Max Planck Florida Announces New Research Group Leader

Hidehiko Inagaki will study decision making and behavior.

November 15, 2019

MPFI announces that Dr. Hidehiko Inagaki has joined the institute as a research group leader studying Neural Dynamics and Cognitive Functions. His research focuses on understanding cellular and network mechanisms underlying cognitive functions in mice, such as decision making and time perception.

“Our behaviors heavily depend on information internal to the brain, which we call internal states. For example, even when we look at the same food, depending on how hungry we are, our response can be totally different,” Inagaki explained.  “In addition, even without watching a clock, we can make surprisingly accurate timed movements by following our internal timer. I am interested in how these ‘internal states’ affect our decision making and behavior.”

Dr. Inagaki was the winner of the Max Planck Society Free Floater Competition. The competition invites leading postdoctoral fellows to apply for the opportunity to become a research group leader at a Max Planck Institute. As the winner, Inagaki could choose any of the more than 80 Max Planck Institutes in the world. Dr. Inagaki chose MPFI for its interactive and collaborative environment.

“We are so excited to have Hidehiko join us at Max Planck Florida. His research demonstrates exceptional creativity and shows great potential to answer important questions about cognitive function. We are honored that out of the many places he could have established his research group, he chose to come to MPFI,” said CEO and Scientific Director David Fitzpatrick.

Before joining MFPI, Dr. Inagaki was a Helen Hay Whitney Foundation Postdoctoral Fellow at the Janelia Research Campus of Howard Hughes Medical Institute, working with Dr. Karel Svoboda. At Janelia, he studied the neuronal mechanism of short-term memory in the frontal cortex.

Dr. Inagaki completed his Ph.D. under the mentorship of Dr. David J. Anderson at the California Institute of Technology. For his graduate work, he studied the neuronal mechanism of internal states in Drosophila. For his B.S., he worked in Kei Ito’s lab at the University of Tokyo, where he studied the anatomical and physiological properties of mechanosensory neurons in Drosophila.

“During college, I had a research project involving machine learning, which made me wonder how our actual brain works. I was really shocked about how little we know about the brain, and that is why I decided to study it,” he explained.

Dr. Inagaki is the recipient of numerous honors, including Harold M. Weintraub Graduate Student Award and Larry Katz Memorial Lecture Award.

Click here to learn more about the Inagaki Lab at MPFI