came back to Japan in 2011 to join a collaborative project between Takeda Pharmaceutical Corporation and Kyoto University Graduate School of Medicine, the Open innovation attempt called Basic and Clinical Research Project for CNS Drugs as PI, and have been working on characterizing pathophysiology of schizophrenia relevant to new therapeutic target discovery efforts.
Current ongoing projects are 1. molecular processes of development of prefrontal cortex whose functions are crucial for cognitive functions and their alterations caused by genetic and environmental factors that affect behavioral outcomes in animals, and 2. molecular mechanisms and circuitry important for social behavior (especially focusing on prefrontal cortex).
I have also extensive experience in medical education at both Kyoto University and Columbia College of Physicians and Surgeons.

Sakurai, Takeshi

  1. Takeshi Sakurai, Nathan P. Dorr, Nagahide Takahashi, L. Alison McInnes, Gregory A. Elder, and Joseph Buxbaum.
    Haploinsufficiency of Gtf2i, a gene deleted in Williams syndrome, leads to increase in social interactions.
    Autism Research, 4, 28-39, 2011
  2. Takaaki Kuwajima, Yutaka Yoshida, Noriko Takegahara, Timothy J. Petros, Atsushi Kumanogoh, Thomas M. Jessell, Takeshi Sakurai, and Carol A. Mason.
    Optic chiasm presentation of Semaphorin6D in context with Plexin-A1 and Nr-CAM promotes retinal axon crossing.
    Neuron, 74, 676-690, 2012
  3. Shuhei Ueda, Minae Niwa, Hiroyuki Hioki, Jaerin Sohn, Takeshi Kaneko, Akira Sawa, and Takeshi Sakurai.
    Sequence of molecular events during maturation of developing mouse prefrontal cortex.
    Molecular Neuropsychiatry, 1, 94-104, 2015
  4. Takeshi Sakurai, Nao J. Gamo, Takatoshi Hikida, Sun-Hong Kim, Toshiya Murai, Toshifumi Tomoda, and Akira Sawa.
    Converging models of schizophrenia – Network alterations of prefrontal cortex underlying cognitive impairments –
    Progress in Neurobiology, 134, 178-201, 2015


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