Lab Members




Dr. Nina Patzke

“I am a neuroscientist, with my research focusing on brain evolution. I did my M.Sc in Biochemistry (2005) and my PhD (2009) in Biopsychology, both at the Ruhr-University in Bochum, Germany. In 2010 I moved to South Africa and in 2014 to Brazil to conduct studies on the mammalian brain. Since March 2017 I have been at Hokkaido University. Using the comparative neuroanatomical approach on non-model organisms, I would like to understand how the mammalian brain evolved. I am especially interested in the evolution of large brains”

 See my short CV




Isabel Fernandez, M.Sc

“I did my Master in Marine Aquaculture at the University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria (Spain). Since I can remember, I have always loved marine animals and aquatic environments. During my Master thesis I discovered my passion for histology. Thanks to a MEXT scholarship and driven by that passion, now I am  studying the neuroanatomy of the Baird’s Beaked Whale  at Nina’s Laboratory (Hokkaido University, Japan). A fulfilling work in a great University with excellent companions”

 See my short CV




Jinta Kasai B.Sc

“In April 2018 I joined Nina’s laboratory  after studying basic biology in the Faculty of Science ( Hokkaido University) for 3 years. From early childhood I’ve loved marine mammals, especially seals. Now I am studying the neuroanatomy of the Harbor Porpoise. In my free time, I work as a volunteer at the Maruyama Zoo. It is really fun and meaningful to work with colleagues from various countries in my home country, Japan”





Minasa Kasai

“I’m currently doing my undergraduate degree (BSc) at Hokkaido University and joined this lab as of April 2020. I’m mainly interested in using the comparative neuroanatomy approach to study regions that are commonly thought in humans to be involved in cognition and emotion. I believe that by looking at marine mammals’ brain histology, it can give us a more in-depth understanding as to how these biological concepts have evolved in their specific environment.”




Suzuka Iritani



Technical staff

new TAs

Phua Yong Heng

Phua is an undergraduate student at the Faculty of Life Science who is assisting us in the laboratory.







Mahmutjan Dawut

Mahmutjan Dawut


Hinako Katsushima & Masakazu Hoshino


Asa Watanabe



Zhu Yao