R&D Cluster Programs Section



What support do we provide?

The R&D Cluster Programs Section supports technology development research to move discoveries made in OIST laboratories towards commercialization. We do this through a combination of support programs, lectures, mentoring, and training events in collaboration with other sections at TDIC.

1. Funding programs

Proof of Concept (POC) Program: an integrated program of support to help research units develop their patented technologies towards commercialization.

Technology Pioneer Fellowship: a program for talented researchers, recent graduates, and other staff with entrepreneurial spirit and the motivation to develop a commercial idea. You can see profiles of Technology Pioneer Fellows below.

2. Training

We organize trainings to improve deep tech entrepreneurship skills, from problem identification to customer communication, market research, negotiation strategies, and other deep tech best practices.

3. Mentoring

There is no one-size-fits-all, and so we offer customized mentoring with industry experts for members of our POC or Fellowship programs.

4. Innovation community

The 'OIST Innovators Society' connects students, post-docs, technicians, and research support staff interested in being part of the innovation community. The group meets regularly to discuss many topics related to innovation, entrepreneurship, industry careers, startups, and technology development. The meetings are informal and are open to anyone interested in cultivating their innovative and entrepreneurial spirit. Come and join us!


Technology Pioneer Fellows

Our "Tech Pioneers" are researchers who are committed to developing commercially focused technologies over 1-2 years. When they join the program they also become part of the R&D Cluster Programs team, and we work closely with them to help them succeed.

Cohort 2, 2021

Name: Shivani Sathish

Bio: I am originally from a small town called Ooty, in the south of India. I received my Bachelors of Technology in 2014, with a major in Genetic Engineering from SRM University, India. I joined the Micro/Bio/Nanofluidics Unit at OIST in 2015. I received a PhD degree for my dissertation: “Surface-based Microfluidic Systems for Enhanced Biomarker Detection.” My primary focus was to develop point-of-care disease diagnostic prototypes by combining bioanalytical and surface chemistry, microfluidics and chemical engineering. As a Technology Pioneer Fellow, I will further develop a functional point-of-care testing system to monitor kidney health.

Project: Development of protein micro/nanoarrays for high-throughput proteomics

Description: High-throughput screening systems have been heavily utilized in the field of genomics and proteomics for the simultaneous analysis of multiple biomolecules such as DNA and proteins. However, the sensitivity and specificity of these screening systems are determined by the detector’s ability to effectively distinguish specific molecular signals of one set of biomolecules from the other. In this project, we are employing tailored surface chemistry to enable specific and covalent immobilization of multiple proteins in well-defined micron-scale patterns on glass substrates. 

Name: Viktoras Lisicovas

Bio: I get a kick out of building complex things. I trained as a biochemist and molecular biologist at Jacobs University, Germany. For my undergraduate thesis, I have built a rearranged bacterial genome. I got my doctorate at Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology, under the supervision of Prof. Keshav M. Dani. Here I built a behavioral tracking platform for the nematode and later a 2-photon temporal focusing microscope. At the time I also tried my hand at designing medical devices. Now I am delighted to join Technology Pioneer Fellowship for an opportunity to build one more exciting thing, a startup.

Project: Novel laser atherectomy device

Description: Laser atherectomy is a safer alternative for treating blockage of blood vessels. However, a significant fraction of cases is challenging to treat with available devices. Our novel laser-based atherectomy technology offers a new generation solution for complex cases and reduced risk of complications.

Cohort 1, 2020

Name: David Simpson - Founder & CEO of Watasumi

Bio: I was first introduced to the field of Microbial Fuel Cells in 2010 at Edinburgh University, Scotland. I am most interested in how this type of technology can optimize the ways industrial by-products are managed, with more sustainable recovery of energy and reusable water from this plentiful and renewable resource. I hope to apply the knowledge I have gained from working in academia to help industry become more sustainable.


Project: Bio-Practical AppliCation Treatment Systems (Bio-PACTS)

Description: My project is focused on the creation of a reproduceable module reactor dedicated to treatment of organic wastewater and specifically designed for Small and Medium sized Enterprises (SME). My approach will bring together IP and know-how developed at OIST in the field of Microbial Fuel Cells (MFC) and Bio-Electrochemcial System (BES) technologies, and will rely on the involvement of our industry and governmental partners to create a viable commercial application. Having proven the technology at Technology Readiness level 7 and developed the business plan during 2021, I aim to attract partners and investors with the support of OIST.

Name: Paul Hsieh-Fu Tsai

Bio: I am a biomedical engineer by training with background in clinical laboratory science. My expertise is in microfluidic engineering and studying biointerface phenomena. Using microsystems, me and colleagues can manipulate microenvironments and study physical/chemical/biological topics that happen around us in day-to-day life. As a technology pioneer fellow, I devote myself to learn about entrepreneurship and work toward innovating biomedical research and working style from our know-hows in microsystems. 

Project: A compact AI cytoscope for label-free prediction and tracking of cell phenotype and behavior

Description: Based on the machine learning software for cell analysis developed out of Micro/Bio/Nanofluidics Unit, I am working to prove the concept of a time-saving solution to innovate the workflow in cell laboratories. I approach this by building a compact AI cytoscope empowered by machine learning for prediction/segmentation/tracking of cells in split of seconds and turn images into data that customers need and give freedom to customers.