National Institutes of Natural Sciences

National Institute for Basic Biology


NIBB Departments




Associate Professor

Research Summary

In order to interact successfully with the environment, animals must deduce their surroundings based on sensory information. The visual system plays a particularly critical role in such interactions with the environment. "Why can we see?" This question is fundamental for a thorough understanding of vision-dependent animals, including human beings. In order to better understand the sensory systems of animals, we are researching the visual system by using computer and mathematical modeling. Please see for details.

PhD Program

This laboratory is currently recruiting graduate students.


Selected Publications

Nakayasu, T., and Watanabe, E., (2014). Biological motion stimuli are attractive to medaka fish. Animal Cognition 17, 559-575.


Matsunaga, W., and Watanabe, E., (2012). Visual motion with pink noise induces predation behaviour. Scientific Reports 2, 219.

Matsunaga, W., and, Watanabe, E. (2010). Habituation of medaka (Oryzias latipes) demonstrated by open-field testing, Behav Processes 85, 142-150

Watanabe, E., Matsunaga, W., and Kitaoka, A. (2010). Motion signals deflect relative positions of moving objects, Vision Res. 50, 2381-2390.

Shimizu, H., Watanabe, E., Hiyama, T.Y., Nagakura, A., Fujikawa, A., Okado, H., Yanagawa, Y., Obata, K., and Noda, M. (2007). Glial Nax channels control lactate signaling to neurons for brain [Na+] sensing, Neuron 54, 59-72.

Watanabe, E., Hiyama, T.Y., Shimizu, H., Kodama, R., Hayashi, N., Miyata, S., Yanagawa, Y., Obata, K., and Noda, M. (2006). Sodiumlevel-sensitive sodium channel Nax is expressed in glial laminate processes in the sensory circumventricular organs, American Journal of Physiology (Regul Integr Comp Physiol) 290, R568-R576

Hiyama, T.Y., Watanabe, E., Okado, H. and Noda, M. (2004). The subfornical organ is the primary locus of sodium-level sensing by Nax sodium channels for the control of salt-intake behavior, Journal of Neuroscience 24, 9276-9281

Hiyama, T.Y., Watanabe, E., Ono, K., Inenaga, K., Tamkun, M.M., Yoshida, S., and Noda, M. (2002). Nax channel involved in CNS sodium-level sensing. Nature Neurosci. 5, 511-512.

Watanabe, E., Fujikawa, A., Matsunaga, H., Yasoshima, Y., Sako, N., Yamamoto, T., Saegusa, C., and Noda, M. (2000). Nav2/NaG channel is involved in control of salt-intake behavior in the CNS. J. Neurosci. 12, 7743-7751.


Associate Professor WATANABE, Eiji TEL: +81 564 59 5595 E-mail: