Unit Members


Amy Shen
In 2014, I moved from University of Washington to start my new lab at OIST on micro- and bio-fluidics, and anything squishy! Outside work I enjoy the beach, yoga, and exploring/learning more about Okinawa, a perfect work and living paradise. If you are interested in working with us, feel free to contact me or any unit members.

Group Leader

Simon Haward
I completed my Ph.D in Physics in 2002 under the supervision of Dr. Jeff Odell from the University of Bristol (UK) and Prof. Alejandro Muller from Simon Bolivar University (Venezuela). Following postdoctoral research positions first at Bristol, then at MIT with Prof. Gareth McKinley, I obtained a Marie Curie International Research Fellowship which I carried out at the University of Porto (Portugal). I joined OIST as Group Leader for the Micro/Bio/Nanofluidics (Shen) Unit in September 2014. Away from the lab, my main activity is road cycling. In Okinawa I’m also keen to take up sea kayaking and scuba diving.

Postdoctoral Scholars

Vincenzo Calabrese
After completion of my MSc in Food Technology at Wageningen University (NL), I moved to the University of Bath (UK) to pursue my PhD in Chemistry. The project led by Prof. Karen Edler and Prof. Janet Scott focused on the characterisation of the structural-property relationship of colloidal cellulose nanofibrils in bulk and across liquid-liquid interfaces. I also performed scattering techniques (X-rays and Neutrons) and (non)linear rheology to yield structural information of the colloidal state. I joined the Micro/Bio/Nanofluidics unit as a postdoc in January 2020 to link rheological behaviour and structural properties of complex fluids in microfluidics. Besides lab-related activities, I enjoy playing guitar, cycling, open water swimming, and exploring the tropical island.

Ricardo Arturo Lopez de la Cruz
I am originally from San Luis Potosi, Mexico. In 2014 I finished my bachelor's in Engineering Physics at ITESM in Monterrey, Mexico. In 2015 I moved to The Netherlands to do a 2 years masters supervised by Prof. Devaraj van der Meer at the Physics of Fluids group from the University of Twente. During that time, we worked on shear-thickening suspensions. In 2017 I started my Ph.D. under the supervision of Prof. Detlef Lohse and Prof. Xuehua Zhang. My research projects included the Marangoni instability of evaporating binary and ternary mixtures, the ouzo effect, and the dissolution of droplets. I joined the Micro/Bio/Nanofluidics Unit as a postdoc in March 2022 to study the behavior of complex fluids and their interaction with different kinds of solid structures within microfluidic devices. Outside the lab I like to do bouldering and running. While in OIST I would like to explore Okinawa and get to know more about Japanese culture.

Benjamin Heidt
I completed my Ph.D. in Biosensing under the supervision of Dr. Bart van Grinsven and Prof. Thomas Cleij at Maastricht University in January 2022. My work focuses on 3D printing and biosensing with/of/around microorganisms. In my research regarding 3D printing, I specialized in creating microstructures and microfluidic channels via SLA and mSLA 3D printers, as well as creating a novel method coined Topographical Vacuum Sealing, which combines 3D printing and vacuum forming to decrease the channel size of 3D-printed microfluidic structures. My research regarding biosensing revolves around Point-of-Care diagnostics, especially their use for resource limited settings. Here I use several detection techniques from optical and electrochemical readout methods to more niche applications such as detection via thermal resistance. I joined the Micro/Bio/Nanofluidics unit as a postdoc in April 2022 to continue my research on microfluidic biosensor integration. Next to this I am the founder of Flui.Go Science, a startup that produces microfluidic building blocks to teach the next generation about science.

Murali Mohan Jaligam
I completed my Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from BITS Pilani, Hyderabad, India, under the supervision of Dr. Satish Kumar Dubey and Dr. Sanket Goel in August 2022. During my Ph.D. I focused on developing miniaturized devices for bio and chemical analytes using various microfabrication techniques. I joined the Micro/Bio/Nanofluidics unit as a postdoctoral researcher in December 2022 to continue my research work with microfluidic and miniaturized devices for point-of-care applications using sensitive surface enhancement methods. Besides work, I would like to explore the wonderful Okinawa Island and learn more about Japanese culture.

