My research career had its beginnings in undergraduate summer internships – one in an organic chemistry lab and another in a gene regulation lab at the University of Toronto where I first found the excitement of experimental problem solving. For my PhD, I joined Dr. Suzanne Pfeffer’s group at Stanford University where I studied intracellular membrane traffic. Subsequently, attracted by the field of neuroscience, I received my postdoctoral training at the Salk Institute under the mentorship of Dr. Chuck Stevens. I then joined the faculty of Biology Division, University of California, San Diego in 1997 to start my own group. This was followed by a move to the UK in 2002 as a Senior Group Leader in the MRC Laboratory for Molecular Cell Biology at University College London. In 2011, I moved back to Japan to the RIKEN Brain Science Institute (now Center for Brain Science), and in 2022, I am excited to join OIST. My research interests center on synapses, the fundamental nodes of information transmission in the brain. The lab investigates basic principles of synaptic communication in brain circuit operations underlying animal behaviors down to exploring synaptic design in simple model networks. Our recent efforts also target roles for astrocytes in synapse regulation.