Kazumasa Z. Tanaka, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor

I grew up in Fujisawa, Japan. I’m a father of two kids. I enjoy a hectic life with my family.
I always find it difficult to define my expertise because I got my undergraduate education in molecular biology, was trained in psychology during PhD, and did a postdoc in physiology. If I had to say, I like to consider myself a psychologist who uses biological/physiological approaches.


Damien Mercier, Ph.D.
Staff Scientist


Hiroto Ashitomi, M.Sc.
Technical Staff



Lorena Andreoli, M.Sc.
Ph.D. Student

I was born and raised in Brasilia - Brazil, where I completed my BSc in Psychology. I then moved across the country to pursue a MSc in Neuroengineering where I worked with animal models of psychiatric diseases. I moved to Okinawa in 2018 and have been working at Neurobiology Research Unit and Memory Research Unit for my PhD. Besides work, I enjoy going to the beach, playing sports, and spending time with my friends and dog :)


Viviane Saito, Ph.D.
Postdoctoral Researcher

I am a Psychologist, MSc. in Neurobiology, and Ph.D. in Sciences, with a strong background in Behavioral Neurosciences, Animal Models of Psychiatric Disorders, and Neuropharmacology. In 2017, I moved to Japan as a JSPS Postdoctoral Fellow and my project focused on the role of gut microbiota-brain axis in Autism Spectrum Disorders. I continued my knowledge pursuit as Technical Staff on the cellular and molecular basis of long-term synaptic plasticity in the cerebellum. Since 2020, I have joined OIST and the Memory Research Unit to investigate the fascinating mechanisms of memory, from molecules to behavior. My research interests are broad and I am truly enthusiastic about challenging myself to new fields and diversifying my experiences.


Tomoka Yoseyama
Research Intern

I am a senior studying biology at Minot State University in North Dakota, the US. I am originally from Ishigaki island in Okinawa, and I moved to the US after I graduated from high school. I am interested particularly in the brain which controls behaviors. I joined Memory Research Unit at OIST as a research intern in order to learn research skills involving behavioral neuroscience, and I am passionate about learning new things about neuroscience. Besides work, I like interacting with animals, talking to my friends, and listening to music. I am so excited to get new experience in neuroscience here at OIST.


Thato Mokhothu, B.Sc.
Ph.D. Student

Hailing from Maseru, Lesotho, I pursued a Bachelor’s degree in Bremen, Germany where I received my qualification in Cognitive Psychology and Neuroscience. There I worked on understanding the neural correlates of habits and addictions and researched the strategies for their neuromodulation in humans. I joined the Memory Research Unit because of my fascination with hippocampus research in memory and my aim to better understand how neurological diseases affect it. Outside of the lab, I enjoy dancing (I’m a loyal member of the OIST Brazilian Dance Club), exploring this pristine island, and going out to sing karaoke with friends.


Keiko Nakamura
Research Unit Administrator


Miyu Nambu
Research Intern

I graduated in BSc Neuroscience at University of Leeds, UK. I am interested in memory impairment in neurocognitive disorders and psychiatric disorders. I believe that studying the mechanism of memory will eventually help to elucidate these disorders. As an intern student I would like to treasure the opportunities to build up my knowledge and skills for further research. In leisure time, I love to spend time with animals (especially cats) and concern about animal welfare.


David Bierbrauer
Ph.D. Student



Yu-Ju Lin, M.Sc.
Rotation Student

I received my BSc in Life Science and MSc in Neuroscience at National Tsing Hua University, Taiwan. There, I investigated the role of Nucleus Reuniens in trace fear conditioning in rats. I joined the Memory Research Unit at OIST in 2021 to develop my research skills and to obtain a better understanding of learning and memory. In my free time, I like to hang out with friends, watch a new anime/show/movie, and explore this beautiful island.


Josefine Reuschenbach
Rotation Student

After attending an interdisciplinary M.Sc. program in Developmental, Neural and Behavioral Biology in Germany, I decided to further focus on Neuroscience. For my master thesis I investigated transcriptomic differences of oligodendrocytes between humans and mice at the Max Planck Institute of Experimental Medicine. For my first lab rotation at OIST I joined the Memory Research Unit and can hopefully broaden my knowledge about brain mechanisms of storing information. In my free time I love doing sports, play board games and enjoy time with friends.


Lab Alumni


Chie Narai
Research Unit Administrator


Shuhei Hara
GAP Program Student