Orie Arakawa, Technician
Email: orie.arakawa at

I am originally from Okinawa and I am very honored to be working in this wonderful place in my home Okinawa. I have worked on chromosome segregation using yeast as a technician, and I have been fascinated by the “cells” that compose all living things. I am excited to start as a member of Meitinger Unit and to learn something new about cells. Personally, I like bird watching and sleeping, and I am especially happy to spend time with my husband and newborn daughter.

Md Hazrat Belal, Post-Doctoral Researcher
Email: md.belal at

Hi everyone! My name is Belal; I was born in Bangladesh. I completed my undergraduate and master's degrees in Biochemistry at Rajshahi University, Bangladesh. I acquired my Ph.D. degree in medical science from Hamamatsu University School of Medicine, Japan, in 2021. I then continued the research for another year at the same university, in Prof. Saitsu lab, before joining the Cell Proliferation and Gene Editing Unit of Prof. Franz Meitinger lab at OIST in November 2022. I have a massive interest in the molecular biology of human genetic diseases, particularly in analyzing how altered molecular pathways contribute to disease causation. In my PhD research, I was working to elucidate the pathophysiological mechanisms of neurodevelopmental disorders that are caused by gene mutation. Here in Dr. Meitinger lab,I will study cell and cancer biology with a focus on mechanisms that control cell proliferation and maintain genome stability. This is my first   time in Okinawa! I am really enjoying my stay here in Okinawa. I desire to explore Okinawa's stunning beauty with my wife and our expecting child.

Esthr Ng, Post-Doctoral Researcher
Email: feng.esther at

I am originally from Malaysia and have been living in Japan for a little more than 4 years now. This is my first time in Okinawa! Exploring new places is one of my hobbies so I am looking forward to what Okinawa has to offer. My previous research revolves around the proliferation and migration of tongue cancer cells. I finished my PhD recently in September 2022 and I am very excited to start my new research journey here at Meitinger Unit in OIST, and learn all about gene editing!

Hitomi Ohtaki, Research Unit Administrator
Email: hitomi.ohtaki at

I am originally from Chiba Prefecture and have lived in Okinawa for a little over 10 years. I have worked at OIST as a Research Unit Administrator (RUA) for almost all that time. I love this job supporting the administrative part of the laboratory and am very excited to be a member of the Meitinger Unit. I enjoy eating, drinking, and traveling in my spare time.