PhD students of the team:

Salvatore Andrea Lacava, PhD student (Sept 2018 - )

He joined nRIM in September 2018. He has done a master in Cognitive Science, studying the application of MRI technology in the diagnosis of demyelinating diseases. Then he moved to Okinawa to take a more “fundamental” approach to neuroscience, and this is how he ended up being fascinated by the tail movement in mice. During his PhD he would like to characterize the tail kinematic and its function in balance and neuronal representation across the nervous system.
In his first year in nRIM he was awarded the JSPS Research Fellowships for Young Scientists, and he was selected to participate to TENSS, an amazing summer school where he learnt to build a 2p microscope, a behavioral set-up for animal tracking, and much more!
In his spare time he enjoy taking long walks to the beach, playing with cats and watching musicals. He also plays viola in the Okinawa Symphonic Orchestra.

Thesis proposal exam ("
A study on neuronal control of mouse tail in balance") pass September 2019

Lakshmipriya Swaminathan, PhD student (Sept 2019 -)

I joined the nRIM unit in May 2019 as a rotation student. I have a BSc in physics, chemistry and mathematics and a MSc. in theoretical physics and am hence a physicist by background. Here at OIST I am interested in using my background as a physicist to decipher the workings of biological systems. As part of my rotation at the nRIM unit I would like to gain a better understanding of the connection between movement and the cerebellum, and in general gain better insight into dealing with biological data.

In my free time I like exploring the island by bike, playing the piano, and singing.

Yang Mi, PhD student (co-supervision with Ishikawa unit) (September 2019- )

I joined this unit in September 2019 as a co-supervised student. Before coming to OIST, I received my BSc (Bioengineering) and MSc (Neurobiology) degrees from China. I have always been fascinated by transdisciplinary findings of how the immune system impacts the nervous. During my PhD, I would like to investigate how immunological imbalance contribute to the cerebellar deficits in autism. Here in nRIM, I am enjoying monitoring and quantifying balance performance in autistic-like mouse model. In my free time, I enjoy being a fan of ARASHI.

Deviana David, PhD student (September 2020 - )

I joined the unit in September 2020, few months after doing rotation in the lab. Before coming to OIST, I had my BSc in Psychology from Indonesia and MSc in Neuroscience from the UK. I’m interested to study the anatomy and functional properties of inferior olive neurons and how it affects movement. I learned some basic experimental techniques during my rotation with the lab and I’m excited to learn other cool techniques to study the neurons throughout my PhD. Besides of my exciting (and challenging also) PhD life, I enjoy exploring the island, having a good coffee, cakes and foods!

Tara Turkki, PhD student (January 2023 - )

I joined the unit in January 2023 after my rotation. During that rotation at the nRIM unit, I studied the effects of GCaMP expression in the inferior olive, in terms of mouse motor function (or dysfunction). For this project I designed and conducted a battery of behavioral tests on mice injected with AAV-delivered GCaMP6s. I obtained my BSc in biochemistry and cell biology with a minor in psychology at Jacobs University Bremen, Germany and have come to OIST to focus my research to the field of neuroscience. My interests began back in high school when I first had the opportunity to get a glimpse into the power and potential of research in terms of long-term improvement of human health, as well as expanding the limits of our knowledge of the brain. Throughout my PhD, I aim to reach for that potential, never stop asking questions, and learn new things with every new obstacle that I face, while also having fun on the way.
In my free time I try to focus on my personal fitness and enjoy outdoor activities like snorkeling and hiking, but also love to spend a rainy day at home watching movies.