Lab Members

Tae Woo Ryu, Research Unit Group Leader
taewoo.ryu2 at

Twitter @ravasi_lab

I majored in Genomics and completed my PhD at the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST). After fell in love with coral reef and tropical fish, I have devoted myself to investigate how the coral reef creatures have evolved and respond to a rapid changing environments. As a Group Leader of Marine Climate Change Unit, I'm working on the front line of climate change biology to learn how tropical fish (especially fish of the Ryukyu Islands) behave and acclimate by ocean warming.


Roger Huerlimann, Postdoctoral Scholar
roger.huerlimann at

Twitter @RogerHuerlimann

Roger Huerlimann is a post-doctoral researcher in the Marine Climate Change Unit. Before joining OIST, Roger completed a PhD at James Cook University (JCU) in Australia, and spent the next five years there working as a post-doc in the Center for Sustainable Tropical Fisheries and Aquaculture and the Centre for Tropical Water and Aquatic Ecosystem Research (TropWATER). During this time, Roger worked on several commercial important aquaculture (barramundi, black tiger prawn, and silver lipped pearl oyster) and fisheries species (coral trouts), as well as other marine species (green sea turtles, hammerhead sharks and sawfish). Roger has extensive experience in carrying out and supervising molecular biology and genomics related research from the laboratory through to completing all required bioinformatic analyses. This includes sequencing, assembly and annotation of genomes and transcriptomes, metabarcoding (bacterial 16S, fungal ITS, eukaryotic 12S or COI), viral/bacterial metagenomics and eDNA research (field, lab and analysis protocols).

Erina Kawai, Research Unit Scientific Diver
erina.kawai at

Twitter @aroeriiiiina

I graduated from the University of Ryukyu with an MSc in Marine Biology. My main jobs at the Marine Climate Change Unit are, 1) assit all unit's members with field work and fish collection in Japan and around the world and 2) to make coworkers smile. I love the sea, scuba diving, dogs, sweets and Okinawa.


Jeffrey Jolly, Research Unit Technician
jeffrey.jolly at

Twitter @ravasi_lab

I’m happy to share my background in molecular biology, marine fieldwork, and animal husbandry as a member of the Marine Climate Change Unit. I originally joined OIST in 2016 as the manager of the cephalopod operations in Daniel Rokhsar’s Molecular Genetics Unit where I worked to pioneer the emerging laboratory model cephalopod, Euprymna berryi, and helped describe several unknown Okinawan species of cephalopods. I’m originally from Florida where I earned my BSc in pre-medicine with a focus in molecular biology at the University of West Florida. After graduating I joined Hui-Min Chung’s cell signaling laboratory as a research assistant while simultaneously becoming peripherally involved in marine science research. I’m interested in being on the leading edge of climate change research and learning more about life in the sea. I usually spend my free time doing Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, or in the water surfing, freediving, or SCUBA diving.

Chengze Li, Research Unit Technician

Twitter @ravasi_lab

I graduated from Hokkaido University at the end of 2019. When I was a doctoral student, my research focused on phylogenetic and molecular biological study on nitrogen transporters in red seaweeds. My main work here is to assist the research projects by using molecular biological techniques. I am very happy to join Marine Climate Unit and looking forward to learning new things. Apart from science, I enjoy my time with family, ping-pong, snowboarding and exploring Okinawa. Okinawa is a beautiful place to live, and OIST is wonderful place to do science.

Radmila Neiman, Fish Husbandry Technician
radmila.neiman3 at

Twitter @ravasi_lab

I graduated from Ben Gurion University in Israel, with a Bachelor Degree in Medical Laboratory Science, where I did bioinformatics research, and worked at the local hospital. I then joined a material engineering lab at Penn State University. Now, I am tending to the lovely animals in the marine research labs here at OIST! Having lived a few years on this beautiful island, it has become a character in my family’s life, with its own personality and quirks. Every day, I continue my conversation with it, by exploring its hidden places.

Gelyn Bourguignon, Fish Husbandry Technician
Gelyn.Bourguignon at

Twitter @ravasi_lab

Being at OIST allows me to enjoy the beauty of nature and the view of the ocean everyday. I love living the Okinawan chill and stress-free life. Joining the Marine Climate Change Unit, I am excited to learn new things and acquire new skills. I am responsible for making the marine fishes happy and giving these lovely creatures an enjoyable life in the world we created for them. In my free time, aside from exploring the island with my family, I like to study Nihongo, sing in karaoke and in the process, damage the eardrums of the unfortunate audience. Yoroshiku onegaishimasu.

