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

Nikhil Bhalla
I completed my Ph.D. in Electronic and Electrical Engineering in 2015 under the supervision of  Dr. Pedro Estrela from the University of Bath in UK. Prior to Bath, I completed M.S. in Electronic Engineering from Chung Yuan Christian University, Taiwan in 2012 and received B.E. Honors in Electronics and Instrumentation from BITS-Pilani, India in 2010. Following Ph.D. I worked as a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Bath in UK for a period of 3 months just before joining here at Micro/Bio/Nanofluidics Unit. My research interest includes the development of sophisticated biosensing tools for the detection of post translational modification of proteins, disease detection, understanding various intra/inter cellular biochemical process on micro/nano devices. At OIST I will now work on engineering the microenvironment of cancer stem cells. Away from the lab, I ‘love’ cricket (unfortunately not much in Japan), outdoors, guitars and enjoy traveling. Okinawa is a beautiful island to work and live.

Mandy Leung
I have completed my PhD in Physical Chemistry at the University of Adelaide, South Australia. My research background is in the field of spectroscopy and nanomaterial sciences. I joined the Micro/Bio/Nanofluidics Unit as a JSPS fellow in 2016. I believe that I will gain extensive knowledge and experience in the field of microfluidics and further my research in nanomaterial development during my tenure in the group. Beside work, I enjoy cooking and learning Japanese.

Atsushi Matsumoto
I completed my PhD at Osaka University under the supervision of Prof. Tadashi Inoue, primarily studying the effect of counter anion sizes on linear viscoelasticities for polymerized ionic liquids using rheo-optical techniques. During this period, I joined Prof. James Runt group at The Pennsylvania State University for 6 months as a visiting scholar and studied the use of dielectric relaxation spectroscopy in polyelectrolyte systems. I joined the Micro/Bio/Nanofluidics Unit as a postdoctoral scholar in April 2017. I am currently studying the flow behavior of non-Newtonian fluids around confined microfluidic cylinders as my first job at OIST. I am very glad to start my first Postdoc experience at this unit and I am looking forward to exploring the field of microfluidics. Beside work, I enjoy badminton, running, and getting abilities for fishing, Tamann (~30 cm) is one of seeking fishes at first. I also want to try sea activities during my stay in this tropical island.


Riccardo Funari
I completed my PhD in Industrial Engineering at the University of Naples “Federico II” in 2015 under the supervision of Prof. Raffaele Velotta, focusing on the design and realization of biomolecular quantification tools suitable for environmental control, food analysis and biomedical applications. More particularly, I worked on the detection of a wide range of analytes and harmful species including pesticides, mycotoxins, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, proteins, biomarkers and bacteria. During this period, I had the chance to establish a fruitful scientific collaboration with Dr. Dirk Mayer group at Jülich Forschungszentrum in Germany concerning electrochemical biosensing and single protein imaging using atomic force microscopy (AFM). After receiving my PhD, I worked as postdoctoral researcher at the University of Naples for 2 years until I joined Micro/Bio/Nanofluidics Unit in July 2017. Here in OIST, I started working on the use of bacterial biofilm in optical biosensing and in the next future I wish to explore the advantages of coupling microfluidics and biosensing technology for realizing novel detection tools. Beside work, I love reading, snorkeling and learning more about this wonderful island.


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.

Kei Funakoshi
I joined the MBN unit in June 2016. I graduated from Japan Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (JAIST) with a M.S degree of Material Science in 2004. I have research experiences in: analysis for cell membrane functions and on development of cell processing with microdevices at academic institutes and a biotech start-up company. I provide support on microfabrication and cell processing in the MBN unit. In addition, I aim to build bridges between Micro/Nanofluidics and life science disciplines, within OIST and in the local Okinawa prefecture. Outside of work I enjoy badminton, motorcycle touring, and watching American dramas. I’m very happy to work in Okinawa, my home island.

Kang-Yu Chu- Technician
I come from Taiwan. I got my Master of Engineering (Biomedical Engineering) from National Cheng Kung University(NCKU) in 2016. After that, I received my first work as a research assistant from Department of Photonics (NCKU). Now, it's my pleasure to join OIST which gathering many prosperous scientist and researchers and to be a technician. I believe that I could acquire a lot of precious experience from them. When I was a master student, I focused on developing an integrated, robust optical imaging system for clinical medical device. During the period of research assistant, I help my team to establish a compact prototype system which based on diffuse optical spectroscopy. Moreover, out team joined a lot of innovative contest so that we could show our promising technique. I am quite interested in interdisciplinary research and also willing to learn or try different kinds of skills, techniques and knowledge, for example, CUDA, machine learning, biophotonics, etc.

