Yukiko Goda, Professor
Email: yukiko.goda at

I joined OIST in 2022. My research interests focus on synapses and astrocytes. Research efforts in our lab are geared towards uncovering cellular principles by which the strengths of synapses are set and dynamically modified in neural circuits, in a manner that is consequential to supporting animal behaviors. We also explore synaptic design in simple living model networks.

Full bio:

Tetsuya Hori, Group Leader
Email: tetsuya.hori at

My biology started with animal physiology using crayfish, which I learned at Okayama University in my hometown. For my master's degree, I went to Kyushu University in Fukuoka, where I worked on neurotransmitter receptors using Xenopus oocytes. After that, I studied mammalian neurophysiology at the University of Tokyo. Since then, I have been using patch-clamp electrical recordings from multiple neurons that form synapses in the central nervous system of rodents. At Goda unit, I will primarily focus on understanding how the key players surrounding synapses, such as pre- and post-synaptic cells and astrocytes, contribute to the function of the modulatory/regulatory mechanisms of neurotransmission using multiple patch-clamp recording technique.


Zacharie Taoufiq, Staff Scientist
Email: zacharie.taoufiq at

I earned a PhD in Molecular Biology & Biochemistry from Paris Sorbonne University, researching on deadly malaria cases called ‘cerebral malaria’ prevalent in tropical regions. This experience exposed me to both fundamental and applied research, igniting my fascination with the human brain. I then pursued postdoctoral training at Japan's OIST, studying neurotransmission mechanisms in animal models, which deepened my interest in synaptic complexity and protein diversity. Now, my research aims to dissect the synaptic proteome of individuals living with psychiatric disorders, advocating for personalized molecular diagnostics. I am combining stem cell technology, deep proteomics, and artificial intelligence to advance patient-specific understanding of disease causes.


Mamoru Tanaka, Postdoctoral Scholar
Email: mamoru.tanaka at

Mamoru has Ph.D. in science from Doshisha University. During his Ph.D. course, he studied synaptic plasticity using whole-cell patch clamp recording from pyramidal cells, interneurons, and mossy fiber boutons at the hippocampal CA3 area. Now as a postdoctoral scholar in the Goda Unit, he will focus on investigating homeostatic synaptic plasticity in hippocampal networks.

Maria Vazquez Pavon, Postdoctoral Scholar
Email: maria-vazquez at

Maria has a Master’s in Drug Discovery and a PhD in Neuroscience. During her PhD, she studied the role of Nogo-A as a plasticity suppressor in both physiological and pathological conditions, mainly using field electrophysiological recordings. Now, as a postdoctoral scholar in the Goda Unit, she will focus on understanding the role of astrocytes on synaptic plasticity and synaptic communication.

Vasileios Glykos, Postdoctoral Scholar
Email: vasileios.glykos at

Vasilis graduated from the University of Newcastle upon Tyne with a Ph.D. degree in Neuroscience, studying the cellular and synaptic mechanisms of in vitro models of cortical oscillations. He then worked at the Center of Brain Science at RIKEN to investigate the short-term memory encoding properties of dopamine neurons.  Currently, he is a postdoctoral researcher at the Yukiko Goda laboratory in OIST, exploring the astrocyte-neuron interactions that regulate synaptic behavior.

Wen-Hsin Lu, Postdoctoral Scholar
Email: at

Wen-Hsin graduated from National Yang Ming Chiao Tung University in Molecular Medicine Program, Taiwan International Graduate Program (TIGP-MM), Academia Sinica, Taiwan. She first worked as a postdoctoral fellowship in Institute of Biomedical Sciences, Academia Sinica to investigate how presynaptic local translation contributes to presyanptic release properties and memory. Now she joins the Goda Unit in OIST as a postdoctoral scholar to explore the basis for diversity of astrocytic morphology and function in brain areas.

Dimitar Dimitrov, Research Unit Technician
Email: ddimitrov at

I have a medical degree from Beijing, and masters degree from Tsukuba. I develop tools for differentiating human induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSC) into various cell types, with the long-term goal to advance the emerging fields of personalized and regenerative medicine. Particularly, I am interested in the interactions of human astrocytes and neurons in brain aging, health and disease. Astrocyte and neurons are the main cell types in the human brain and their interactions are critical for brain function. Compared to other species, human astrocytes exhibit unique responses to common brain aging and disease stressors - such as oxidative stress, inflammation, and the accumulation of toxic proteins. I develop in vitro models of human neurons and astrocytes differentiated from human iPSC cells. With these models, I use live confocal imaging to study neuronal and astrocitic responses under different conditions. I also use AAV-gene delivery and CRISPR-Cas9 gene editing to label endogenous proteins, to image their localization and functions.

Alisha Khojanazar, Research Unit Technician
Email: alisher.khojanazarov at

Her name is Alisha, and she is from Kazakhstan. She has completed both a bachelor's degree in Biological Sciences and a master’s degree in Molecular Medicine from Nazarbayev University, Astana. Her previous research projects include studying the role of the periostin protein in Inflammatory Bowel Disease during her undergraduate studies and investigating its role in peripheral nerve regeneration for their master’s thesis. Due to her interest in neuroscience, she is excited to work at the Goda Unit. Her tasks include culturing neurons and astrocytes, taking care of mice, and housekeeping the lab. In addition, she studies the function of NMDA receptors in astrocytes.

Paulette Garcia Andaluz, PhD Student
Email: paulette.garcia at

Paulette holds a Bachelor's degree in Psychology with a minor in Neuroscience. During her undergraduate studies, she conducted research on the serotoninergic system of a Mexican endemic species of octopus to gain insight into how this neurotransmitter regulates their behavior and cognition. She investigated the distribution of serotonin and the 5-HT specific receptor 5-HT1A in the octopus brain using immunolabeling and epifluorescence microscopy.

Currently, Paulette is pursuing her Ph.D. at the Goda Unit, where she is learning patch-clamp electrophysiological techniques. Her research interests lie in exploring the interplay between Homeostatic and Hebbian synaptic plasticity and how they contribute to the long-term storage of memory in mice.



Saori Araki, Research Assistant
Email: saori.araki at

Sharon Babar, Rotation Student
Email: s.babar at

Tomoe Furuya, Research Unit Administrator
Email: tomoe.furuya at


  • Aurellia Ramara Winaya, Rotation Student (Jan - April 2024)
  • Tetiana Salamovska, Research Intern (Sep 2023 - Feb 2024)
  • Anna Pavlovska, Rotation Student (Sep - Dec 2023)
  • Natsumi Sadaoka, Research Intern (Aug - Oct 2023)
  • Hiroki Tokizaki, Research Intern (May - Sep 2023)
  • Sten Uijtewaal, Research Intern (Apr - Sep 2023)
  • Sofia Lloyd-Escribano, Research Intern (Oct 2022 - Jul 2023)
  • Prof. Christian RosenmundSabbatical Professor (Sep 2022 - Jun 2023)
  • Amy Xia Yi Yong, Rotation Student (Jan - Apr 2023)
  • Maj Liiwand, Research Intern (Oct 2022 - Feb 2023)
  • Chisako Kitayama, Research Intern (Oct 2022 - Jan 2023)