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.

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.

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.

Steffen Michael Recktenwald
I earned my Ph.D. in Chemical and Process Engineering from the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology in Germany under the supervision of Prof. Norbert Willenbacher. During my doctoral studies, I focused on researching polymeric and wormlike micellar solutions, specifically their behavior in strong elongational flow fields. Following my Ph.D., I worked as a postdoctoral researcher with Prof. Christian Wagner at Saarland University. Together, we investigated in vitro blood flow dynamics, employing microfluidic techniques to study red blood cells' behavior in narrow capillaries under different flow conditions. In February 2024, I joined OIST as a staff scientist in the Micro/Bio/Nanofluidics unit, where my research primarily focuses on developing experimental techniques for understanding complex fluids and flows. In particular, we want to understand how viscoelastic polymeric liquids behave in time-dependent extensional flow fields. I am grateful to be a part of the unit and OIST. Outside of work, I'm excited to explore the beauty of Okinawa, its culture, and its cuisine.

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

Vasyl Vaskivskyi
During my rotation in MBNU I am developing a biosensor for detecting herbicide contamination in water. Before coming to OIST, I worked as Bioimaging analyst at Wellcome Sanger Institute in the UK. I finished MSc in Molecular Biology and BSc in Veterinary Medicine in Ukraine. In my free time I enjoy snorkelling and photography.

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!

Pranab K Mondal (JSPS Invitational Fellow)
I am originally from Kolkata, India. I completed my bachelor’s in mechanical engineering from Jadavpur University, Kolkata, India. In 2015, I completed my PhD in Mechanical Engineering, with a focus on field driven microfluidics and microscale transport phenomena, at Indian Institute of Technology Kharagpur (IIT Kharagpur) under the supervision of Prof. Suman Chakraborty. After that I moved to Indian Institute of Technology Guwahati (IIT Guwahati) and joined the Mechanical Engineering department as an Assistant Professor in 2015. I have been working as an Associate Professor in the same department since August 2021. My association with Prof. Gautam Biswas, a legendary academician in the field of thermal-fluid sciences and the former Director of IIT Guwahati, during the period 2015-2019 was truly very inspiring and enriching to me. I visited TU-Darmstadt and Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), Germany in 2022 as a visiting Professor, wherein I have worked on droplet-based microfluidics. In November 2023, I joined the Micro/Bio/Nanofluidics Unit in OIST, Japan as an Invitational Fellow through JSPS. Here at OIST, I plan to work on capillarity and wettability of non-Newtonian fluids. During my stay in this beautiful campus of OIST, I am looking forward to knowing more about Japanese culture and would love to enjoy the scenic beauty of the places in and around.

Yuto Yokoyama (JSPS Postdoc Fellow)
I'm originally from Sendai, Japan. In March 2024, I completed my Ph.D. in the Department of Mechanical Systems Engineering at the Tokyo University of Agriculture and Technology (TUAT) under the supervision of Prof. Yoshiyuki Tagawa. During my Ph.D., I focused on droplet impact and studied the stress field in the elastic substrate when a droplet impacts. Besides this project, I also worked on the flow birefringence of nanocrystals in a flow channel. In April 2024, I joined the Micro/Bio/Nanofluids Unit at OIST as a JSPS postdoc researcher, aiming to understand complex fluids’ flow birefringence behavior. My hobbies, besides research, are drinking, running, cooking, and going to the park and museum. I’m looking forward to doing them in Okinawa:)

Research Intern

Federico Sinnona
I am originally from Italy, and I graduated in December 2023 in Biomedical Engineering at Politecnico di Torino. During my master thesis work, “Development of a 3D in vitro model of the spinal cord," I had the chance to gain experience in soft material characterization, 3Dprinting, and cell culture techniques. I believe that microfluidic-based platforms offer great potential for in vitro studies, and my time at OIST in the Micro/Bio/Nanofluidics unit presents an opportunity to deepen my understanding of this field. Beyond my academic pursuits, I am passionate about tennis, aquariums, diving, and reading. While in Okinawa, I hope to get to know Japanese culture better and gain a basic understanding of the language.

Research Administrator