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

Stylianos Varchanis
I completed my PhD in Chemical Engineering in 2020 under the supervision of Prof. John Tsamopoulos and Yannis Dimakopoulos from the University of Patras (Greece). My research was focused on the dynamic analysis of elastic and interfacial instabilities in flows of complex fluids, such as polymer solutions and melts, gels, suspensions, soft media, and biological fluids. During that time, I also worked on the development of a finite element technique (PEGAFEM-V) for the simulation of 3-dimensional non-Newtonian flows with multiple free surfaces, and the derivation of constitutive laws for thixotropic elasto-visco-plastic materials. I joined the Micro/Bio/Nanofluidics unit in 2021 as a postdoc to combine my theoretical background with novel microfluidic experiments, aiming at a deeper understanding of the rheological response of complex fluids. Away from the lab, I enjoy travelling around the world, recreational sailing, camping, and cooking.

Daniel Carlson
I earned my Ph.D in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Massachusetts under the guidance of Prof. Yahya Modarres-Sadeghi. My work there centered on studying fluid-structure interactions (FSI) of multiple-degree of freedom systems for applications in the offshore wind energy sector. Topics included vortex-surface alignment for flexibly-mounted prisms, suppression of vortex-induced vibrations, and biomimetic ultrasound generation via flow-induced oscillations. During this time I also had the opportunity to collaborate with NASA Langley to investigate potential uses of their contactless SANSEC sensor technology. I joined the Micro/Bio/Nanofluidics unit as a postdoc in May 2019 and look forward to applying my FSI background to more exotic flexible and biological structures in complex flow! While at Okinawa I want to improve my drawing, pick up some languages, and get into open water swimming.

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.

Shivani Sathish (OIST POC Fellow)
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.

Tatiana Porto Dos Santos

I completed my Ph.D in Food Engineering in 2021 under the supervision of Prof. Dr. Rosiane Lopes Cunha from the University of Campinas (Brazil) in collaboration with Prof. Patrick Tabeling from ESPCI Paris (France). My Ph.D. research was focused on the development of an emulsion stability analyzer based on microfluidics. Earlier in my MSc, I studied the digestibility of colloidal gel-like systems and built a semi(dynamic) digestive prototype. I joined the Micro/Bio/Nanofluidics Unit as a postdoctoral researcher in September 2021 to apply my current background in rheology, microfluidics and gelled systems in the development of new food structures. Outside the lab, I enjoy travelling and can’t wait to explore Okinawa.

Vincenzo Mazzaracchio

I earned my PhD at the University of Rome “Tor Vergata” in Analytical Chemistry under the supervision of Prof. Fabiana Arduini and Prof. Danila Moscone. My research activity is mainly focused on electrochemical sensors and biosensors development for metals, ions and biomarkers detection in biological matrix such as sweat, urine and serum, or bacteriological species in water and foods. During the years I obtained specific knowledge of spectrophotometric and electrochemical techniques (i.e. impedance spectroscopy, amperometry, cyclic voltammetry and potentiometry) and skills on the use of nanomaterials (i.e. Carbon Black, gold nanoparticles), and of the screen-printing technology. I joined the Micro/Bio/Nanofluidics unit in September 2021 to increase my research activity on biosensors development combining it with microfluidics applications. Besides this I like playing tennis, football and doing interesting activities in Okinawa wonderful island such as bicycling, snorkelling, and hiking.


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.

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

San To Chan (JSPS DC2 Fellow)
I received my BEng (Engineering Science) from the University of Hong Kong. I enjoy experimenting with different swirling flow instabilities, such as vortex breakdown and edge fracture. When I am not working, I play with the cats inside and outside my apartment, they are so cute and fluffy.

Ainash Garifullina (JSPS DC2 Fellow)
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.

