Mart Toots

Märt Toots

A third year student, Mart Toots came to OIST from Tallinn, Estonia. There he earned both his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in mathematical statistics, and studied a great deal of computer science as well. “I heard about OIST quite by chance,” Mart recalls. “It is such an exotic location, and the philosophy of the school is different. Plus, Japan is exciting. It all seemed exciting and I wanted to try it.”

Now studying structural cellular biology, Mart thinks back on how his outlook on a Ph.D. study has changed by coming to OIST. “I didn’t really want to stay in the exactly same field… but rather apply what I have learned so far in a different research field. OIST offered a great opportunity to do something like that.” His research focuses on using tiny crystals to aid in the creation of three dimensional models of organic proteins. “It involves a lot of software development and implementing statistical and mathematical ideas. But you also get to do a lot of wet lab work preparing samples and using a range of powerful microscopes.”

Now in the third year of his Ph.D. studies, Mart feels the exposure to many cultures, in particular their different ways of thinking, is what he values most. “My view of the world has branched accordingly, especially my insights into research, because you get to talk to so many people from different backgrounds.” But as someone who also loves the outdoors, Mart is also quick to add that “Okinawa is a great place to relax when you want to get outside to do something physical.”

Autumn 2014