Image of Tomomi Karigo

Tomomi Karigo

Assistant Professor


707 N Broadway, 400L

Neural circuit mechanisms underlying the development of social behaviors

Adolescence is a period of physical and psychological development during which a person develops from a child into an adult. Following the onset of puberty, increased hormonal levels stimulate the growth and transformation of a person’s physical appearance, development of the reproductive system, and rewiring of the brain. Early life and puberty are vulnerable periods for stress. Stressful environments during puberty can profoundly affect the developing brain, leading to life-long disturbances in mental health. Various psychiatric disorders involving social behavior deficits, such as social phobia, aggression, and anxiety, emerge during adolescence. However, little is known about how neural circuits that control social behaviors develop.

The Karigo lab seeks to understand how the social behavior circuit develops during puberty and the impact of stressful environments on the developing brain. To tackle these questions, we employ cutting-edge techniques in systems neuroscience, including in vivo neural activity recording from freely behaving animals, optogenetics, and automated animal behavior tracking using rodent models. We aim to improve basic knowledge in the developing social behavior neural circuit and advance therapeutics to prevent and treat psychiatric disorders involving social behavior deficits.

Zelikowsky M, Hui M, Karigo T, Choe A, Yang B, Blanco MR, Beadle K, Gradinaru V, Deverman BE, Anderson DJ.  The neuropeptide Tac2 controls a distributed brain state induced by chronic social isolation stress. Cell. 2018; 173(5):1265-1279.


Ding K, Han Y, Seid TW, Buser C, Karigo T, Zhang S, Dickman DK, Anderson DJ.  Imaging neuropeptide release at synapses with a genetically engineered reporter. eLife. 2019; 8:e46421.


Karigo T, Kennedy A, Yang B, Liu M, Tai D, Wahle IA, Anderson DJ.  Distinct hypothalamic control of same- and opposite-sex mounting behaviour in mice. Nature. 2021; 589(7841): 258-263.


Segalin C, Williams J, Karigo T, Hui M, Zelikowsky M, Sun JJ, Perona P, Anderson DJ, Kennedy A.  The Mouse Action Recognition System (MARS) software pipeline for automated analysis of social behaviors in mice. eLife. 2021; 10:e63720.


Yang B, Karigo T, Anderson DJ. Transformations of neural representations in a social behaviour network. Nature. 2022; 608 (7924): 741-749.


Nair A, Karigo T, Yang B, Linderman SW, Anderson DJ, Kennedy A. An approximate line attractor in the hypothalamus that encodes an aggressive internal state. bioRxiv. 2022;


Karigo T. Gaining insights into the internal states of the rodent brain through vocal communications. Neuroscience Research. 2022; 184: 1-8.