Masashi Kawasaki

Professor of Biology
260 Gilmer Hall
(434) 982-5763
Lab: (434) 243-5494


  • B.S., Waseda University, Tokyo, Japan, 1979
  • Ph.D., Sophia University, Tokyo, Japan, 1984

Research Interests

My research subjects are the weakly electric fishes - unusual electronic animal species that the nature has ever created. Specifically, we focus on the brain mechanisms for electric behaviors of South American and African electric fishes. My research strategy is to combine behavioral experiments for identification of computational algorithms, and neurobiological techniques for identification of underlying neuronal mechanisms. The ultimate goal of my research is to uncover fundamental design principles of the brain using these attractive creatures.

For more information on research interests, visit my lab website.

Representative Publications

  • Kawasaki, M. Kinoshita, M. Weckström, M. Arikawa, K. (2015). Difference in dynamic properties of photoreceptors in a butterfly, Papilio xuthus: possible segregation of motion and color processing. J. Comp. Physiol, DOI 10.1007/s00359-015-1039-y.
  • Matsushita, A. Pyon, G. Kawasaki, M. (2012). Time disparity sensitive behavior and its neural substrates of a pulse-type gymnotiform electric fish, Brachyhypopomus gauderio, J. Comp. Physiol. DOI: 10.1007/s00359-012-0784-4.
  • Moore, A. Kawasaki, M. and Menaker, M. (2012). The visual ecology of Puerto Rican anoline lizards: habitat light and spectral sensitivity. J. Comp. Physiol, 198: 193-201.
  • Pluta, S. R. and Kawasaki, M. (2010). Temporal selectivity in midbrain electrosensory neurons identified by modal variation in active sensing.  J. Neurophys, 104: 498-507.
  • Kawasaki, M. (2009). Evolution of time coding systems in weakly electric fishes. Zool. Sci., 26: 587-599.
  • Carlson, B.A. and Kawasaki, M. (2008). From stimulus estimation to combination sensitivity: Encoding and processing of amplitude and timing information in parallel, convergent sensory pathways.  J. Comput. Neurosci., 25: 1-24.