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RIKEN Center for Brain Science Laboratory for Distributed Cognitive Processing

Team Leader: Lukas Schmitt (Ph.D.)

Research Summary

Lukas Schmitt (Ph.D.)

While our senses often receive ambiguous, disconnected information, our perception of the world (internal model) is stable and continuous. Our group investigates brain circuit interactions, particularly between thalamus and cortex, that create and update this internal model based on ongoing experience. A major goal of this research is understanding how internal representations enable appropriate behavior across dynamically changing conditions. To study these key functions, we employ cutting-edge electrophysiological, optogenetic and behavioral methods to reveal and control neuronal activity. Through our discoveries, we seek to help create more effective treatments for neuropsychiatric disorders and facilitate developments in biologically inspired artificial intelligence.

Main Research Fields

  • Biological Sciences

Related Research Fields

  • Engineering
  • Chemistry
  • Informatics
  • Complex Systems
  • Interdisciplinary Science & Engineering
  • Mathematical & Physical Sciences
  • Biology
  • Medicine, Dentistry & Pharmacy
  • Biological Sciences, Neuroscience, Neurophysiology
  • Complex systems, Biomedical engineering, Biomedical engineering
  • Social Sciences, Psychology, Experimental Psychology


  • Thalamocortical Dynamics
  • Working Memory
  • Optogenetics
  • Electrophysiology
  • Sensory Systems

Selected Publications

Papers with an asterisk(*) are based on research conducted outside of RIKEN.

  • 1. Nakajima M, Schmitt LI.:
    "Understanding the circuit basis of cognitive functions using mouse models"
    Neurosci Res. pii: S0168-0102(19)30670-4, (2019)
  • 2. *Nakajima M*, Schmitt LI*, Feng G, Halassa MM.:
    "Targeting of Distributed Forebrain Networks Reverses Noise Hypersensitivity in a Model of Autism Spectrum Disorder"
    Neuron, 104(3): 488-500 (2019)
  • 3. *Nakajima M, Schmitt LI, Halassa MM.:
    "Prefrontal Cortex Regulates Sensory Filtering through a Basal Ganglia-to-Thalamus Pathway"
    Neuron, 103(3): 445-458, (2019)
  • 4. *Liang L*, Oline SN*, Kirk JC, Schmitt LI, Komorowski RW, Remondes M, Halassa MM.:
    "Scalable, Lightweight, Integrated and Quick-to-Assemble (SLIQ) Hyperdrives for Functional Circuit Dissection"
    Front Neural Circuits, 11: 8, (2017)
  • 5. *Schmitt LI, Wimmer RD, Nakajima M, Happ M, Mofakham S, Halassa MM.:
    "Thalamic amplification of cortical connectivity sustains attentional control"
    Nature, 545(7653): 219-223, (2017)
  • 6. *Schmitt LI, Halassa MM.:
    "Interrogating the mouse thalamus to correct human neurodevelopmental disorders"
    Molecular Psychiatry, 22(2):183-191, (2017)
  • 7. *Wells MF*, Wimmer RD*, Schmitt LI, Feng G, Halassa MM.:
    "Thalamic reticular impairment underlies attention deficit in Ptchd1(Y/-) mice"
    Nature, 532(7597): 58-63, (2016)
  • 8. *Wimmer RD*, Schmitt LI*, Davidson TJ, Nakajima M, Deisseroth K, Halassa MM.:
    "Thalamic control of sensory selection in divided attention."
    Nature, 526(7575): 705-709, (2015)
  • 9. *Clasadonte J*, McIver SR*, Schmitt LI*, Halassa MM, Haydon PG.:
    "Chronic sleep restriction disrupts sleep homeostasis and behavioral sensitivity to alcohol by reducing the extracellular accumulation of adenosine"
    J Neurosci. 34(5): 1879-91, 2014
  • 10. *Schmitt LI, Sims RE, Dale N, Haydon PG.:
    "Wakefulness affects synaptic and network activity by increasing extracellular astrocyte-derived adenosine"
    J Neurosci, 32(13): 4417-25, (2012)

Related Links

Lab Members

Principal investigator

Lukas Schmitt
Team Leader


Position Deadline
Seeking a Postdoctoral Researcher(W24094) Open until filled

Contact Information

Center for Brain Science Central Building
2-1 Hirosawa, Wako, Saitama 351-0198, Japan
Email: Lukas.Schmitt [at] riken.jp