Maiko Kitaoka

Hi, I’m Maiko! I am a PhD student in Rebecca Heald’s lab in the Department of Molecular and Cell Biology at the University of California, Berkeley. I graduated from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2016 with my bachelor’s in biology and a minor in French. I’m interested in studying mechanisms of cell division and size scaling in using various species of Xenopus frogs, including Xenopus hybrids. Find more details on my research experiences and publications on my Research page.

Science is a huge part of my life, and I hope to become a leader in biological science, not only through research but also through mentorship and good scientific communication. Through my science outreach, I share my experiences and love of biology with other aspiring students. As a life-long writer, I’m also committed to making scientific communication and publishing as effective as possible. I write mainly for two science writing outlets, preLights and the Berkeley Science Review, while also keeping a personal blog here.

In addition to science, I’m an avid bookworm, writer, dancer, occasional photographer, and I love to travel. I love to laugh and have a good time with my friends and family. If I’m not in the lab, you’ll probably find me curled up with a cup of something deliciously warm and a good book or my latest story. Some of my favorite books include The Little PrinceJane EyreSherlock Holmes, among others. I love history as well, including scientific history, so I also really enjoyed Siddartha Mukherjee’s The Gene.

I used to dance pre-professionally before beginning college – I trained at the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School at American Ballet Theatre in New York City throughout high school. Although I am not dancing at that level anymore, I still enjoy dancing and have even tried my hand at choreography, so you might find me twirling around a studio. Check out my Ballet page for more details, videos, and pictures.