Masakazu Taira: Postdoctoral fellow

I earned my B.S. majoring in biological information engineering at Soka University in 2016. From the 3rd year of my undergraduate study, I worked on my graduate thesis research under supervision of Prof. Hideki D. Kawai. I investigated molecular mechanisms of nicotine-induced enhancement of response to auditory stimuli in mice. Through this experience, I developed my interest in the behavioral roles of neuromodulators.

I then entered Ph.D program in Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology (OIST) Graduate University and joined Neural Computation Unit led by Prof. Kenji Doya. I investigated the role of serotonergic neurons in reward-driven adaptive behaviors. I particularly examined how serotonergic neurons regulate actions sustained under expectation of future reward (Taira et al., 2022, Frontiers in Neuroscience under review) as well as model-based decision making (Taira et al., COSYNE 2022). The PhD work leads me to get interested in further understanding neural substrates of reinforcement learning and underlying computations.

I will join the Sharpe lab at UCLA as postdoc from August 2022. In her lab, I would like to examine functions of the lateral hypothalamus and its projections in model-based control of reward-driven behaviors.

Outside of work, I enjoy dancing salsa, hanging out to find nice restaurants and cafés, and talking with my friends and family.

Twitter: @mtaira_723