Ph.D. Students

Hsieh-Fu Tsai (JSPS DC1 Fellow)

I completed my bachelor in clinical laboratory science and master in biophotonics in Taiwan. My master thesis was on study of cancer cell migration directed by electrical guidance in microfluidic systems. I joined OIST as a PhD student in 2014 and I am interested in developing automated lab-on-chip systems for bioengineering and neurobiology studies. I am also very interested in developing multimodal microscopy for live cell imaging and study of viscoelastic fluid property.

Shivani Sathish
I completed my Bachelors in Technology in Genetic Engineering at SRM University, India. I spent six months at OIST as an intern, working on my bachelor thesis in Prof. Tomoyuki Takahashi’s unit. After my internship, I joined OIST as a PhD student in January, 2015. I joined the Micro/Bio/Nanofluidics Unit to complete my third laboratory rotation in September, 2015 where my work will involve multi-composite surface patterning to create functional neural networks. Having worked on biological experiments in the past, I am excited to start my work in this new field. Outside work, I enjoy learning Japanese, exploring life underwater, hiking in Okinawan forests and experimenting with new cuisines.

Noa Burshtein (JSPS DC1 Fellow)
I completed my MSc at Weizmann institute of science in Rehovot, Israel and joined the Micro/Bio/Nanofluidics Unit as a PhD student in September 2015. My past work was in the field of atmospheric chemistry and physics and developing a bio-sensor for aerosols detection. In my PhD I would like to study flow instabilities and mixing enhancement in micro scales for both Newtonian and non-Newtonian fluids. Apart from research I enjoy yoga, snorkelling, hiking and exploring the beautiful Okinawa Island with my husband and our dog.

San To Chan
I completed my BEng (Engineering Science) from the University of Hong Kong. In the Shen’s Unit, I am studying the vortex breakdown phenomenon in microfluidic devices. When I am not working, I play with the cats inside and outside my apartment, they are so cute and fluffy.

Ainash Garifullina
I received my BSc degree in Chemistry from Nazarbayev University in Astana, Kazakhstan. During my undergraduate, I’ve been mostly interested in natural product and macromolecules synthesis, which is why I was planning to work in an organic synthesis lab. However, after my rotation in Micro/Bio/Nanofluidics unit, I got more excited about plasmonic biosensing using microfluidics. So, I decided to join this unit for my thesis project and to use microfluidics in order to address a number of fundamental issues related to plasmonic materials. Outside work, I enjoy spending time with my friends, roaming around the island, and discovering new exciting things about Japan.

Research Interns

Bruno Miranda
I received my BSc degree in Biomedical Engineering at the University of Naples “Federico II” in 2016 in Italy. In the same University, I joined the Master’s Degree in Industrial Bioengineering. As a Bioengineering student, I am interested in the implementation of engineering tools with biological systems to provide novel therapeutic, diagnostic and rehabilitative technologies. I am really interested in the challenging design of Biosensors, an interdisciplinary field that combines Computer Science, Electronics, Surface Chemistry, Physics and Biology. Moreover, I am interested in Microfluidics and in its coupling with Microelectronics to produce Point-of-Care devices. I joined Micro/Bio/Nanofluidics Unit on July and I am working on the design of a novel Localized Surface Plasmon Resonance (LSPR)-based device for the detection of Cancer Biomarkers. Besides my research activities, I enjoy watching TV series, listening to music, travelling, singing, and I love going around discovering the wonderful island of Okinawa. I am the uncle of a wonderful baby-girl, almost one year old, named Isabel. She is my everything

Johanna Roether
I completed Bachelor and Master in food process engineering at the Technical University of Munich. Afterwards, I started to work in packaging industry as a material developer for composite materials. Searching for something more exciting, I came across the very diverse research group of Prof. Willenbacher at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology. The PhD project I started there in 2015 is related to microrheology of biopolymers. This method allows us to locally characterize mechanical properties of polymeric biomaterials. Recently, we even started to use it to study matrix remodeling by living (and differentiating) human cells.
Before finishing my PhD, I now took the opportunity to learn something completely different and so I hope to get to know LSPR sensing and how to use it to study DNA elongation. Besides, I love hiking, climbing, snowboarding, in general being outdoors, playing handball (and teaching it to school children), and basically anything related to being active and/or outside.

Rosa Ripa
I completed my BSc degree in Biomedical Engineering and I am going to receive the MSc degree in Industrial Bioengineering at the University of Naples “Federico II” in Italy. During my studies, I became familiar with Molecular Biology, Biochemistry, Microfluidics, Transport Phenomena and Tissue Engineering. Therefore, in the near future, I would like to combine the principles of Biology and the tools of Engineering to create cost-effective devices.
I joined Micro/Bio/Nanofluidics Unit as a research intern in October. In particular, I am going to develop a new cell-based biosensor to sense gold using bacteria biofilms and the Quartz Crystal Microbalance with Dissipation Monitoring (QCM-D).  
Beside my research activities, I enjoy travelling, spending time with my friends and learning more about this wonderful island.

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.