Meet the MEI Team


Hitonobu Tomoike


I am Hitonobu Tomoike, director of Medical and Health Informatics (MEI) Laboratories at NTT Research as well as Research Professor for NTT Basic Research Laboratories. I am a consultant at Sakakibara Heart Institute in Tokyo, Japan, and my background is in Cardiology and Internal Medicine (MD & PhD). Facing many dramatic paradigm shifts in healthcare, I believe medical and health informatics will provide the fundamental game change we need. MEI Laboratories will build the “Bio Digital Twin” upon a solid foundation informed by biosensory innovations, AI and functional nano/micro device technologies and precision medicine.

OUr MEI research team

Joe Alexander

Joe Alexander

Distinguished Scientist

My background is in engineering and medicine. After graduating with a degree in Chemical Engineering from Auburn University, I studied medicine as a fellow of the Medical Scientist Training Program (MSTP) at Johns Hopkins Medical School where I received both M.D. and Ph.D. degrees. My Ph.D. is in Biomedical Engineering, where I specialized in cardiovascular dynamics, training with Dr. Kenji Sunagawa in the laboratory of the late Dr. Kiichi Sagawa. Immediately afterwards, I completed a fellowship in research cardiology at Albert Einstein College of Medicine before additional training as a Japan Society for Promotion of Science (JSPS) Fellow at Kyushu University. I then took academic faculty positions in Biomedical Engineering and in Medicine at Vanderbilt University while simultaneously completing a residency in Internal Medicine at Vanderbilt Hospital. Also, during that time, I helped train astronauts like Dr. Chiaki Mukai for the Neurolab Spacelab Mission. I likewise collaborated with The National Cerebral and Cardiovascular Center as a Visiting Researcher supported by the Science and Technology Agency of Japan. Following academia, I entered Pharma – first Merck, then Pfizer. During my 18 years at Pfizer, I worked in various capacities including Field Medical Director, R&D, Business Development, and Medical Affairs. In Pharma as in academia, my passion for modeling and simulation was evident throughout my work and extended across therapeutic areas. I am credited with creating several Pharma modeling platforms including The Lyrica Virtual Lab, The Neuropathic and Neuropathic-like Pain Virtual Lab, and The Pulmonary Vascular Disease Virtual Lab. Finally, I am a Fellow of the American College of Cardiology (FACC), and I am very interested in heart failure, pulmonary hypertension, and in medical devices.


Yasuyuki Kataoka


I am Yasuyuki Kataoka, a research scientist in Medical and Health Informatics laboratories. My primary interest is the applied R&D in machine learning applications for human performance improvement. This data science work involves time series and heterogeneous data such as vision, audio, text, and IoT sensor signals in healthcare, sports, and automotive industries. My other areas of interest include nonlinear control systems such as self-driving cars and drone systems. When not doing research activities, I enjoy participating in hackathons, where I have won prizes in the healthcare and automotive industries. I hold an MS and BS in mechanical and system engineering from Tokyo Institute of Technology, where I graduated valedictorian.