Management and Strategy
Prior to joining OIST in 2021, Gil served as the CEO of Yeda Research and Development Co. Ltd., the technology transfer arm of the Weizmann Institute of Science (one of the leading technology transfer and commercializing organizations in the world). Gil co-chaired ITTN (the Israeli Tech-Transfer Organization) and served on the Academia-Industry Committee of the Israel National Council of Research & Development. Gil is a member of 8400 - The Heath Network, a non-for-profit organization aiming at boosting the heath-tech industry in Israel. In addition to his activities, Gil is advising governments and various for profit and non-for-profit organizations globally on various technology transfer and business development issues. Gil holds an MBA and L.L.B. degrees from Tel Aviv University.
Lauren is responsible for the operations and strategic direction of the Technology Development and Innovation Center, and for overseeing programs to commercialize research at the university, with the goal of making an impact on society and contributing to the self-sustaining development of Okinawa. Prior to joining OIST, Lauren was Vice President of Administration at the Molecular Sciences Institute in Berkeley, California where she played a key role in securing its designation as a national Center of Excellence in Genomic Sciences by the U.S. National Institutes of Health. A native of Vietnam, Lauren received a B.S. in Biological Sciences from the University of South Carolina.
Julie-Anne develops and implements new strategic industry engagement programs to foster international innovation at OIST and in the surrounding community. Prior to joining OIST, Julie-Anne worked as a corporate lawyer (qualified in England & Wales) at global law firm Squire Patton Boggs, where her practice covered a wide spectrum of corporate matters, including international Private Equity/Venture Capital and M&A transactions as well as Equity Capital Market work. A native of France, Julie-Anne has studied and worked in France, Sweden, Slovakia, the UK and Russia prior to relocating to Okinawa, Japan in 2020.
Intellectual Property and Licensing
Takanari oversees the management and commercialization of intellectual property as well as the operations of the technology development programs (including OIST's proof-of-concept program and technology pioneer fellowships). Prior to joining OIST, Takanari spent 20 years in academia, as a researcher or faculty member at different institutions, including the University of Tokyo, the Ciba-Geigy (Novartis) Friedrich Miescher Institute, the Max Planck Society, RIKEN and the University of Tsukuba, Gene Research Center. Takanari co-founded Inplanta Innovations Inc., a spin-out from RIKEN, also acting as its CTO until joining OIST in 2010. Takanari holds a PhD in Science from the University of Tokyo.
Yukiko manages the daily operation of our technology licensing section, promoting technologies and handling agreements relating to OIST proprietary IP. Prior to joining OIST in 2016, she spent 10 years in the UK working on B2B technology transfer in the semiconductor metrology industry.
Graham harvests new innovations from OIST researchers and promotes them to potential licensees. Prior to joining OIST, Graham worked as a patent agent and chemical engineer (qualified in Canada and US) at global corporations such as Ricoh, where his role covered a wide spectrum of intellectual property matters, including freedom-to-operate and infringement. A native of Canada, Graham has studied and worked in Canada and the United States prior to relocating to Okinawa in 2017.
Paola facilitates the development and commercialization of OIST’s research through licensing and collaboration with industry. Prior to joining OIST, Paola worked for 7 years on building new businesses and product lines within a FTSE 100 chemical company, as well as two years working as a forensic fire investigator, in London.
Anna oversees the development of industry partnerships, the activities in support of startups connected to OIST, the management of OIST's incubator, and the promotion of entrepreneurship at OIST. Prior to joining OIST in 2009, Anna worked at local think-tanks conducting market research and developing overseas sales channels for SMEs and developing regional development plans for local governments. She has also spent 2 years in Uganda working with community groups to develop new businesses. A native of Okinawa, she received a BA from Chuo University and a MA from the University of Hawaii.
Shigefumi manages OIST’s startup accelerator program and coordinates collaborations between industry partners and OIST researchers. Prior to joining OIST, Shigefumi worked for 15 years at a listed company based in Okinawa, focusing primarily on corporate development activities. He holds a MBA from Hawaii Pacific University.
Ai coordinates collaborations between industry partners and OIST researchers and manages OIST’s annual entrepreneurship program. Ai joined OIST in 2014 after graduating from an American college.
Naomi supports research units applying for corporate related grants and provides day-to-day support to OIST startups. She also coordinates collaborations between industry partners and OIST researchers. Prior to joining OIST in 2015, Naomi spent 11 years in International NPO based in Tokyo, dispatched to developing countries as local project manager (Africa and Asia regions).
Mari pursues domestic and international corporate collaborations with OIST’s research community and manages the Innovation Network @ OIST (INO). Prior to joining OIST in Sept 2020, Mari worked in Tokyo, USA, and Germany taking on different business development roles.
Hiroshi manages OIST's incubator. Prior to joining OIST, Hiroshi worked for PricewaterhouseCoopers Japan, providing audit services to listed manufacturing and retail companies. He was also involved with financial due diligence, provided financial advisory services, and worked on business recovery projects. He is a Certified Public Accountant, registered in Japan / Okinawa Association. A native of Japan, has relocated in Okinawa in 2015.
Takanari oversees the operations of the technology development programs (including OIST's proof-of-concept program and technology pioneer fellowships) as well as the management and commercialization of intellectual property. Prior to joining OIST, Takanari spent 20 years in academia, as a researcher or faculty member at different institutions, including the University of Tokyo, the Ciba-Geigy (Novartis) Friedrich Miescher Institute, the Max Planck Society, RIKEN and the University of Tsukuba, Gene Research Center. Takanari co-founded Inplanta Innovations Inc., a spin-out from RIKEN, also acting as its CTO until joining OIST in 2010. Takanari holds a PhD in Science from the University of Tokyo.
Andrea manages OIST's proof of concept program and technology pioneer fellowships. She provides hands-on support to program participants to transfer innovative ideas into commercial opportunities. Prior to joining OIST in 2020, Andrea worked as a Research Associate at the University of Bath (UK), in projects funded by the US Food and Drug Administration and the LEO Foundation, studying the bioavailability of topically applied products in human volunteers. Andrea completed her PhD in Drug Research and Development at the University of Santiago de Compostela, Spain. She is co-inventor of several patents and participated in the successful negotiations that led to a license agreement. Andrea also acts as external scientific advisor to a biotechnology startup.