Dr. Sam Reiter, Assistant Professor
I was born and raised in Rhode Island, on the east coast of the United States. I did my undergraduate degree at Brown University in Providence, RI. For my PhD. I joined the Brown-NIH graduate partnership program, moving to Bethesda, M.D. to work in the lab of Mark Stopfer at the National Institutes of Health. For my post doctoral work I moved to Germany to join the lab of Gilles Laurent in Frankfurt, Germany. I came to OIST in 2019, and am interested in studying animal brains and behavior.
I grew up in Nasik, a small town in India. I went to Johns Hopkins University for my undergraduate studies where I developed an interest in studying animal behavior. I wanted to understand the ecological context of animal behavior so I worked as a Research Assistant on a Chimpanzee Habituation project on Rubondo Island National Park, Tanzania and SCUBA dived extensively in East Timor and the Andaman Islands. I returned to India to pursue my MSc. in Wildlife Biology at the National Center of Biological Sciences, Bangalore. Following this, I was a part of the Nippon Foundation-POGO Centre of Excellence training in observational oceanography, at the Alfred Wegener Institute, Germany. I am currently a PhD student interested in studying cephalopods.
I obtained my BSc in Biology from the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki in Greece. Aiming to gain a more interdisciplinary skillset, I moved to Scotland to pursue an MSc in Systems and Synthetic Biology. In 2020, I was given the amazing opportunity to travel to Japan and join OIST as a PhD student, switching my field to Neuroscience in the process. My interests primarily revolve around animal learning and behaviour. Cephalopods are fascinating organisms to study due to their unique and bizarre behaviour repertoire, but also because of the potential insights to be gained from them regarding the evolution of neural systems and cognition in general. For these reasons I’ve joined the Computational Neuroethology Unit as a rotation student, where I will be working in exploring the physiological properties of cephalopod brains. Outside of work, I enjoy playing chess (badly) and the guitar (even worse).
Staff Scientist-Postdoctoral Scholar-Research Fellow
Tomoyuki Mano, JSPS Postdoctoral Fellow
I entered The University of Tokyo with an interest in neuroscience, but after reading the books by Richard Feynman I decided to major in physics.
After having great fun with single-molecule imaging and soft matter physics, I went to Princeton University for my master's degree where I worked on nano-particle spectroscopy.
Then my interest in neuroscience came back once again, and I conducted my PhD research in the lab of Hiroki Ueda at UTokyo.
There I worked on 3D mouse brain imaging using light-sheet microscopy, and big image data analysis using cloud computing.
Now at Reiter unit, my interest is to apply the hard-core techniques from physics and computer science to understand the complex and interesting anatomy of the cephalopod brains.
Programming has always been my passion and Zen moment, and I write codes to chill my soul.
Outside of the lab, I enjoy running, cooking, and watching anime.
Natacha Roux, JSPS Postdoctoral Fellow
Born and raised in a small town in the center of France (Vichy), I have always been fascinated by the amazing biodiversity encountered in the marine environment. Therefore, I decided to choose a career where I could study marine living organisms. I conducted a PhD at the Observatoire Océanologique de Banyuls sur mer investigating the role of thyroid hormone in a key developmental step of coral reef fishesL the metamorphosis. This project offered me the opportunity to study a biological process in an integrative way, using various methods from molecular to behavioral analysis. Now, I am happy to completely change my research field and join Dr. Reiter’s team at OIST to study the phenomenon of cuttlefish camouflage in the wild. I am excited to enter the field of computational neuroethology and to have the opportunity to investigate the masters of camouflage in their natural environment using innovative techniques such as machine learning. I am looking forward to dive in Okinawa and spend hours observing cuttlefishes in their natural habitat.
Robert Ross, Interdisciplinary Postdoctoral Scholar (with Pigolotti Unit)
I research the physics of growing active matter. Currently, I am trying to understand how growth influences chromatophore patterning in cephalopods. My thesis is that the same developmental processes can be funneled to different developmental outcomes by altering how the system is grown.
Makoto Hiroi, Staff Scientist (with Stephens Unit)
I was born in Nagasaki, Japan. After completing my Ph.D. in insect physiology in Japan and France (with Teiich Tanimura at Kyushu University and with Frederic Maion-Poll at INA P-G), I moved to Berkeley, California, to work in the lab of Kristin Scott. Back in Japan, I worked with Tetsuya Tabata at Tokyo University. In 2020, I came to OIST, joining Greg Stephens' Biological Physics Theory Unit and Sam Reiter's Computational Neuroethology Unit. I am interested in how animals behave and react to their environments. I want to seek mechanisms or theory underlying volitional behaviors through the quantitative analysis of collective squid behavior. Besides work, I enjoy traveling, but my favorite is cycling along the Okinawa coast.