Eliane Younes
I completed a double-degree program, earning a MSc in Mechanical Engineering from Lebanese University and a MSc in Energy from École Centrale de Nantes. In 2017, I joined the Laboratoire de Thermique et Energie de Nantes (LTeN, France) and obtained my PhD from Nantes University in 2020. Then, I worked as a teaching and research assistant at Polytech' Nantes. In December 2021, I joined IMT Nord Europe as a postdoctoral researcher and in March 2023 I joined the Micro/Bio/Nanofluidics unit as a postdoctoral researcher. My research focuses on the experimental characterization of complex fluids and flows. During my PhD, I worked on chaotic mixing of yield stress fluids. During my postdoc at IMT, I studied the transition to turbulence in an airflow channel equipped with a vortex generator and now I am working on shear and extensional flows of viscoelastic fluid. During my time at OIST, I look forward to discovering Okinawa and other regions of Japan.

Davide Califano
As an extroverted and peaceful character, I enjoy working in a collaborative and sharing environment. During my initial studies I have soon realised that I was interested in the relationship between chemistry and life, so I enrolled for a molecular biology MSc at Pisa University (Italy). There, I enjoyed studying life-science subjects including DNA biotechnologies, microbiology, and biochemistry. In 2017, I started a Ph.D. at the university of Bath on the development of novel cellulose/enzyme hybrid materials. My research project concerned the design of biodegradable materials for mitigating the use of micro-plastics. After my PhD I worked as postdoctoral scientist at Naturbeads Ltd (Bath - UK) where I have focused my research on the biotech applications of bio-based soft materials. Lead by the desire to work in the field of sustainable technologies, I decided to start the Proof of Concept (POC) innovation program here at OIST. My project aims at exploiting microalgae for enhancing sensory characteristics of meat substitutes. Beside work, I love cooking, hiking, taking pictures and travelling so I cannot wait to discover more about Okinawa and Japan.

Research Technicians

Kazumi Toda-Peters
I am originally from Seattle where I received my undergraduate degree in Applied and Computational Mathematical Sciences from the University of Washington. Although my background is in math I am fascinated with the more tangible sciences. I recently moved to Okinawa from Hawaii and I brought a few ukuleles with me. I have a wide range of artistic and physical hobbies but my favorites are woodcarving, hiking/camping, snorkeling, bicycling, music, chess, traveling and general goofiness. OIST is quite an amazing place and I am grateful to be here.

Ph.D. Students

Fabian Hillebrand
I received my BSc and MSc degrees at ETH in Zurich studying Computational Science and Engineering, specializing in (computational) chemistry and physics, respectively. After joining OIST remotely in September 2021, my interest in fluid mechanics started to grow as well as my interest in experiments. I am particularly interested in viscoelastic instabilities and elastic turbulence. Outside of work, I enjoy hiking but still have to get used to the weather in Okinawa.

Jiangming Wu
I completed my BEng degree in Xi’an Jiaotong University in China, mainly studying thermal fluid and droplet dynamics. Then I joined OIST remotely as a PhD student in January 2022. Now I am doing my second rotation here and will join this unit for my thesis research from January 2023. My rotation project is about colloidal alignment, a relatively new topic for me. I really enjoy this learning process and exploring many possibilities of my future research topics with all the other fantastic group members. Outside work, I enjoy reading, photography, playing games and exploring the island. Okinawa is such an interesting place that just walking around randomly or simply enjoying the beautiful ocean view can make me very happy. I also want to try various sea sports, but I guess I have to learn how to swim first.

Arisa Yokokoji
I received my BSc degree in Chemistry and MSc degree in Macromolecular science under the supervision of Prof. Tadashi Inoue from Osaka University in Japan.
I visited Shen unit twice as an intern student (2020 September - December and 2021 July - October). And I got interested in microfluidics during these internships, so I decided to join this unit as a PhD student. My research interests are elastic flow instability and the interaction between flow and geometry. Besides the research, I will enjoy exploring Okinawa and the world.

