Faculty Member

Dr. Paola Laurino

Unit Members

Dr. Madhuri Gade, Postdoctoral Fellow

Email: madhuri.gade[at]

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. Bhanu Chouhan, Postdoctoral Fellow

Email: bhanu.chouhan[at]

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. Mirco Dindo, JSPS Postdoctoral Fellow

Email: mirco.dindo[at]

I was born in Verona (Italy) and I obtained my PhD in Biomolecular Medicine (Curriculum in Biochemistry) at the University of Verona.

I really like proteins from several point of view, catalysis (in particular), conformational changes, different kind of interactions, regulation.. these molecules are amazing! Okinawa is a wonderful place for science and for nature lovers. Currently I am working in the engineering of proteins for the production of non canonical amino acids or for their use as biosensors or marker for early cancer detection. I'm also trying to develop a recipe for scientists, let's see if it works!

Dr. Saacnicteh Toledo Patino, Postdoctoral Fellow

Email: Saacnicteh.ToledoPatino[at]

I was born on May 28th, 1984 in Morelia, Mexico where I studied Chemical Pharmacobiology at UMSNH University (2002-2006). I studied Biochemistry at Eberhard-Karls University of Tuebingen (2008-2013), where I obtained my Masters degree in Protein Design (2013). I obtained my PhD in Biochemistry at the Max Planck Institute for Developmental Biology in the same city (2014-2019). During my doctoral studies I joined the University of Bayreuth as a scientific employee (2016-2019). Since December 2019 I work in Prof. Laurino's unit for Protein Design and Evolution where I carry out projects on the emergence of the Rossmann fold and its ligand diversification. 


Dr. Gen-ichiro Uechi, Technician

Email: Gen-ichiro.Uechi[at]

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

Email: stefano.pascarelli1[at]

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.

Ms. Desirae Martinez, Technician

Email: desirae.martinez[at]

I was born in Arizona, USA. I received my bachelor’s degree in molecular and cellular biology with a minor in Biochemistry from the University of Arizona, where I worked on studying the allosteric activation of type two restriction enzymes in a biochemistry laboratory. I obtained my master’s degree in clinical biochemistry biomedical science from Middlesex university in London where I worked on heparin sulfate glycosaminoglycans and their involvement in preeclampsia. At OIST, I am excited to use my skills in order to study protein evolution through molecular engineering in many different ways.


Ms. Sachie Matsuoka, Unit Research Administrator

Email: sachie.matsuoka[at]