Alex Harston, JSPS Postdoctoral Fellow
I grew up in the UK, and did a BSc in Neuroscience at the University of Edinburgh. I followed that up by working as a research developer at Edinburgh for a year, designing and developing behavioural smartcages and algorithms to study volitional motor control in mice. I moved to London to do a PhD in Computational Neuroscience at Imperial College London, where I worked on understanding the relationship between human vision and motor control using machine learning approaches. I subsequently moved to OIST in 2022, where I'm using my web development experience to work on building a brain atlas web platform for arbitrary species. Outside of the lab, I enjoy filmmaking, playing badminton, and fishing the Okinawan waters.
Nobuaki Mizumoto, Interdisciplinary Postdoctoral Scholar (with Bourguignon Unit)
I was born and grew up in Fukui prefecture in Japan. I did undergraduate and graduate degrees at Kyoto University, did postdoctoral research at Arizona State University (JSPS overseas fellow), and came to OIST. Throughout my career, I have been studying termites. My research goal is to understand the evolution of animal collective behavior. Using termites as a model system, I quantify their behavioral mechanisms of nest construction and movement coordination with computational techniques. Furthermore, by comparing their behaviors across diverse species along with molecular phylogeny, I trace the 150 million years of termite behavioral evolution.
Ethan Thomas Rickards
Originally from Beziers, a small city in the south of France, I have always had a passion for marine life. After completing my Bachelor's degree in Marine Biology at La Rochelle University and a master Biosciences and Modeling of Complex Systems at ENS de Lyon, I found in neuroscience the way to combine my interests in both experimental and theoretical approaches to biology. I discovered cephalopod neuroethology through an internship in Gilles Laurent lab at MPI for Brain Research in Frankfurt, where I focused on studying cuttlefish camouflage behavior. I later joined OIST to continue my studies in that field.
My primary focus within the research unit is studying cephalopod motor control, including camouflage, hunting, and locomotion. I am particularly interested in understanding how these complex behaviors can help us to better understand the evolution of brains and behavior.
When I'm not conducting research, I enjoy a variety of outdoor activities such as rock climbing, diving, and hiking.
Chie Edwards, Research Unit Administrator
Born in Osaka Japan. Have been working at OIST as Research Unit Administrator since 2018. Loved baking and sharing!
Keishu Asada, Fieldwork Technician
I am from Japan's northmost island of Hokkaido, born to Japanese and American parents. I have always had a love for wildlife, the ocean, and strange creatures especially cephalopods. I studied Marine Biology at Victoria University of Wellington in New Zealand. I washed ashore on Okinawa in 2016, where I started working as a husbandry technician for OIST under the Physics and Biology Unit, caring for octopuses, squid, and cuttlefish. In 2020 I transferred to the Cephalopod Support Team where I continued husbandry work supporting multiple research units, before moving to Reiter Unit in 2021, where I am employed as a fieldwork technician. If I could breathe underwater I would probably stay there except to get coffee and snacks.
Yutaka Jojima, Research Unit Technician
I am from Gifu Prefecture and came to Okinawa from college.
At the University of the Ryukyus, I belonged to the Department of Marine and Natural Sciences and was at the Waterfront Experimental Station on Sesoko Island.
My hobby is playing volleyball, and I also coach local elementary school students.
At OIST, I was a member of the Masai Lab from 2009 to September 2022, where I mainly supported research on lenses using zebrafish.
Since October 2022, I have been working as part of the Computational Neuroethology Unit. I am looking forward to utilizing my various skills and acquiring new knowledge and techniques.
Thu Van Dinh, Research Unit Technician
I grew up in a small village near Ho Chi Minh City-Viet Nam. After finishing high school in my hometown, I went to France to continue my study.
I completed the Master in Biochemistry in France before moving to Singapore and Ireland with my small family.
I joined OIST since September 2012 and have been working as a research unit technician. I had opportunity to improve my knowledge and lab work skills by working on different research areas: Bacteria, Blood cells, Drosophila at OIST.
Joining Dr. Reiter’s team - Computational Neuroethology Unit, I am excited to use my skills to work on the interesting cephalopods and to learn new techniques.
I enjoy supporting researchers and students on their research while exploring cephalopods brains and behaviour.
Besides work, I am passionate about gardening and cooking.
Research Unit Technician
Paulette García Andaluz
Saffira Yan Tjon
Research Unit Technician
Taha Basheir Hassan Soliman
Research Unit Technician
Research Unit Technician