Aya Takeoka Lab

Research focus

​The central question that the Takeoka lab addresses is how animals generate and control motor behavior in health and disease. In particular we study mechanisms of circuit assembly, function and plasticity that leads to motor learning using a multi-disciplinary approach including detailed motor kinematic assessments, mouse genetics, viral tracing and manipulation, optogenetic, pharmacogenetic, electrophysiological, and imaging techniques. Our combinatorial approach to the fundamental basis of motor circuit function allows us to understand circuit connectivity and manipulate functions of specified neuronal populations to determine their role in motor circuit output and plasticity.

Our aims are to understand:
• How motor circuits develop to build functional modules at different levels (cortex, brainstem and spinal cord) and how motor learning shapes these circuits.
• How the canonical organization of motor circuits changes after traumatic injury and neurological diseases to compensate for and contribute to motor recovery.

Currently, the lab focuses on how different types of sensory feedback circuits control repetitive and complex motor behavior, with primary focus on somatosensory and visual feedback.

Job openings


From spinal cord injury to recovery

08/04/2019 - Studying the mechanisms of recovery, Leuven researcher Aya Takeoka (NERF) found that a specific type of neuronal feedback from sites below the injury plays a crucial role during early recovery and for maintaining regained motor functions.

Aya Takeoka

Aya Takeoka

Research area(s)

Model organism(s)


PhD: Cellular and Integrative Physiology, Univ. of California, Los Angeles, USA, 2004-10
Postdoc: Biozentrum, Univ. of Basel and Friedrich Miescher Inst. for Biomedical Res., Basel, Switzerland, 2010-16
NERF/VIB group leader as of September 2016

Contact Info

NERF, empowered by IMEC, KU Leuven and VIBImec CampusKapeldreef 75 3001 LEUVENRoute description