Rotation Students

Jonas Schneider

German, engineer and German Engineer (TM). The meme is true – I really learned about basically everything in university. From physics and chemistry all the way to economics and law. Finished my Diplomingenieur in Kaiserslautern in 2019, spent almost two years unemployed due to the covid scare and Japanese border policies, then started at OIST in 2021.
At the moment, I‘m working on microarrays as part of my third rotation, and by September 2022, I‘ll join the unit for my thesis work.
Most of my free time is spent reading (everything from Philosophy to Manga), working in the kitchen or training martial arts. Once I've acclimatized to Okinawa, I'll probably do a lot of hiking, too.

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.

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.

Giulio Foggi Rota

はじめまして, I am Giulio Foggi Rota, from Italy. My background is Aeronautical Engineering, and I graduated with a master's degree from Politecnico di Milano in early 2022. After a first (remote) internship at OIST in 2021, I finally came to Okinawa in May 2022 as a PhD student. The interest for simulating turbulent flows has motivated me to join the Complex Fluids and Flows Unit for my thesis. During this rotation in the Micro/Bio/Nanofluidics Unit I hope to gain some experimental experience, approaching the laboratory environment for the first time, but I am also looking forward to broadening my knowledge in elastic turbulence.
When I shut down my laptop, I enjoy playing the piano, swimming, and exploring the island.

Yong Heng Phua

I graduated from Hokkaido University, Japan 2022 studying microorganisms called protists, their taxonomy and interactions with the bacterial communities around and within them. Even though the are tiny, they have a large impact on the ecosystem. I am continuing this work in OIST. When I am not working, I am usually cooking or hiking in the mountains (or hills in Okinawa).

Research Interns

Mauricio Andres Rios Maciel

I completed both my B. Sc., (2018) and M. Sc. (2021) in Biotechnology at ITESM in Mexico City. During my Master's degree, under supervision of Prof. Mario González-Meljem, Prof. Mario Moisés Álvarez and Prof. Grissel Trujillo, I conducted research on the improvements of the in vitro studies in cellular senescence by the implementation of a microfluidic-based platform and three-dimensional gelatin-based matrices. I also performed mathematical approaches to model the cellular state transitions in a culture. I joined the Micro/Bio/Nanofluidics Unit in April 2022 as a Research Intern to work on biosensors and microfluidics applications in this area. Outside the lab, I enjoy exercising, music and photography. While in Okinawa, I'm hoping to get to know a lot of the Island and Japanese culture.

Marvin Wilhelm Detert

Originally, I am from Germany and did a bachelor’s and master’s degree in physics at the Leibniz University Hannover with a semester abroad in the United States. During my studies I focused on experimental work in solid state physics and the behavior at interfaces. After receiving my master’s degree, I decided to apply this knowledge in a different field and started to pursue a PhD in fluid dynamics at the University of Twente in the Netherlands in 2019. My work revolves around high-speed imaging of the nucleation and growth of microbubbles in multicomponent liquids that are created via rapid, local heating. The heating is caused by surface plasmon resonance in gold nanoparticles connecting my prior experiences in solid state physics with my current project in fluid dynamics.
At OIST I hope to experience a new and different environment and to broaden my knowledge about experimental techniques in fluid dynamics. I am looking forward to exciting experiments combining microfluidics, rheology, and birefringence.
In my leisure time, I enjoy sports like volleyball, badminton, and ballroom dancing, but you can also find me exploring new place and hiking in nature. Besides that, I try cooking new dishes with friends often and am always down for a karaoke session.

Diana Mengdesh

I am from Kazakhstan, where I completed my bachelor’s degree in biological sciences at Nazarbayev University, Astana. Before coming to the OIST, I participated in different exciting scientific projects involving bioinformatics and molecular biology of viruses. Although I am a biology student, I am passionate about interdisciplinary research, which is conducted within the walls of our unit at OIST. So, I came here in September 2022 as an intern to learn more about microfluidics devices and their applications in the diagnosis of different diseases.
While in Okinawa, I would like to learn about the intricate engineering of biosensors and explore the local culture and language as part of my hobbies. I am also a big fan of non-fiction (and fiction) feminist literature and slam poetry

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.