Dr. Hiromu Monai, CV
Assistant Professor, Laboratory for Neurophysiology and Biophysics

Ochanomizu University
Faculty of Science 1-634
2-1-1 Ohtsuka, Bunkyo-Ku
Tokyo 112-8610, Japan

Tel: +81-(0)3-5978-5303
Email: monai.hiromu@ocha.ac.jp

Research Overview

Meta-communication in the brain

Main Research Field

I study the neurophysiology and biophysics of the brain. Neurophysiology is the part of biology where people study the architecture of the millions of neurons in the brain. Besides neurons, our brain also contains blood vessels, glial cells,
gliotransmission, neuromodulator, cerebrospinal fluid, ion concentrations, electric fields, extracellular spaces, and some lipids! A lot of research has been investigating how neurons talk to each other through synapses, but all the other components also have to function and communicate with each other. I think in the healthy brain, all the other cells and molecules are engaged in very sophisticated and dynamic communications. This is what I call “meta-communication in the brain. And I believe these factors enable us to acquire complex cognitive functions and intelligence. I’m trying to reveal its unknown mechanisms.


  • Brain
  • Neuron-glia interaction
  • Astrocytes
  • in vivo imaging
  • Brain stimulation
  • Intelligence

Selected Publications

  1. Y. Ue*, H. Monai*, K. Higuchi, D. Nishiwaki, T. Tajima, K. Okazaki, H. Hama, H. Hirase, A. Miyawaki, A spherical aberration-free microscopy system for live brain imaging., Biochem Biophys Res Commun, Volume 500, Issue 2, 2 June 2018, Pages 236-241,DOI: 10.1016/j.bbrc.2018.04.049 *These authors contributed equally to this work.
  2. H. Monai, H. Hirase, Astrocytes as a target of transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) to treat depression, Neuroscience Research, Volume 126, January 2018, Pages 15-21, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.neures.2017.08.012
  3. N. Nakai, M. Nagano, F. Saitow, Y. Watanabe, Y. Kawamura, A. Kawamoto, K. Tamada, H. Mizuma, H. Onoe, Y. Watanabe, H. Monai, H. Hirase, J. Nakatani, H. Inagaki, T. Kawada, T. Miyazaki, M. Watanabe, Y. Sato, S. Okabe, K. Kitamura, M. Kano, K. Hashimoto, H. Suzuki and T. Takumi, Serotonin rebalances cortical tuning and behavior linked to autism symptoms in 15q11-13 CNV mice, 2017 Jun 21, Science Advances, Vol. 3, no. 6, e1603001, DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.1603001
  4. H. Monai, H. Hirase, Astrocytic calcium activation in a mouse model of tDCS – extended discussion, 2016 Sep 30, Neurogenesis, 3:1, e1240055, DOI: 10.1080/23262133.2016.1240055
  5. H. Monai, M. Ohkura, M. Tanaka, Y. Oe, A. Konno, H. Hirai, K. Mikoshiba, S. Itohara, J. Nakai, Y. Iwai, and H. Hirase, Calcium imaging reveals glial involvement in transcranial direct current stimulation-induced plasticity in mouse brain., Nat. Commun. 7:11100 2016 Mar 22. PubMedID: 27000523, DOI: 10.1038/ncomms11100
  6. H. Monai, M. Inoue, H. Miyakawa, and T. Aonishi, Low-frequency dielectric dispersion of brain tissue due to electrically long neurites. Phys Rev E Stat Nonlin Soft Matter Phys. 2012 Dec 26; 86(6-1) 061911. PubMed ID: 23367980, DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevE.86.061911
  7. H. Monai, T. Omori, M. Okada, M. Inoue, H. Miyakawa, and T. Aonishi, An analytic solution of the cable equation predicts frequency preference of a passive shunt-end cylindrical cable in response to extracellular oscillating electric fields. Biophys J. 2010 Feb 17; 98 (4): 524-533. PubMed ID: 20159148, DOI: 10.1016/j.bpj.2009.10.041

News & Media

Calcium waves in the brain alleviate depressive behavior in mice
Mar. 22, 2016(Press Release)

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NEW VIDEO #linkinbio A lot of research has looked at how neurons talk to each other through synapses, but all the other parts of the brain also have to function and communicate with each other. In the healthy brain, I think all the other cells and molecules are engaged in very sophisticated and dynamic communications. I call this meta-communication in the brain. For more on my research and meta-communication in the brain, watch the new video from CBS called Brain Blast! Science Snacks from Japan: https://youtu.be/84qnFy-63hU Hiromu Monai, Visiting Scientist, Laboratory for Neuron-Glia Circuitry, RIKEN CBS and Assistant professor, Ochanomizu University これまでの研究の大多数はニューロン同士のシナプスを介したコミュニケーションのしくみについてが主流でした。しかし、これだけあるニューロン以外の要素たちもそれぞれに意味があり、互いにやり取りをしていないわけがない、と考えています。 健康な状態の脳では、ニューロン以外の細胞や分子がとてもダイナミックにかつ緻密で洗練された方法でコミュニケーションを行っていると仮定し、その機構を「脳の中のメタコミュニケーション」と名付けました。 最新ビデオシリーズ Brain Blast! – Science snacks from Japan でもっと詳しくメタコミュニケーションをチェック! https://youtu.be/zPDvu4Xlzp8 毛内拡 RIKEN CBS 神経グリア回路研究チーム 客員研究員 御茶ノ水女子大学 助教 photo by T. Nishiyama, video animations by @skeppuccino #理研 #脳科学 #グリア細胞 #研究者 #research #brain #neuroscience #japan #brainblast #riken #rikencbs #science

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