Faculty and Research

The professoriate at OIST numbers about 60 faculty members with strongly international backgrounds, each leading cutting edge research in a range of disciplines. OIST does not have traditional academic departments, but you can use the tabs or keyword search to find faculty members according to their discipline or research topics. For information about the availability of PhD student placement in each unit, please refer here. 

To learn more about the Marine Biophysics Unit (Satoshi Mitarai) visit the unit website
Satoshi Mitarai
BS, MS, Osaka Prefecture University
PhD, The University of Washington

The Marine Biophysics Unit examines how ocean currents affect the marine life of hydrothermal vents and coral reefs around Okinawa. Using buoy deployments, population genetics, computer modeling, remotely and wave-operated vehicles, and physical oceanographic measurements, the Unit is mapping the Kuroshio current circulation, tracking larval dispersal, hunting for the source of an invasive coral-eating sea star, and monitoring plankton health. 

Simone Pigolotti
Ph.D. Statistical and Biological Physics (SISSA/ISAS, 2004)
Degree in Physics (University of Rome)

The Biological Complexity Unit studies how stochastic fluctuations affect the dynamics of biological systems. We are interested in phenomena ranging from accuracy of molecular reactions inside cells to population genetics of aquatic microorganisms transported by fluid flows. We aim at understanding the behavior of these systems by applying analytical techniques from non-equilibrium statistical mechanics and computational approaches.

Biological Complexity Unit (Simone Pigolotti)
To learn more about the Marine Genomics Unit (Noriyuki Satoh) visit the unit website
Noriyuki Satoh
PhD, The University of Tokyo

Sequencing the genomes of the major marine phyla helps explain relationships between organisms, both in terms of large-scale evolution and within their ecosystems. The Marine Genomics Unit’s ability to quickly sequence large genomes has made the lab the first to decode the genetic sequences of a coral and a mollusk. The Unit also has found evidence of a common ancestor that links humans to sea stars.

To learn more about the Evolutionary Neurobiology Unit (Hiroshi Watanabe) visit the unit website
Hiroshi Watanabe
B.S. (Tokai University)
M.S. (Tokyo Institute of Technology)
Ph.D. (Tokyo Institute of Technology)

The Evolutionary Neurobiology Unit investigates basic developmental and physiological nature of the nervous system. We study new experimental models of cnidarians and other basal metazoans with cutting-edge techniques in genetics and neuro-imaging. An ultimate goal of our unit is to provide new insights into our understanding of the early evolutionary processes of the cellular “neuronalization” and neural centralization.