Research

September 29, 2018 at 5:23 pm

Visiting Professor Yutaka Hirata Reflects on Stay at Ohio University

Group photo: During his stay in Athens, Hirata met with neuroscience students from the Honors Tutorial College.

During his stay in Athens, Hirata met with neuroscience students from the Honors Tutorial College.

By Amanda Biederman

Chubu University Professor Yutaka Hirata recently returned home after spending five weeks in Athens as part of Ohio University’s Robert Glidden Visiting Professor program. Hirata was hosted through the Biological Sciences Department.

Hirata is a professor in the Department of Robotic Science and Technology in the College of Engineering. He studies motor learning and memory in primates and fish, and his work involves the use of engineering techniques to study neural systems. Hirata established the Neural Cybernetics Laboratory in 2000.

OHIO and Chubu University have shared a close partnership since 1973, and the Yoshino cherry trees that line the Hocking River along the edge of campus were a gift from Chubu University in 1979 and in 2004.

“I enjoyed … running on the bike path along Hocking River every weekend, watching (the) beautiful landscape and the cherry trees from our university,” Hirata said.

During his stay in Athens, Hirata worked closely with members of Biological Sciences professor Scott Hooper’s lab, including graduate student Ryan Ellison and laboratory research associate Jeff Thuma. They studied the pyloric neuron in the stomatogastric ganglion of the lobster.

Hirata and Biological Science chair Robert Colvin

Hirata and Biological Science chair Robert Colvin

During his visit, Hirata worked to foster connections with OHIO researchers, and he said he hopes to maintain collaborations in the future. He met with approximately 30 faculty members from the Departments of Biological Sciences, the Russ College of Engineering and Technology, the Edison Biotechnology Institute, and the Ohio Musculoskeletal and Neurological Institute. In addition, Hirata gave formal lectures to faculty and graduate students, as well as neuroscience students in the Honors Tutorial College.

Hirata said he also enjoyed Athens’ local restaurants and bakeries. Some of his favorites included coffee from Village Bakery and Donkey Coffee, Chinese balls from Ginger Kitchen, sandwiches from Brenen’s Coffee Café, and Mystic Mama IPA from Jackie O’s.

Read more about Hirata’s visit in Compass.

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