Dr Kouichi C. Nakamura

Portrait photo of Kouichi Nakamura

Dr Kouichi C. Nakamura

Visiting Researcher

Dr. Kouichi Nakamura graduated in biological sciences at Kyoto University, Japan, in 2000. He then studied postnatal development of glutamatergic neuronal circuits under the supervision of Professor Takeshi Kaneko, and obtained his Ph.D. from the Graduate School of Medicine at Kyoto University in 2006. Dr. Nakamura then stayed in the Kaneko laboratory as a postdoctoral researcher to extend his studies on the postnatal development of the basal ganglia circuits. Dr. Nakamura joined the Magill Group as a Long-Term Fellow of the Human Frontier Science Program Organization in September 2009. After the completion of his Fellowship in September 2012, he continued his studies of the motor thalamus in the Unit as an MRC Investigator Scientist. Dr. Nakamura returned to Kyoto University in September 2013 to serve as an Assistant Professor, before rejoining the Magill Group in May 2016.

At the Unit, Dr. Nakamura used in vivo electrophysiological recording techniques, anatomical methods, and genetics-based approaches for monitoring and manipulating specified cell types to elucidate the principles governing neuronal communication within the basal ganglia and partner thalamic circuits.

Dr. Nakamura worked as a Senior Postdoctoral Neuroscientist in the Magill Group until March 2024. He continues to collaborate closely with the Group.

Key Research Areas
  • Processing of movement-related information by neurons in the thalamus, basal ganglia, cerebral cortex and cerebellum.
  • Behavioural correlates of neuronal information processing.
  • Experimental models of Parkinson's disease.
  • Develpment of CHAMBER (CHemoarchitectonic Atlas of the Mouse thalamus as a BNDU OpEn Resource) to provide publicly available anatomical reference for the delineation of brain structures, such as thalamic nuclei.
Head of Group

Parasagittal section of the rat neostriatum at postnatal day 4. The tissue was triple-labelled for tyrosine hydroxylase (TH, green), vesicular glutamate transporter 1 (VGluT1, blue), and VGluT2 (red), markers for the three major afferents to neostriatum. 'Dopamine islands', the areas of intense TH immunoreactivity, often overlap with 'glutamate islands', the areas of intense VGluT1 and VGluT2 immunoreactivities. The three major afferents thus together form 'afferent islands' in the neostriatum of rat pups. For further details, please see Nakamura et al. (2005, 2009).


Not all GPe neurons are created equal.


In situ hybridization histochemistry for VGluT1 and VGluT2 mRNAs in mouse brain on postnatal day 7


A parasagittal section (lateral ∼1.5 mm) of the rat thalamus fluorescently labeled with immunoreactivities for GAD67 (green),VGluT2 (red), and VGluT1 (blue) shows GAD67-rich basal ganglia-recipient zone and VGluT2-abundant cerebellar recipient zone of the motor thalamus. See Nakamura et al. 2014. Temporal coupling with cortex distinguishes spontaneous neuronal activities in identified basal ganglia-recipient and cerebellar-recipient zones of motor thalamus. Cereb Cortex 24(1): 93–109.


A medium-sized spiny neuron in the striatum of a postnatal day 24 (P24) rat. The neuron was filled with GFP by infection of a modified Sindbis virus.


This image won the second prize in BRAINScapes Image Competition 2019 in Oxford Neuroscience Symposium  on 20 Mar 2019.

Title: A Vivid Look of the Mouse Brain

Lay description:

Here we  show a slice of the mouse brain in a riot of colours. Different colours  are used to detect special proteins and nucleic acid (Nissl staining) to  highlight the diversity in brain structure at great  detail. How many structures can you recognize?

Scientific description:  

This is an  image of a parasagittal section of the mouse brain fluorescently  labelled for anti-calretinin (green), anti-calbindin (red), and  anti-parvalbumin (blue) as well as Nissl staining (white). Nissl  staining has a long history of being used for studying the  cytoarchitecture of the brain and considered a basis of neuroanatomy.  Calretinin, calbindin, and parvalbumin are all calcium-binding proteins  and specific antibodies against them have been used to  visualize the chemoarchitecture of the brain and used to delineate  structures that are difficult to be identified on the basis of  cytoarchitecture alone. In this sub-micron resolution image (with more  than 300 million pixels by 4 channels; 0.641 µm in tissue  per pixel), you can recognize individual cell bodies and even some  dendrites. This is a subset of the data deposited on our CHAMBER website  (CHemoarchitectonic Atlas of the Mouse thalamus as a BNDU opEn  Resource), which are now publicly available to facilitate  precise delineation of brain structures (https://data.mrc.ox.ac.uk/chamber).

Selected Publications
Unit Publication
Nakamura KC
Sharott A
Tanaka T
Magill PJ

2021. J Neurosci, 41(50):10382-10404.

Unit Publication
Sharott A
Vinciati F
Nakamura KC
Magill PJ
2017. J. Neurosci., 37(41):9977-9998.
Hirai D
Nakamura KC
Shibata KI
Tanaka T
Hioki H
Kaneko T
Furuta T
2018.Brain Struct Funct, 223(2):851-872.
Mallet N
Micklem BR
Henny P
Brown MT
Williams C
Bolam JP
Nakamura KC
Magill PJ
2012. Neuron, 74(6):1075-86.