Ruiyao Marika Cai was born in China and raised in Italy. She earned her B.S. in Biotechnology and M.S. in Biotechnology in Medicine at the University of Milano-Bicocca, in Milan, Italy. At the same university she conducted her Master thesis research elucidating aspects of stroke pathophysiology. In particular, she performed her research in the laboratory of Neurobiology held by Prof. Carlo Ferrarese, with a short period of 4 months as visiting student in the laboratory of Cerebral Ischemia of the University of Oxford held by the Prof. Alastair Buchan.
In 2015, Marika moved to Munich, Germany to join the laboratory of Acute Brain Injury held by Dr. Ali Ertuerk at the Institute for Stroke and Dementia Research (ISD), Ludwig Maximilian University (LMU). At the same time she enrolled into the Graduate School of Systemic Neurosciences which belonged to the LMU. During her doctoral studies Marika developed new tissue clearing technologies to render entire organisms transparent for high resolution 3D imaging, with the aim of studying the effect of brain injuries at whole-body scale.
Currently, she is working as postdoctoral scholar in the lab. of Prof. Marc Tessier-Lavigne, here at Stanford University. Her projects focus on studying the phenomena of neuroplasticity that occur in the adult brain.