Associate Professor Tomoko Soga

Associate Professor (Research)

Jeffrey Cheah School of Medicine & Health Sciences

Email: tomoko.soga@monash.edu
Tel: +603 5514 6223
Office: Room 3-3-06

ORCID ID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-0219-430X

Profile Summary

Associate Professor Tomoko Soga is the Head of Drug Discovery Capability, including the iPS cell facility, at the Brain Research Institute Monash Sunway (BRIMS). She joined Monash University in 2006 from the National Institute of Neuroscience, National Center of Neurology and Psychiatry, Japan. She obtained her BSc and MSc from Kyoto Institute of Technology. Upon obtaining her PhD from Nippon Medical School, she was a postdoctoral fellow at The Rockefeller University in New York, USA. Her research focus has been on the neuronal mechanisms of depression, in particular brain serotonergic pathways in social stress-induced depression. She has published over 50 papers with high ISI citations which have appeared in internationally renowned journals such as Endocrinology, Neuropharmacology, PNAS. She has received several awards such as Narishige award for neuroscience and from the Japan foundation for aging and health. She also serves as an associate and guest editor of several journals, such as 'Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience', 'Frontiers in Endocrinology', and 'Frontiers in Neuroscience'. She is a council member of the Asia and Oceania Society for the Comparative Endocrinology.

Academic Qualifications

  • The Graduate Certificate in Higher Education, Monash University, 2015
  • Doctor of Philosophy in Physiology, Nippon Medical School, Tokyo Japan, 1999
  • Master of Science in Biology, Kyoto Institute of Technology, Kyoto, Japan,1995
  • Bachelor of Science in Biology, Kyoto Institute of Technology, Kyoto, Japan,1993

Affiliations

  • The Asia and Oceania Society for the Comparative Endocrinology( AOSCE), Council Members
  • Society of Neuroscience, Japan, Member
  • Society of Neuroscience, USA, Member
  • Society of Japanese Behavioral Neuroendocrinology, Member
  • The Malaysian Society of Pharmacology and Physiology, Member
  • NeuroMalaysia, Member
  • Review Editor in Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience
  • Co-guest editor in Journal of Experimental Neuroscience
  • Co-guest editor in Frontier in Neuroscience
  • Guest Associate Editor in Frontiers in Endocrinology
  • Editorial board in the Academic Society for Quality-of-life (AS4QoL)

Research Experience and Employment History

2016 - present Head of Drug Discovery platform, Brain Research Institute, Jeffrey Cheah School of Medicine and Health Sciences, Monash University Malaysia

2015 – present Associate Professor, Brain Research Institute, Jeffrey Cheah School of Medicine and Health Sciences, Monash University Malaysia

2014 - 2015 Senior Research fellow, Brain Research Institute, Jeffrey Cheah School of Medicine and Health Sciences, Monash University Malaysia

2006 - 2014 Senior Lecturer, Brain Research Institute, Jeffrey Cheah School of Medicine and Health Sciences, Monash University Malaysia

2005 - 2006 Research Associate, National Institute of Neuroscience and Neuroscience Neuropsychiatry, Tokyo, Japan

2003 - 2005 Postdoctoral Associate, The Rockefeller University, New York, USA

1999 - 2003 Research Associate, department of Physiology, Nippon Medical School, Tokyo, Japan

Research Interests

Mental disorders such as depression and anxiety are closely associated with social stress in humans, in addition to their biological background. Social stress activates the hypothalamic–pituitary–adrenal axis and increases the risk of developing mental disorders. In fact, social stress such as social isolation or social defeat stress deregulates the neuroendocrine system, neurotransmitters and the reproductive pathways. The goal of our research team is to elucidate the causes of social stress induced depression to develop fundamental therapies and early diagnostic methods. To identify genetic susceptibility for depression and social stress associated environmental factors will lead to better understanding of neurobiological mechanisms of depression. Currently, animal models have been developed that use social isolation or social defeat stress to induce neuronal dysfunctions and behaviour changes that might be similar to those occurring in the course of the development of depression. In recent years, we try to use clinical samples including cellular models (human iPS cells) using advanced technologies of genomics.