Michael Izumiyama, Graduate Student
michael.izumiyama at

Twitter @ravasi_lab

I graduated from San Francisco State University with my MSc in Marine Biology, where I looked at the reproductive strategy of surfperches, a unique family of fishes that give live birth. Fishes have always had a special place in my heart, and I am particularly interested in evolution and speciation in fishes. My hobbies are diving, swimming, and fishing, but I also enjoy time outside of the water and love a good laugh!


Billy Moore, Graduate Student
billy.moore at

Twitter @ravasi_lab

I completed an undergraduate degree at Swansea University, before graduating from the University of Essex with an MSc in Tropical Marine Biology. During my studies I completed internships at the University of Western Australia and The Observatoire Oceanologique de Villefranche, where I investigated the effects of ocean acidification on coral and coralline algae from extreme environments. I am now a first year PhD student in the Ravasi Unit where I will investigate the impacts of environmental change on coral reef fish. I love all sports, the ocean and exploring new exciting places, making Okinawa the perfect place for me!


Jodi Thomas, Visiting Research Student
jodi.thomas at | jodi.thomas at

Twitter @jodithea2

I am a PhD candidate at James Cook University, Australia, supervised by Prof. Philip Munday and Dr. Sue-Ann Watson, and collaborating with the Marine Climate Change Unit at OIST. My thesis is investigating the neurobiological mechanisms through which elevated CO2 affects marine invertebrate behaviours, focusing on squid. I completed my Bachelor of Science (Honours) in Neuroscience at the University of Otago, New Zealand. My honours project, and following work as a research assistant, focused on the neuroendocrine regulatory and molecular mechanisms underlying female-to-male sex change in sequentially hermaphroditic fish. I am interested in the intersection of neuroscience and zoology, and the role of the brain in behaviour and phenotypic plasticity. Outside of research, I enjoy craft projects including pottery, sewing and candle making. I also enjoy getting into the outdoors and camping.


Ayşe Haruka Oshima Açıkbaş , Graduate Student
AyseHaruka.Oshima at

Twitter @ac_haruka

I completed my undergraduate studies in Biological Sciences at Carnegie Mellon University in Qatar, where I investigated putative cis-regulatory modules for skeletonization in sea urchins and the markers of cancer-associated fibroblasts. Now as a PhD candidate doing marine biology for the first time, I would like to study the tropicalization phenomenon in Japan and its impact on the biodiversity using eDNA methods. I absolutely love the sea here and enjoy exploring, playing the piano and talking to my parakeet Fıstık.


Kaisar Dauyey, Special Research Student
Kaisar.Dauyey at

Twitter @ravasi_lab

My passion for ocean and research on climate change comes from experiences around the world. I've spend several months working on computational neuroscience in Lausanne, Switzerland as well as studying photoacoustics in Cambridge, UK and stem cell biology in Tsukuba, Japan during my undergraduate years at Nazarbayev University (NU) in Kazakhstan. I've then jumped into my graduate medical degree at NU School of Medicine. As part of my research training I've completed several internships in University of Queensland working on computational biology of autoimmune diseases in elderly and children. I've then enrolled in a PhD course at the SOKENDAI University, Department of Genetics in 2019 studying ancient human genomes as well single-cell RNA-sequencing in zebrafish. My current work is focused on understanding of genomic changes in tropical fish in response to ocean warming.

Naomi Asato, Research Intern
Naomi.Asato at

Twitter @ravasi_lab

I graduated from the University of Minnesota with a degree in global health and pre-medicine, focusing on environmental impacts on health. During my undergraduate studies, I had an internship providing academic lessons to high school students in multiple medicine and healthcare conferences at Harvard Medical School, UCLA, and American University. Though my studies are focused on global health with prior lab experience as a research assistant at the Institute of Child Development, I have always been passionate about the ocean and marine life. Thus, I am very excited for the opportunity to learn and work in marine science research. Being from Okinawa, I am so happy to return to the island after completing my studies in the U.S. and learning more about the impact climate change has on marine life. In my free time, I enjoy surfing, snorkeling, running, reading, and spending time with my family here in Okinawa!

Yoko Shintani, Research Unit Administrator
yoko.shintani at

Twitter @yoko_the_ocean

I joined OIST in April 2018 coming from working in scientific publishing at Nature Japan in Tokyo. My role at the Marine Climate Change Unit is to provide administrative support to Prof. Timothy Ravasi and the other unit members, helping them to smoothly reach their research goals. I'm truly delighted to work close to marine scientists while embracing the stanning marine environment surrounding Okinawa and the Ryukyu archipelago. My passions are the ocean and Wushu.