Prior to joining OIST, Gil served as the CEO of Yeda Research and Development Co. Ltd., the technology transfer arm of the Weizmann Institute of Science (one of the leading technology transfer and commercializing organizations in the world). Gil co-chaired ITTN (the Israeli Tech-Transfer Organization) and served on the Academia-Industry Committee of the Israel National Council of Research & Development. Gil is a member of 8400 - The Heath Network, a non-for-profit organization aiming at boosting the heath-tech industry in Israel. In addition to his activities, Gil is advising governments and various for profit and non-for-profit organizations globally on various technology transfer and business development issues. Gil holds an MBA and L.L.B. degrees from Tel Aviv University.
Lauren is responsible for the operations and strategic direction of OIST Innovation, and for overseeing programs to commercialize research at the university, with the goal of making an impact on society and contributing to the self-sustaining development of Okinawa. Prior to joining OIST, Lauren was Vice President of Administration at the Molecular Sciences Institute in Berkeley, California where she played a key role in securing its designation as a national Center of Excellence in Genomic Sciences by the U.S. National Institutes of Health. A native of Vietnam, Lauren received a B.S. in Biological Sciences from the University of South Carolina.
Julie-Anne develops and implements new strategic industry engagement programs to foster international innovation at OIST and in the surrounding community. Prior to joining OIST, Julie-Anne worked as a corporate lawyer (qualified in England & Wales) at global law firm Squire Patton Boggs, where her practice covered a wide spectrum of corporate matters, including international Private Equity/Venture Capital and M&A transactions as well as Equity Capital Market work. A native of France, Julie-Anne has studied and worked in France, Sweden, Slovakia, the UK and Russia prior to relocating to Okinawa, Japan.
Takanari oversees the management and commercialization of OIST’s intellectual property. Prior to joining OIST, Takanari spent 20 years in academia, as a researcher or faculty member at different institutions, including the University of Tokyo, the Ciba-Geigy (Novartis) Friedrich Miescher Institute, the Max Planck Society, RIKEN and the University of Tsukuba, Gene Research Center. Takanari co-founded Inplanta Innovations Inc., a spin-out from RIKEN, also acting as its CTO until joining OIST. Takanari holds a Ph.D. in Science from the University of Tokyo.
Anna oversees the development of industry partnerships, the activities in support of startups connected to OIST, the management of OIST's incubator, and the promotion of entrepreneurship at OIST. Prior to joining OIST, Anna worked at local think-tanks conducting market research and developing overseas sales channels for SMEs and developing regional development plans for local governments. She has also spent 2 years in Uganda working with community groups to develop new businesses. A native of Okinawa, she received a BA from Chuo University and a MA from the University of Hawaii.
Andrea oversees the strategy and operations of our technology development programs, including the Proof of Concept Program and the Technology Pioneer Fellowship. She also provides hands-on support to program participants to transfer innovative ideas into commercial opportunities. Prior to joining OIST, Andrea worked as a Research Associate at the University of Bath (UK) on projects funded by the US Food and Drug Administration and the LEO Foundation. Andrea completed her PhD in Drug Research and Development at the University of Santiago de Compostela, Spain. She is co-inventor of several patents and acts as external scientific advisor to a biotech startup.
Angela supports OIST Innovation’s technology development activities including the Proof of Concept and the Technology Pioneer Fellowship Programs. Prior to joining OIST Innovation, Angela worked for over seven years as an environmental researcher in Japan, first as a JSPS postdoctoral fellow at Riken Yokohama and then as a postdoctoral scholar in the Marine Biophysics Unit at OIST. During her PhD, Angela optimized a plant-based tool to monitor air pollution in Spain. She was a visiting researcher in the UK and Germany before relocating to Japan.
Graham harvests new innovations from OIST researchers and promotes them to potential licensees. Prior to joining OIST, Graham worked as a patent agent and chemical engineer (qualified in Canada and US) at global corporations such as Ricoh, where his role covered a wide spectrum of intellectual property matters, including freedom-to-operate and infringement. A native of Canada, Graham has studied and worked in Canada and the United States prior to relocating to Okinawa.
Paola facilitates the development and commercialization of OIST’s research through licensing and collaboration with industry. Prior to joining OIST, Paola worked for a UK-based start-up as a development chemist, a FTSE100 chemical company as a Technology and Business Development Manager, where she spent 7 years building new businesses and product lines, and a consulting firm as a forensic investigator. She has experience in R&D and product development, intellectual property and new business development, including via M&A. Paola holds a MSc in Chemistry from the University of Fribourg, Switzerland, as well as a PhD in Organometallic and Polymer Chemistry from Imperial College London.
Ryohei explores commercialization opportunities for innovations from OIST and works closely with industry partners in Japan and abroad. He enjoys navigating the languages of diverse scientific and technical fields, from computer science to the life sciences. Prior to joining OIST, Ryohei worked for an intellectual property law firm, managing global patent portfolios and advising clients on business and IP strategies, with focus on the Asian markets. He also co-founded a startup in Tokyo and experienced entrepreneurship first-hand. He holds MSc and JD degrees from the University of Tokyo.
Shigefumi manages OIST’s startup accelerator program and coordinates collaborations between industry partners and OIST researchers. Prior to joining OIST, Shigefumi worked for 15 years at a listed company based in Okinawa, focusing primarily on corporate development activities.
Mari pursues domestic and international corporate collaborations with OIST’s research community and manages OIST Innovation Network (INO) the first industry-affiliates program at OIST, to further engage with industry. Prior to joining OIST, Mari worked in Tokyo, the USA, and Germany taking on different business development roles.
Naomi supports research units applying for corporate related grants and provides day-to-day support to OIST startups. She also coordinates collaborations between industry partners and OIST researchers. Prior to joining OIST, Naomi spent 11 years in International NPO based in Tokyo, dispatched to developing countries as local project manager (African and Asian regions).
Aya coordinates collaborations between industry and OIST researchers as well as managing OIST Innovation’s entrepreneurship programs. Prior to joining OIST, she worked as a Program Officer at a private foundation and a University Research Administrator at Chiba University and Kyoto University where she engaged with researchers to promote research activities. She holds an MA in TESOL from Hawaii Pacific University and an MA in Education (Higher Educational Administration) from the University of Tokyo.
Shinji manages the OIST Innovation Incubator, which fosters deep tech startups connected to OIST. Prior to joining OIST, Shinji worked for 12 years in research and laboratory facilities.