Keywords

  • Mental disorder
  • Depression
  • Serotonergic system
  • Social stress
  • Animal models
  • iPS cell

Current Research Projects

1) Brain serotonergic system and the regulatory mechanisms during social defeat stress

2) Social isolation and the social neuropeptide: Behavioral effects and neurobiological mechanisms

3) Neuron-glia cellular interactions during depression

Recent Publications

Peer Reviewed Journal Papers

Teo, C. H., Soga, T., & Parhar, I. S. (2018). Brain Beta-Catenin Signalling During Stress     and Depression. Neuro-Signals, 26(1), 31-42. doi: 10.1159/000487764

Higuchi, Y., Soga, T., & Parhar, I. S. (2018). Potential Roles of microRNAs in the Regulation of Monoamine Oxidase A in the Brain. [Review]. Frontiers in molecular neuroscience, 11, 339. doi: 10.3389/fnmol.2018.00339

Kamishima, M., Hattori, T., Suzuki, G., Matsukami, H., Komine, C., Horii, Y., . . . Kawaguchi, M. (2018). Early-life exposure to Tris(1,3-dichloroisopropyl) phosphate induces dose-dependent suppression of sexual behavior in male rats. Journal of applied toxicology : JAT, 38(5), 649-655. doi: 10.1002/jat.3569

Ubuka, T., Moriya, S., Soga, T., & Parhar, I. (2018). Identification of Transmembrane Protease Serine 2 and Forkhead Box A1 As the Potential Bisphenol A Responsive Genes in the Neonatal Male Rat Brain. Frontiers in endocrinology, 9, 139. doi: 10.3389/fendo.2018.00139

Sim, M. S., Soga, T., Pandy, V., Wu, Y. S., Parhar, I. S., & Mohamed, Z. (2017). MicroRNA expression signature of methamphetamine use and addiction in the rat nucleus accumbens. Metabolic brain disease, 32(6), 1767-1783. doi: 10.1007/s11011-017-0061-x

Cham, K. L., Soga, T., & Parhar, I. S. (2017). RING Finger Protein 38 Is a Neuronal Protein in the Brain of Nile Tilapia, Oreochromis niloticus. Frontiers in neuroanatomy, 11, 72. doi: 10.3389/fnana.2017.00072

Higuchi, Y., Soga, T., & Parhar, I. S. (2017). Regulatory Pathways of Monoamine Oxidase A during Social Stress. [Review]. Frontiers in neuroscience, 11, 604. doi: 10.3389/fnins.2017.00604

Teo, C. H., Soga, T., & Parhar, I. S. (2017). Social Isolation Modulates CLOCK Protein and Beta-Catenin Expression Pattern in Gonadotropin-Inhibitory Hormone Neurons in Male Rats. Frontiers in endocrinology, 8, 225. doi: 10.3389/fendo.2017.00225

Soga, T., Lim, W. L., Khoo, A. S., & Parhar, I. S. (2016). Kisspeptin Activates Ankrd 26 Gene Expression in Migrating Embryonic GnRH Neurons. Frontiers in endocrinology, 7, 15. doi: 10.3389/fendo.2016.00015

Camerino, M. A., Liu, M., Moriya, S., Kitahashi, T., Mahgoub, A., Mountford, S. J., . . . Thompson, P. E. (2016). Beta amino acid-modified and fluorescently labelled kisspeptin analogues with potent KISS1R activity. Journal of peptide science : an official publication of the European Peptide Society, 22(6), 406-414. doi: 10.1002/psc.2883

Khor, Y. M., Soga, T., & Parhar, I. S. (2016). Early-life stress changes expression of GnRH and kisspeptin genes and DNA methylation of GnRH3 promoter in the adult zebrafish brain. General and comparative endocrinology, 227, 84-93. doi: 10.1016/j.ygcen.2015.12.004

