Dr. Mak Saito is a senior Scientist in the Marine Chemistry and Geochemistry Department at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Woods Hole Massachusetts. He received his Ph.D from the MIT-Woods Hole Joint Program in Chemical Oceanography, and did his postdoctoral and undergraduate studies at Princeton University and Oberlin College, respectively. He was awarded a Moore Foundation Marine Microbial Investigator Award and was named a Kavli National Academy of Science Fellow in 2012. His research interests include the global biogeochemical cycling of chemical elements and using that knowledge to promote sustainable human economies. The Saito laboratory studies the interactions between metals and microbial life using a combination of cutting-edge analytical chemistry and proteomic technologies.
The Saito laboratory notably developed a new diagnostic method called “targeted metaproteomics” that can be applied to complex communities of microbes (or microbiomes) in natural environments such as the oceans. This method was adapted from proteomic technologies used to detect disease biomarkers in human cancer patients. Dr. Saito has also been involved in large-scale ocean surveys of trace metal micronutrients, such as those of the GEOTRACES program.
The scientific questions relate to understanding the geographical distributions, chemical transformations, and ecological and biochemical importance of bioactive metals and micronutrients in the modern ocean. Their laboratory focuses on adapting and developing complex analytical chemistry and biomedical proteomic techniques for use on natural samples and physiological culture experiments in order to gain insights into these areas of study.