Senior Team Leader, Laboratory for Molecular Dynamics of Mental Disorders
Tadafumi Kato, M.D., Ph.D.
Tadafumi Kato, M.D., Ph.D.
2017 Colvin Prize for Outstanding Achievement in Mood Disorders Research
2008, 2000 Independent Investigator Grant
Tadafumi Kato is a Senior Team Leader and the Deputy Director of RIKEN Brain Science Institute. He received an M.D. from the University of Tokyo, with residency training at the University of Tokyo Hospital. He received his Ph.D. from Shiga University of Medical Science, where he began his work on magnetic resonance spectroscopy in bipolar disorder and identified impaired energy metabolism in the brain.
In studying the neurobiology of bipolar disorder, Dr. Kato found that mitochondrial DNA deletions were accumulated in the postmortem brains of bipolar patients. Using model mice that have accumulated mitochondrial DNA deletions in the brain, Dr. Kato’s research team has found that the mice show recurrent spontaneous depression-like episodes which responded to lithium, and has identified a region of the brain involved in these episodes. This would be the first animal model of spontaneous recurrent depression-like episodes that would be potentially useful for development of mood stabilizers. The local mitochondrial dysfunction was verified in the postmortem brains of patients with mitochondrial disease with mood symptoms. Dr. Kato’s series of work has established the role of mitochondrial dysfunction in bipolar disorder.
His research group has also been working on genomic analyses of bipolar disorder, publishing one of the first comprehensive analyses of transcribed genes in the postmortem brains of patients with bipolar disorder. Since then, he and his colleagues have applied similar technologies to clinical samples and also animal models to find dysfunctional mechanisms within bipolar disorder and related disorders. The studies have revealed the role of a type of cellular stress in monozygotic twins discordant for bipolar disorder, the role of a genetic element called retrotransposon LINE-1 in schizophrenia, and de novo (newly generated) mutations related to bipolar disorder.
Learn More About the Foundation
The Brain & Behavior Research Foundation is a global nonprofit organization focused on improving the understanding, prevention and treatment of psychiatric and mental illnesses.
Beginning in 1987, the Brain & Behavior Research Foundation was providing seed money to neuroscientists to invest in “out of the box” research that the government and other sources were unwilling to fund. Today, Brain & Behavior Research Foundation is still the leading, private philanthropy in the world in this space.
Meet the people who make up the Brain & Behavior Research Foundation. Our staff of experts, passionate Board of Directors, and Scientific Council which includes Nobel prize winners and chairs of psychiatric departments around the world.
We take our responsibility to our donors seriously and believe that our financial operations must be transparent. We're proud to say that 100% of your contribution for research is invested directly in research grants.