Section Members


  Name Role

Kenneth Dudley,

RS Specialist, Informatics

Kenneth is a research support specialist with a focus on informatics and GIS.

Masako Ogasawara

RS Specialist,
 Assistant coordinator of the OKEON Churamori Project

Masako: In the summer of 2013, she was led by a researcher to look at an ant under the microscope. After the memorable encounter with the ant up close, she was drawn into the strange world of research as an Assistant. When the OKEON Churamori Project was established, she became an Assistant Coordinator where she brings her excellent communication skills to the full potential. She continues to develop the collaborative network in Okinawa for the OKEON Project.

Mayuko Suwabe,

RS Specialist,
 Administrative Fire Ants Projects,
Educational activities

Mayuko: After obtaining her Ph.D. degree from the University of Ryukyus, she jumped into the world of environmental education and honed her skills. Through her years of experience, she is able to transform jargon-filled research into digestible and amusing chunks of information for children, making her an exceptional Science Communicator. She is also a talented illustrator whose sketches are featured on the ESS goodies that are given out during outreach events, loved by both children and adults. Her expertise is in the ecology of alien ants.

Jake Lewis

RS Technician,
Collection manager

Jake: Having developed a passion for nature at a young age, he started off as a birdwatcher in middle school and later found an interest in insects in high school. As an undergraduate he worked as an insect curation assistant at the New Brunswick Museum where he was exposed to entomology as a science. During his undergraduate years he made several trips to Japan and developed an interest in Japan’s unique fauna. Jake’s graduate work and on-going research focuses on the taxonomy and molecular systematics of weevils. He is looking forward to delicious ramen after fieldwork.

Toshihiro Kinjo

RS Technician,
Field Team Leader
Toshi: Extremely diligent with indoor and outdoor tasks, and gifted with the ability to make better typhoon path predictions than the latest computer simulations! Currently an avid moss collector.

Shinji Iriyama

Research Assistant

Shinji-san: A tinkerer both in the field and the lab, he is the designated Engineer and Troubleshooter of the team. He’ s also a foodie who will take you to the best diners to refuel after fieldwork.

Ten Fujikawa

Research Assistant

Ten: His interest in the natural environment stems from his upbringing surrounded by the great nature of Kyushu. When he was a high school student, he founded the pine forest conservation group and worked with the government and NPOs to preserve pine forests in Kyusyu. His hobby is watching Rakugo. And he can also bake cookies and bread. Since coming to OIST, he has developed a strong interest in spiders.

Seiichiro Nakagawa

Research Assistant

Sei-chan: Keeps the team at a perfect balance between relaxed and motivated. Don’t let his calmness trick you though- he’s got the best comebacks! After work, he transforms into an artist.

Shoko Suzuki

Research Assistant

Shoko: In charge of a range of tasks, including taking images of ants, submitting research permit applications and going to the field. Enjoys foraging food from nature and cooking it.

Takumi Uchima

Research Assistant

Takumin: A young curator and data enterer who enjoys going out on insect collection trips on weekends on top of his fieldwork on weekdays. He especially has an undying love for diving beetles (Dytiscidae).

Cassondra George


Research Assistant


Cassondra: She moved from her hometown in Oregon, USA, to get her bachelor’s at Hokkaido University in Japan. During her bachelor’s she conducted research and field work on owls in Okinawa and became acquainted with OIST. She later became one of the first Research Support Interns at OIST and continued to study Okinawa owls through the OKEON passive acoustic monitoring system. After graduating and then spending almost a year in Oklahoma, USA to raise critically endangered Attwater’s Prairie Chickens for release, she now works at OIST helping to make the passive acoustic monitoring data more accessible for research. She has a strong interest in the outdoors, sports, wildlife, and research.