Lim, W. L., Idris, M. M., Kevin, F. S., Soga, T., & Parhar, I. S. (2016). Maternal Dexamethasone Exposure Alters Synaptic Inputs to Gonadotropin-Releasing Hormone Neurons in the Early Postnatal Rat. Frontiers in endocrinology, 7, 117. doi: 10.3389/fendo.2016.00117

Moriya, S., Soga, T., Wong, D. W., & Parhar, I. S. (2016). Transcriptome composition of the preoptic area in mid-age and escitalopram treatment in male mice.. Neuroscience letters, 622, 67-71. doi: 10.1016/j.neulet.2016.04.052

Parhar, I. S., Soga, T., & Ogawa, S. (2016). Editorial: Reproductive Neuroendocrinology and Social Behavior. Frontiers in neuroscience, 10, 124. doi: 10.3389/fnins.2016.00124

Putteeraj, M., Soga, T., Ubuka, T., & Parhar, I. S. (2016). A "Timed" Kiss Is Essential for Reproduction: Lessons from Mammalian Studies. [Review]. Frontiers in endocrinology, 7, 121. doi: 10.3389/fendo.2016.00121

Son, Y. L., Ubuka, T., Soga, T., Yamamoto, K., Bentley, G. E., & Tsutsui, K. (2016). Inhibitory action of gonadotropin-inhibitory hormone on the signaling pathways induced by kisspeptin and vasoactive intestinal polypeptide in GnRH neuronal cell line, GT1-7. FASEB journal : official publication of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology, 30(6), 2198-2210. doi: 10.1096/fj.201500055

Soga, T., Teo, C. H., Cham, K. L., Idris, M. M., & Parhar, I. S. (2015). Early-Life Social Isolation Impairs the Gonadotropin-Inhibitory Hormone Neuronal Activity and Serotonergic System in Male Rats. Frontiers in endocrinology, 6, 172. doi: 10.3389/fendo.2015.00172

Wong, D. W., Soga, T., & Parhar, I. S. (2015). Aging and chronic administration of serotonin-selective reuptake inhibitor citalopram upregulate Sirt4 gene expression in the preoptic area of male mice. Frontiers in genetics, 6, 281. doi: 10.3389/fgene.2015.00281

Soga, T., Kitahashi, T., Clarke, I. J., & Parhar, I. S. (2014). Gonadotropin-inhibitory hormone promoter-driven enhanced green fluorescent protein expression decreases during aging in female rats. Endocrinology, 155(5), 1944-1955. doi: 10.1210/en.2013-1786

Lim, W. L., Soga, T., & Parhar, I. S. (2014a). Maternal dexamethasone exposure during pregnancy in rats disrupts gonadotropin-releasing hormone neuronal development in the offspring. Cell and tissue research, 355(2), 409-423. doi: 10.1007/s00441-013-1765-9

Lim, W. L., Soga, T., & Parhar, I. S. (2014b). Maternal dexamethasone exposure inhibits the gonadotropin-releasing hormone neuronal movement in the preoptic area of rat offspring. Developmental neuroscience, 36(2), 95-107. doi: 10.1159/000360416

Research Grants (External Grants)

1) Tomoko Soga (project leader), Ishwar Parhar
2018-2020
Role of Astrocytic Protein in the Control of Serotonin Neurons
Fundamental Research Grant Scheme(FRGS)/The Ministry of Higher Education (MOHE) Malaysia

2) Zubaidah binti Zakaria (project leader), Stephen Ponnampalam, Ahmad Zuhairi Bin, Tomoko Soga, Ishwar Parhar
2018-2020
Mesenchymal stem cells as cellular carriers for viral gene therapy in Glioma cells.
Institute for Medical Research (IMR) Research grant, Ministry of Health Malaysia

3) Zubaidah binti Zakaria (project leader), Stephen Ponnampalam, Tomoko Soga, Ishwar Parhar
2018-2019
Son of Sevenless Homolog 1 (SOS-1) as an Early Diagnostic Biomarker for Human Low Grade Gliomas
Institute for Medical Research (IMR) Research Grant Ministry of Health Malaysia

