Dr. Kouichi C. Nakamura


A parasagittal view of rat thalamus, including the basal ganglia-recipient zone (BZ) and cerebellar-recipient (CZ) of the motor thalamus. The tissue specimen was immunolabeled for VGluT1 (blue), VGluT2 (red) and GAD67 (green), respectively, for visualization of cortical glutamatergic, subcortical glutamatergic and GABAergic axon terminals. The picture illustrates that different afferents parcellate the thalamus into functionally distinct thalamic nuclei. See Nakamura et al. (2014) for more details.


Dr. Kouichi C. Nakamura

Senior Postdoctoral Neuroscientist

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.

In May 2016, Dr. Nakamura rejoined the Magill Group as a Senior Postdoctoral Neuroscientist in order to pursue his long-standing research interest on the structure and function of the motor thalamus in health and disease.

In vivo electrophysiological recording techniques, anatomical methods (including immunohistochemistry, fluorescence in situ hybridization histochemistry, and confocal microscopy), and the use of genetics-based approaches for the monitoring and manipulation of specified cell types, are all central to Dr. Nakamura’s research strategy to elucidate the principles governing neuronal communication within the basal ganglia and partner thalamic circuits.

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.
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.

Selected Publications
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.
Unit Publication
Abdi A
Mallet N
Mohamed FY
Sharott A
Dodson PD
Nakamura KC
Suri S
Avery SV
Larvin JT
Garas FN
Garas SN
Vinciati F
Morin S
Bezard E
Baufreton J
Magill PJ
2015. J. Neurosci., 35(17):6667-88.