دکتر میرشهرام صفری هم اکنون استاد دانشگاه علوم پزشکی شهید بهشتی تهران است. وی پس از چهار سال کار پژوهشی در انستیتو دانش مغز در مرکز ریکن ژاپن به ایران بازگشته است. وی دارنده فلوشیپ «بازگشت به وطن» از سازمان جهانی تحقیقات مغز (IBRO) است و گزارش زیر از فعالیت علمی خود در شش ماهه اول بازگشتش را برای این سازمان نوشته است.
Dear IBRO Return Home Committee members 2015.11.27
This is my 1st report as an IBRO return home fellowship (RHF). First I would like to express my sincere appreciation to IBRO RHF committee for supporting my career.
I received a RHF in 2015. I had several reasons for applying, mainly the limitations of research resources in my home country (Iran) and I was also interested in wining a competitive award in order to improve my CV. I found out that IBRO is a unique supporting organization for improving neuroscience in developing countries and I thought that winning this award and establishing my laboratory in Iran would be a good model for the next generation of Iranian neuroscientists abroad to return to their home countries.
IBRO-RHF advanced my scientific career in different ways: it was helpful in introducing me to the Iranian scientific community, it supported me in finding my new position and it helped me equip my laboratory.
I am now an assistant Professor in neuroscience at the research center (NRC) Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences; I have a laboratory named “Laboratory for Dynamics of Cortical Circuits” and also an office at the NRC. I am doing research and teaching research techniques, current concepts and techniques in multidisciplinary fields such as vision science, optogenetics, neural network dynamics, brain imaging and advanced electrophysiology and also some research related to basic skills such as programming with MATLAB, LabView for post- graduate students in the NRC. At the moment I am collaborating with several research centers in Iran and Tokyo, with the laser and plasma research center of Shahid Beheshti University for developing laser tools for optogenetics, with neurobiology research center for developing viral vectors for optogenetics and with the faculty of computer science for developing a new eye-tracking system. I am also still in collaboration with Lab for Cortical Circuit Plasticity at RIKEN and I am also an adviser for a research project at the University of Tokyo.
I think scientists of developing countries abroad have to fill a big “technological and also conceptual gap” in current neuroscience research between his/her countries and developed countries. We have very talented and self-dedicated students in Iran, they are interested in the latest and most challenging techniques and conceptual advancements but unfortunately sometimes scientists that can lead projects in ground breaking techniques and concepts are rare in developing countries. I believe returning home will help to develop neuroscience in the world more and I think it will enable us to find new talents. I also started to introduce current neuroscience to people from my country and other Persian speaking people in the world by establishing a scientific website named neurosafari. Neurosafari.com got a lot of attention and has more than 30 000 followers and readers on social networks and got Alexa world rank of 143 000 in August 2015 (more than 21 000 visit per day on average) which I think is great for a personal, non-English scientific website.
During the past few months, I established my laboratory. My interest concerning techniques is focused on optogenetics, in vivo patch-clamp and two-photon imaging. Unfortunately grants have not been enough to buy two-photon systems (but I am applying to get grants from another funding agency), I established an in vivo patch-clamp set up for the first time in Iran, with collaboration of other labs we started to do first optogenetic and opto-patch experiments, I prepared a manuscript with the collaboration of RIKEN (main data collected in RIKEN), this manuscript will be submitted to the journal of “Science”:
Mir-Shahram Safari, Seyyed-Javad Mirnajafi-zadeh, Tadaharu Tsumoto; Parvalbumin interneurons can act solo while somatostatin interneurons act in chorus on cortical pyramidal cells, submitted to science.
Mir-Shahram Safari, “Optogenetic approaches for deciphering cell-type specific inhibition of visual responses in primary visual cortex”, ۴nd Basic and Clinical Neuroscience Congress, 23-25 Dec 2015, Tehran, Iran. Mir-Shahram Safari, “Shaping visual responses by cell type-specific inhibition in primary visual cortex”, Faculty of Biology, Ferdowsi University, 6 Dec 2015, Mashhad, Iran Mir-Shahram Safari, “Optogenetic and two-photon laser scanning microscopy approaches for functional mouse brain mapping”, 2nd Iranian Brain Mapping Congress, 14-16 Nov 2015, Tehran, Iran.
Mir-Shahram Safari, “Inhibition in primary visual cortex from “Brain Activity Mapping” perspective, School of Advanced Technologies in Medicine, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, 28 Oct 2015, Tehran, Iran. Mir-Shahram Safari, “Cell type-specific inhibition in primary visual cortex”, Institute for Brain and Cognitive Sciences, Shahid Beheshti University, 25 Oct 2015, Tehran, Iran.
Mir-Shahram Safari, “Computational Neuroscience and beyond”, School of Computer Sciences, Shahid Beheshti University, 21 Oct 2015, Tehran, Iran. Mir-Shahram Safari, “Shaping visual responses in primary visual cortex through cell type- specific inhibition”, Neuroscience Research Center, Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences, 5 Oct 2015, Tehran, Iran.
Mir-Shahram Safari, “Shaping visual responses in primary visual cortex through cell-type specific inhibition”, Institute for Advanced Studies in Basic Science, 6 September 2015, Zanjan, Iran
Mir-Shahram Safari, Inhibition in visual cortex, 9th annual symposium of Academic Society of Iranians in Japan (ASIJ), 18-19 April 2015, Tokyo, Japan.
Oral presentations: Mir-Shahram Safari, Tadaharu Tsumoto, “Functional connections from GABAergic to pyramidal neurons of the mouse visual cortex in vivo, as revealed by double whole-cell recordings combined with optogenetics”, The 38th Annual Meeting of the Japan Neuroscience Society, July 28-31, 2015, Kobe, Japan. Mir-Shahram Safari and Tadaharu Tsumoto; Quantitative analysis of inhibitory functional connections from GABAergic to pyramidal neurons in the mouse visual cortex, an in vivo double whole-cell recording study with optogenetics; Bridging Biomedical Worlds: From Neural Circuitry to Neurotechnology, May 11-12 2015, Tokyo, Japan.
Poster presentation: Mir-Shahram Safari, Tadaharu Tsumoto, “Functional connections from GABAergic to pyramidal neurons of the mouse visual cortex in vivo, as revealed by double whole-cell recordings combined with optogenetics”, The 38th Annual Meeting of the Japan Neuroscience Society, July 28-31, 2015, Kobe, Japan.
I have a great supporter in Iran, Professor Fereshteh Motamedi, director of the Neuroscience Research Center, she is interested in supporting and establishing new techniques and new conceptual openings in neuroscience research. Unfortunately the biggest obstacle in Iran is the limitation of research funding. The Iranian Cognitive Sciences and Technologies council has started to support some parts of my project.
For the future I have plans to develop some optogenetic tools, to install two-photon imaging system in my lab and to establish visualized in vivo double whole-cell patch and to do cutting edge research and training with talented students in Tehran, my research team will focus on the roles of brain modulatory systems in visual cortex network dynamics.
Regarding IBRO RHF program, I think amount of support have to be increased several times more. Peoples that are winners of IBRO awards, commonly working on cutting edge techniques in developing countries, tools and devices for running similar experiments in home countries are so expensive.
Commonly I advise Iranian scientist abroad to return home and give benefit to their home country.