4) Ishwar Parhar (project leader), Tomoko Soga, Satoshi Ogawa
2018
IBRO-APRC Advanced School of Neuroscience in 2018 at Monash University, Malaysia: Neuronal Stem Cells and Their Application in Neurological Disease.
The International Brain Research Organization (IBRO) 2018

5) Tomoko Soga (project leader), Ruchika Mittal (2018)
Ameliorative potential of rutin in neuropathic pain: Targeting Nrf2/HO-1pathway.
Asia-Pacific Regional Committee (APRC) of the International Brain Research Organization (IBRO) Short Stay Grant 2018

6) Tomoko Soga (project leader), Yashika Bansal
2017
Identification of nuclear factor erythroid 2-related factor 2 (Nrf2), as a bio- marker for depression.
Asia-Pacific Regional Committee (APRC) of the International Brain Research Organization (IBRO) Long Stay Grant

7) Tomoko Soga (project leader), Raghunath Singh
2017
Neuropsychiatric Implications of Transient receptor potential vanilloid (TRPV) type Channels
Asia-Pacific Regional Committee (APRC) of the International Brain Research Organization (IBRO) Short Stay Grant

8) Tomoko Soga (project leader), Ishwar Parhar
2014-2017
Serotonergic Regulation of Brain Ring Finger Protein 38 in Depression,
Fundamental Research Grant Scheme(FRGS)/The Ministry of Higher Education (MOHE) Malaysia

9) Maiko Kawaguchi (project leader),Tomoko Soga
2014
Differential gene expression between inbred Hatano high- avoidance rats (HAA) fosted by either HAA or low- avoidance rats (LAA),
International collaborative research grant in Meiji university Japan

10) Tomoko Soga (project leader), Ishwar Parhar
2013-2015
Alkaloids from eurycomalongifolia as novel therapeutic agents for social isolation induced depression,
ScienceFund Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation(MOSTI) Malaysia

11) Nilesh Kumar Mitra (project leader),Tomoko Soga
2013
Evaluation of the effect of murine bone marrow mesenchymal stem cells on Lymphocyte proliferation.
Collaborative Research Grant (Taylor's University)

12) Shogo Moriya (project leader),Tomoko Soga, Ishwar Parhar
2012-2014
Identification of Biomarker for Neurodegenerative Disorders and their Potential Diagnostic Application.
ScienceFund, Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation(MOSTI) Malaysia

13) Hiroshi Abe (project leader), Tomoko Soga, Ishwar Parhar
2012-2013
Development of BioactiveNatural Alkaloids from Malaysian Flora as Potential Therapeutic Agents for Depression.
International collaborative Research Grant Miyazaki University, Japan

14) Tomoko Soga (project leader), Ishwar Parhar
2011-2013
Estrogenic regulation of Gonadotropin inhibitory hormone releasing neurons.
Fundamental Research Grant Scheme(FRGS)/The Ministry of Higher Education (MOHE), Malaysia

15) Nilesh Kumar Mitra(project leader),Tomoko Soga, Ishwar Parhar
2011
Histological and neurological evaluation of the spinal cord functions following intra-cisternal application of glutamate receptor agonists in Sprague-Dawley rats.
Collaborative Research Grant, International Medical University, Malaysia

16) Alan Khoo (project leader),Ishwar Parhar (project leader),Tomoko Soga, Satoshi Ogawa.
2007-2010
Kisspeptins and GnRH as potential therapy for cancer
Institute for Medical Research (IMR) Research Grant Ministry of Health Malaysia

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Awards and Honours

2012 Pro-Vice Chancellor Award for research, Monash University

2011 Travel award in the joint meeting of Japanese Association of Anatomists and the Physiological Society of Japan

2009 Pro-Vice Chancellor Award for research, Monash University

2008 Pro-Vice Chancellor Award for research, Monash University

2005 Japan foundation for aging and health

1997 Pauely Foundation of Hawaii University, USA

1999 Narishige Scholarship, Japan