Dr. Madhuri Gade, Postdoctoral Fellow
I joined OIST as a Postdoc in November 2017 with Dr. Paola Laurino after completing my Ph.D. in Organic chemistry under the supervision of Dr. Raghavendra Kikkeri from IISER Pune. Before I worked as Project assistant in National Chemical Laboratory, Pune. I completed my masters in 2011 from Pune University in organic chemistry. My current research interest is focus on cofactor engineering for RNA modifications. My specific aims are engineering S-adenosyl methionine to study epigenetics modifications and engineering of enzymes to accept unnatural cofactor. A bioorthogonal system to study RNA modification in vivo.
Dr. Babak Bakhshinejad, Postdoctoral Fellow
Dr. Bhanu Chouhan, Postdoctoral Fellow
Bhanu (born in Indore, India, 1985) received his Masters degree in Bioinformatics from the University of Turku, Finland in 2009. In 2016, he obtained his PhD degree from the Structural Bioinformatics Laboratory (SBL), Department of Biochemistry, Åbo Akademi University, Finland, under the supervision of Professor Mark S. Johnson and Docent Konstantin Denssiouk.
His doctoral research has focused on deciphering the evolutionary history of heterodimeric cell-surface receptors known as Integrins that mediate cell-cell, cell-extracellular matrix and cell-pathogen interactions. Herein, he sought to identify when the constitutive integrin domains first arose and when the mammalian-type functionalities first appeared.
Since March 2018, Bhanu is a Postdoctoral researcher at the Protein Engineering and Evolution Unit under the supervision of Dr. Paola Laurino. His research work at OIST focuses on the ancestral resurrection of ancient enzymes coupled with the wet lab based directed evolution in order to gain novel insights into their (enzyme's) evolutionary trajectories and resurrect mutants with desired properties.
Dr. Gen-ichiro Uechi, Technician
I'm Uechi. I joined in Apr. 2019. I was born in Okinawa and got a Ph.D. at the University of the Ryukyus.
I want to spread the beauty of Okinawa and want to be a bridge with younger generation.
Mr. Stefano Pascarelli, PhD Student
I have always been fascinated by is evolution, and how it is able to explain how complex life developed from a simple mixture of atoms. It takes place in so many scales, from proteins to populations. Exploring evolution means understanding the forces involved in developing complexity, and who knows, maybe even being able to reproduce them. I want evolution to be a prominent topic during my time at OIST. Specifically, protein evolution and the different levels of complexity a protein can achieve in evolve.
OIST is a place that really represents my ideologies in science. It is a peaceful place where collaborate with each other towards a common goal is possible. It is the best environment for scientists to make a difference in their field.
We must never forget that science is a community. On one side, it allows the knowledge to be accessible and shared, like a magic wallet that makes everyone that possess it equally richer by anyone’s contribution. On the other side, a community of humans is not new to mistakes, but in this case, the history of the past can help us correct them.
I believe in a borderless scientific community, if not the whole Earth’s community, without discriminations. The instinct of segregating in small, aggressive groups served us well during evolution. Now, it is a dangerous remain of the past, that might annihilate Humanity. I am considerate towards tolerating the differences, learning from another culture, respecting other ideals up to the limit of rationality. The only way to do so is to dive deep in the melting pot. To be an experience to the others as much as they are to you. Static environments more hardly lead to progress.
Mr. Dan Kozome, Gap Program Student
I was born and raised in Tokyo and moved to Okinawa in 2013. I obtained my Master's degree in Agriculture from the University of the Ryukyus in 2019. In the University, I was engaged in thermostabilizing an enzyme and in creating chimera enzymes by protein engineering.
I am currently doing the Gap program at Protein Engineering and Evolution Unit before starting my PhD program in OIST.
I am so glad to come back OIST as a PhD student and to work with wonderful members.
Ms. Upasana Pal, Research Intern
The idea of every living creature’s origin and evolution to be encrypted using just four alphabets A, T, G, C inspired me to pursue biology as a career. I have completed my graduation in Microbiology and Master’s in Biotechnology. Amongst the various genres of biology I harbor a deep interest in Proteomics. My previous projects include, ‘Kinetics of lysozyme aggregation with small molecules’ (Master’s thesis) and ‘Generation of αamylase mutants using Site-directed mutagenesis and site saturation libraries and evaluation of protein expression’ (Industrial training, R&D, Novozymes south asia pvt ltd.)
Currently I am working as a Research Intern under the guidance of Dr. Paola Laurino on the project, ‘Cloning and characterizing HMAT2A mutants with efficient S-adenosyl methionine activity.
I am extremely grateful to Paola and OIST for giving me this opportunity to work here. OIST being such a melting pot of culture provides an excellent atmosphere for both academic and personal well-being, and Okinawa is a paradise for nature lovers like me with its pristine beaches and magnificent blue waters.
Ms. Nonno Hasegawa, Research Intern
I'm a fourth year undergraduate student at University of Guelph in Ontario, Canada. I was born and raised in Kanagawa but flew out to Canada for my studies. I have 20 months of research experience, of which 8 from UBC working with Dr. Foster at a proteomics lab, and 12 from Guelph with Dr. Merrill at a protein lab. With both labs I worked on honey bee diseases and pathogens. I am truly in love with the world of honey bees, they are wonderful creatures.
My current interest lies in expanding my horizon with molecular biology and enzymology work. OIST has offered an astonishing experience working in a beautiful environment with amazing researchers.
Ms. Sachie Matsuoka, Unit Research Administrator