Mauricio Andres Rios Maciel
I completed both my B.Sc and M. Sc in Biotechnology at ITESM in Mexico City, where I focused on studying hydrogel-based extracellular matrixes and cell culture on-a-chip. Following my interest on microfluidics I joined for an internship at Shen Unit where I further developed my scientific interests. After this, I decided to join OIST and after my rotations I joined the unit as a PhD student.  My research interests are the study of biophysical properties of biological complex fluids and their response to environmental factors. Outside work I like working out, cooking, watching anime and going to concerts.

Rotation Students

Tamara Iakimova
I have completed my BSc and MSc in Lomonosov MSU, Russia, in material science department with my research work mainly focused on drug delivery systems. In these 6 years I’ve explored a lot about different research areas and I agree that the future belongs to interdisciplinarity. During my internship here at OIST I was impressed a lot by a versatile research options and international community, and I am really grateful for being here as a graduate student now. My project here was devoted to 3D-printed biosensors for bacteria, and I plan to proceed with a research in microfluidic devices for biosensing. Besides work I’m planning to explore Okinawa and Japan as much as possible and learn Japanese. In my free time I enjoy TV shows, movies, embroidery and well written books in English and Russian.

Research Fellow 

Kohei Abe (JSPS Postdoc Fellow)
In 2022, I completed my Ph. D degree in Engineering at Tokyo University of Agriculture and Technology under supervision of Prof. Susumu Inasawa. After that I belonged to the same university as a postdoc researcher for one year, including 8-month visiting in Nottingham Trent University (UK) hosted by Prof. Lucas Goehring. In April 2023, I joined Micro/Bio/Nanofluidic Unit in OIST as a research fellow. I have been working on drying kinetics of suspension or emulsion, which is accompanied by alignment, compression and deformation of particles or droplets. In this unit, I intend to work on new project relating to unstable flow or rheology as well as develop my original research area. I believe that my staying in OIST is a great opportunity for me to realize it. I was born in Hokkaido, the north island in Japan, and was originally brought up there for 19 years. I could not have imagined that I went across from north to south in Japan. I am looking forward to visiting a lot of good places in Okinawa!

Research Intern

Yangyul Ju
I am a Ph.D student at Chonnam National University in Korea, and I will be interning at OIST for approximately 5 months. I am engaged in technology research that focuses on analyzing the correlation between the electrochemical properties of batteries. This involves predicting the structure and physical properties of objects by studying the rheological properties of anode slurry used in lithium-ion batteries. Outside of work, I enjoy drinking beer and exercising. I feel deeply honored to be a part of Amy's group.

Ryoma Suzuki
I am an undergraduate intern from the High Throughput Micro-Nano Engineering Laboratory at Toyohashi University of Technology. My internship from September 2023 to December 2023 involves working on tracking and analyzing DNA molecules within microfluidic devices under the guidance of Dr. Vincenzo. In my own research, I am engaged in the development of software that utilizes deep learning to enable real-time tracking of adherent cells. I am extremely grateful for this valuable opportunity. Outside of research, I enjoy basketball, anime, and hot springs.

Silvio Salvatore Bonni
Originally from Dusseldorf in Germany, I completed my bachelor’s degree in natural sciences at Maastricht University in the Netherlands in 2021. During my time there I decided to focus on molecular and synthetic biology. After a short stint of working as a technician in contract research (viral clearance studies), I decided to start a masters in Biomolecular Sciences at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam as part of which I joined OIST as a research intern from oct-23 till mar-24. My internship will be on the development and benchmarking of molecular imprinted biosensors. In my free-time I like to play video games, swimming and going out with friends. I am very grateful for the opportunity to do my internship at Prof. Shen’s Unit and excited to explore Okinawa during my time here.

Research Administrator

Yuno Kaneshi
I was born and grew up in this sub-tropical island. I support the unit members with administrative works and enjoy working with this very interesting group at OIST. Besides work, I like dancing and traveling. I am also interested in languages.