Unit Members

Welcome to the nRIM lab! Below, you can find short introductions of our lab members - for more information on their professional profiles, click on the links in the menu on the right.

Marylka Yoe Uusisaari, PI

uusisaari@oist.jp

Science is a life-long trek where true rewards come from the journey itself, not from reaching career milestones. We do not reach for the low-hanging fruits of discovery for prospects of wealth or prestige. Instead, we seek to answer fundamental questions even if their impact would be felt only decades later.  
 
I have been on this road for longer than some others, having been mentored by many, and now it is my turn to help you on your way to become the best scientist you can be. I promise to be tough and demanding; I will not give you easy answers or ready-made goals.  
 
I believe that nothing of importance can be achieved in science by secrecy, petty competition or selfishness; in addition to hard work, the best scientific achievements demand individual inspiration and motivation as well as teamwork. 

Dr. Alexander Kuck, Postdoc

alexander.kuck@oist.jp

I am a Biomedical Engineer mainly focusing on understanding, decoding and controlling the behavior of neural circuits, with possible applications in basic neuroscience and rehabilitation engineering. Modern neuro-scientific research is a fascinating field, evolving to become more demanding, interdisciplinary and collaborative by the minute. Within this neural maze of never ending scientific questions, I enjoy bridging technology and science to tackle extraordinarily hard questions. With an ever-increasing scientific complexity, I believe that good science can only evolve from an open, inspiring and collaborative environment.

I am currently establishing the hardware/software framework for a real-time motion capture experiments to allow the decoding of motor-related brain circuitry, especially those related to olivo-cerebellar motor pathways. My spare time I spend doing sports (martial arts, cycling) as well as working on my artistic skills. 

Dr. Aysen Gurkan Ozer, Research Technician

aysen.gurkan

I joined Neuronal Rhythms in Movement (nRIM) Unit in April 2017 and started to learn something totally different; Neuroscience! Considering my background all in engineering, joining this unit is one of the most challenging decisions I have ever made in my life; to become a surgeon! But, I am so lucky that everyone in the lab are very well-equipped in both theoretical and practical knowledge and they are great in patience. My personal motivation for catching up my team is: "The ones considering not to have rest never get tired!" M.K.ATATURK

My concentration, for now, is helping my team to reach and image the deepest regions of brain effectively with the least damages by my surgeries. In the future, my interest might be repairing the inferior olive tissue damages at the cellular level via photo-thermal interactions by laser light.

Dr. Bogna Ignatowska-Jankowska, Postdoc 

BOGNA.IGNATOWSKA

My scientific interests focus on the neurobiological basis of behavior as well as use of neuropharmacological and genetic tools to modify behavior. I am particularly interested in the function of the endocannabinoid system and effects of its modulation on behavior and physiology. The therapeutic utility of the modulation of the endocannabinoid system has been known for millennia, but only recently-developed tools allow this with minimal side effects. My interests focus on better understanding of the function of this system, which will help in future development of new, more effective therapeutic strategies. Moreover, my interests include neurobiological mechanisms of reward, motivated and goal-directed behaviors, substance abuse, and neuropsychiatric disorders. 

I believe that good science is hypothesis-driven and well-controlled, but also should be efficient, which can be ensured by careful and appropriate experimental design, project management, strategic planning, and project optimization. Moreover, peer mentoring and leadership play a key role in successful project development. Success in science is not only conducting the research but also interpretation and communication of the results, utilization of data and transfer of knowledge.

Dr. Da Guo, Postdoc

da.guo@oist.jp

Neuronal circuit is my main interest. I previously worked in pathological pain field. I wanted to try something different from the PhD study and widen my view in neuroscience. Luckily, I found the nRIM, a little gem in Pacific Ocean, with intriguing projects and fantastic people when I was looking for post doc opportunities. I’m currently investigating the role of activity of inferior olive in movement with in vivo recording methods.

Friends usually call me with my full name, Guo Da (not Gouda, the cheese, though it’s easier to remember), since the given name, Da, is too short. Out of lab, I enjoy playing tennis, holding movie/game nights (usually accompanied with nice tea).

Dr. Kevin Dorgans, Postdoc

kevin.dorgans@oist.jp

My principal focus is to understand how sensorimotor information is processed by brain cells. More precisely, to study how neuronal networks are sensitive to an environment in perpetual change. I am also deeply interested in climbing, Aikido, running or any kind of outdoor activity … maybe that’s why my brain feels concerned by sensorimotor inputs, who knows?
In the team, I have the unique opportunity to combine different tools for studying neuronal networks such as the study of synaptic neurotransmitter release behavior, calcium and voltage imaging and much more. Now, the challenge for me is to start working on terra incognita; the inferior olive. Indeed, I like challenging myself a lot and being post-doc in the team is a good place for that. It might be the best opportunity for me to perform cutting-edge science into a free and serene environment.

 

Ms. Saeko Hedo, Research Unit Administrator

saeko.hedo

I am very happy to be a member of Yoe Team (Uusisaari Unit)! Like building a machine with big or small, keen and complicated parts, Prof. Uusisaari is developing a great team in one year. To make the team stronger and heart-warming, I would like to support all the team members as much as I can.

 

I don’t have a scientific back-ground but hope to share some scientific interests with members. I also hope all the lab members to enjoy Okinawa and OIST life, and one of their good memories in their science life.