Florian Pflug                                                 florian.pflug(at)

I am a mathematician and bioinformatician interested in understanding the basic rules governing complex biological systems through mathematical modeling. A particular focus of my work has been the effect of stochasticity on the observable behavior of such systems, example include the effects of stochasticity on the PCR reaction and how stochasticity of stem cell proliferation affects developmental processes. My work combines theoretical analysis with experimental data, and makes of stochastic processes and statistics and computational approaches. Since biological systems are nowadays often observed through high-throughput sequencing techniques, I also regularly use bioinformatics and sequence analysis in my work.


Robert Ross


Robert Ross​                                                           robert.ross(at)

I research the physics of growing active matter. In particular, I am interested in how growth can influence the outcome of many-body systems, such as those often represented by population models and spin models.  Currently, I am trying to understand how growth influences chromatophore development in cephalopods in collaboration with Sam Reiter's group at OIST.

Alberto Sassi                                                 sassi.alberto(at)

I am interested in the application of statistical physics and non-equilibrium thermodynamics to understand biological systems. Cells are remarkable machines in which energy is continuously supplied to perform a variety of crucial tasks, both in steady states, and in transient states, when the cells need to suddenly adapt to changes in the environment. Statistical physics of non-equilibrium  can thus be a helpful tool to describe systems in cell biology.  In OIST I will focus on DNA replication. We want to understand the signalling mechanisms through which cells manage to coordinate the replication with the cell cycle. We work in close collaboration with experimental groups, and we want to implement models that are consistently supported by the data, collected with various techniques both at the cell population level and at the single-cell level.


Ph.D. Students

Anzhelika Koldaeva                                anzhelika.koldaeva1(at)

I am a PhD student with mathematical background who is interested in the application of mathematical approaches to biology. Currently I am studying population dynamics of bacteria in microchannels. My goal is to construct and investigate the realistic mathematical model behind the microbial proliferation process with competition for resources. It turns out that the stochastic processes theory, statistical physics, probability theory, and mathematical statistics provide powerful tools to describe complex biological systems with a large number of interacting individuals. Working on the edge of different scientific fields is a completely new experience and of great interest to me! OIST is well-placed to do the research with an amazing view from the window to a tropical island. I am in love with the sea, marine activities, local food, and culture, which makes my time here not only productive but also super-fun!


Lu Qiao​                                             

I’m a PhD student from China with physics background. My main focus is in statistical physics and biophysics, but I have a wide range of interests in many areas of theoretical physics and other activities, such as books about literature, history, history of science. Classical music and travalling are necessary for me as well. Finally, having lived in the UK for 4 years during my undergraduate and master, I’m also a fan of gardening.

Samuel Cyrus Cure​                                    samuel.cure(at)

Before coming to OIST, I studied mathematics at the University College Utrecht in the Netherlands and obtained my MSc in Complex Systems Modelling at King’s College in London. My interests lie in random matrix theory and stochastic processes on networks: I find it fascinating that in order to search for certainty and predictability in large, complex interacting systems one can exploit randomness. For my PhD I am currently studying stochastic spatial models in ecology and more recently models of infectious disease transmission on networks. Complex Systems is a rich and interdisciplinary field and this is perfectly captured by the broad interests of the other members and the expertise of our professor: so it is very exciting to be part of the Biological Complexity Unit here at OIST!

Research Unit Administrator


Kaori Yamashiro                              kaori.yamashiro(at)

I manage the unit equipment purchases, travel and visits, workshops, and support the unit members in all of their activities.


+81 (0)98 982 3683 (Kaori Yamashiro), +81 (0)98 966 2248  (Postdocs and Ph.D. students)

Former Members

Deepak Bhat                                                    deepak.bhat(at)

Title while at OIST: Postdoctoral Scholar

Current Appointment Title:
Assistant Professor, Vellore Institute of Technology (Vellore, India)

Shrabani Mondal                                      shrabani.mondal(at)

Title while at OIST: Postdoctoral Scholar

Current Appointment Title:
Assistant Professor at Jadavpur University


Davide Chiuchiu                                    dabol99(at)

Title while at OIST: Postdoctoral Scholar

Current Appointment Title:
Senior data scientist at Flaire Labs (Milan, Italy)

Paula Villa-Martin                                    paulavillamartin(at)

Title while at OIST: Postdoctoral Scholar

Current Appointment Title:
Senior data scientist at Unit4 Business Software (Granada, Spain)